Karen Schmidt lives in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan and is a member of Cowessess First Nation. She has been working as the Health Educator for File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council Health Services since 2005. Karen also has 6 years’ experience teaching in a post-secondary education setting at the Saskatchewan Urban Native Education Program (SUNTEP) Education Faculty at the University of Regina. As the Health Educator, she leads the Labour Force Strategy, including the Pre-Health Professions Club, the www.pathport.ca website and Health Manager training and certification. She also works in the HIV, Brighter Futures and Theatre Arts for Living programs, delivering workshops and training to the 11 FHQTC member First Nations communities. Karen has been involved in a variety of initiatives including: Asset Mapping Workshop delivery throughout Saskatchewan, member of the First Nations Health Manager’s Advisory and subsequently a founding board member of the FNHM Association and co-author on several publications with the Theatre Arts / Drama Project Research Project team.
What is it about this project that excites and inspires you?
This has two answers. The best part is watching the transformation of young people involved in the workshops in such a short time. I see the youth overcoming shyness, working as a group and building relationships with others (the workshop leaders). The other is how I am learning new games/skills myself which I can utilize in all aspects of the work I do.
What is your favourite game to play in the workshops and why?
I really like playing the Eyes Up, Eyes Down game because every time I have led that game participants have had so much fun playing it. It’s a great icebreaker and initiates a lot of laughter.
What other exciting and inspiring projects are you working on right now?
FHQ Health Education is involved in promoting health careers for Aboriginal youth. We promote this through our www.pathport.ca website, hosting the Pre-Health Professions Club and attending health and career fairs.
If you weren’t in your current position, what fun career would you be acting out in?
I’m starting to think about retirement, so I would really like to be able to share all I have learned and the passion I have for working with youth, on to younger folks to carry on this awesome work. I have a lot of hobbies and writing I would like to do in my retirement and would love time to engage in these activities.