Bear Clan Patrol executive director James Favel returned from United Nations meetings with a more worldly perspective of the issues being faced by the community they serve in Winnipeg.

There was a representative from the island nation of Tuvalu and he presented on the impacts of climate change which is threatening to flood out their country. A hereditary chief from Senegal talked about the challenges of a billion dollar port development project. A Uganda prince, meanwhile, was worried about conflict that has taken away so many of their young men, and making it difficult to move forward with elders and children.

“Getting out there and seeing the different issues that other communities world wide have puts into perspective the work that is being done here,” he said on Thursday. “I was really shocked at some of the issues other places were having and it made me feel good about our situation. There is potential for remedies to our situation.”

He was tasked with making a short presentation in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 12 about the work they are doing in the inner city, to show how they are serving some of the most vulnerable people in Winnipeg.

Favel’s initial approach was a little off, something he discovered a day before his presentation. He thought he was just going to give a brief program overview, but he was able to personalize his story and dig into some of the root causes of issues Bear Clan Patrol is addressing.

“I basically talked about my own personal history of dealing with the colonial constructs, the Indian Act, the residential school system, reserve system, the CFS Act, these things that have been destroying our families for a very long time and how it sets us off,” he said. “I then started talking about how its impacting our community, barriers to accepting resources and food security and things like that.”

Favel was able to bring a more North American perspective of inner city challenges when it comes to addictions, poverty and crime. He said he was able to turn a lot of heads in a room full of world-wide dignitaries.

The Bear Claw Patrol started in 2014 and has grown to having patrols five or six nights a week with an army of 1,700 volunteers in Winnipeg. They are expanding to new communities and their facilities in Winnipeg, including the development of their own food program.

While there he was able to make a number of contacts, but the biggest thing the trip has provided the Bear Clan Patrol is exposure and growth potential. Due to the national coverage they have received they he has gotten a number of calls from organizations across the continent about what Bear Clan Patrol does.

“We got a call recently from New Brunswick and we’ve never been contacted by anyone that far east,” said Favel. “What we’re trying to do is share this program as far and wide as possible and the exposure helps us gain more attention in these further off regions where we’re now able to go in and support communities in Northern New Brunswick and that’s fantastic.”

jaldrich@postmedia.com

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03