Jannah Kohlman is a part-time single mom of two, and is the executive director of the Nawican Friendship Centre. She also has a bookkeeping business. She came on board with Nawican in December, 2017, and became the executive director in December, 2019.
A member of Saulteau First Nation, she didn’t grow up with the traditions or customs of her Indigenous heritage, and jumped at the opportunity to help with Nawican and reconnect with her heritage that way. During the pandemic, the Friendship Centre has gone from serving 40 to 60 meals a day three times a week at its soup kitchen to serving between 100 and 150 meals a day Monday through Saturday, with another 50-plus deliveries a day.
“The organization does amazing things and serves awesome clients, and I love seeing the change it makes in peoples lives. A lot of us, myself included, we just see people on the side of the street, and don’t even give two thoughts about them, because we don’t know their story. When you start to get to know these people, if I had to go through what they did, I realize I would be where they are too, you cant judge. It sucks you in, this line of work. It’s very demanding, very busy, and frustrating, but seeing that change it can make in peoples’ lives is worthwhile.”
Recently, the Nawican Friendship Centre also opened the Nawican Bergeron Youth and Cultural Centre. Kohlman is excited about the possibilities of what can happen with the centre, in reaching youth in the city, and is looking for more community involvement from people who want to help out and be a part of positive change.
On the women running organizations in Dawson Creek : “There are a lot of organizations run by women in this community, its really amazing to see us all come together and be open to work together. When you get a lot of strong, opinionated, passionate people, women or men, you’ll get differences of opinion, but the people in this town are really great to work with, people who are confident and secure in themselves.”