An educator and community activist, Mitch Bourbonniere has long been inspired to help others find their voices. A founding member of the original Bear Clan Patrol, he also volunteers with Ogijiita Pimatswin Kinamatwin (OPK), the Mama Bear Clan, Drag the Red, Teddy Bears Picnic, CommUnity204, Neemu-Egwah Inc., and many other community-based endeavours.
Mitch has a Master's degree in Social work and teaches at the University of Winnipeg and Urban Circle Training , while being employed by Mount Carmel Clinic, the Downtown Community Partnership (DCSP), and Fox Lake first nation
Mitch Bourbonniere has devoted much of his career and personal time to mentoring, counselling and supporting at-risk youth to help them develop self-esteem, confidence, empathy and social skills. By emphasizing the value of good citizenship, volunteerism and positive activism, he helps young people make positive changes in their lives.
He helped establish a men’s healing group out of the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre. He also works extensively with Winnipeg‘s most vulnerable people affected by homelessness, post-traumatic stress, addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence, gang involvement and sexual exploitation through the OPK and Action Therapy programs and the Manitoba Youth Justice system. He visits institutions and supports people as they transition from prison and gang life.
Mitch Bourbonniere developed a program called Lateral Empathy that involves groups of young volunteers collecting and delivering donations of food, clothing, furniture and household goods to those in need. This group also volunteers at Indigenous ceremonies across southern Manitoba, during Sundance season. He is a pipe carrier and a 25-year Sundancer. He has kept the fire for the Grandmothers Council, Sisters in Spirit, and many national and ceremonial events.
Mitch provides support and Elder Services to Urban Circle Training, Manitoba Metis Federation, CEDA Pathways, North Point Douglas Women's Centre, Rossbrook House, Seven Oaks School Division, the Shameless Circle, Elizabeth Fry Society, the Men's Healing Together group and many other organizations.
Mitch received the Canadian Humane Association’s Bronze Medal for Bravery for jumping into a Winnipeg river to save a young woman’s life in December 2016. He has also received two Governor General of Canada Awards , the Order of Manitoba as well as many other distinctive honours .
September 2020 - Order of Manitoba
April 2019 - Governor General Award for Bravery
October 2018 - Manitoba Heroes
August 2018 - Vigor International, Spirit of the City Award
May 2018 - Resource Assistance for Youth (R.A.Y.), Community Champion Award
April 2018 - Honoured Citizen, Winnipeg Police Service, outstanding support and commitment to public safety.
October 2017 - Govenor General of Canada, Her Majesty The Queen: Meritorious Service Medal
July 2017 - Royal Canadian Humane Association: Bronze Medal for Bravery
June 2017 - Wilfred Laurier University: Certificate of Committment and Support in the MSW Aboriginal Field of Study
May 2017 - Metis Child Servicing System: Certificate of Bravery
April 2017 - Gonzaga Middle School: Recognition and Inspiration Award