On November 5, 2016, the dream of the HOPE SUMMIT became a reality.  Below are videos and biographies of each of the speakers who shared their messages.


Introduction: Della Ferguson and Dan Kreuger


Courtney Bell: Rise

Courtney Bell was born and raised on a farm south of Moose Jaw. She has a large, blended family that loves spending time together – where there are always lots of laughs (usually at her expense). Courtney discovered her love of working with people when she started working at Camp Easter Seal at Manitou Beach. Her experiences at Camp Easter Seal lead her to pursue a degree in Social Work, volunteering in Peru, and working for the Neil Squire Society. In her spare time, Courtney loves to sing, hang out with her dog (Sophie), and try to figure out what it means to be an adult.

  • What life experiences have caused you to grieve?
  • What feelings arose through your grief?
  • How did you express those feelings?
  • Was it safe for you to express your feelings?
  • If so, who was it safe to express those feelings to?
  • If not, who could you reach out for counselling?
  • What messages did you send yourself?
  • What messages did you hear from others about coping?
  • What did you believe about your circumstances?
  • What did you believe about yourself?
  • Was there Hope?
  • If so, where did you find hope?
  • What crumbled within you?
  • What one thing have you seen rising up in the midst of your grief?
  • Have you experienced observing someone else’s life crumbling?
  • What was that like for you?
  • What “glimpses of hope” have you observed?
  • Have you experienced Phoenix moments? If so, how?
  • Courtney lived with Anxiety: What coping strategies did Courtney use?
  • Where did Courtney find Hope in Hopelessness?
  • Courtney mentions “pockets of hope”: Have you experienced “pockets of hope” and how?
  • Courtney mentions Phoenix moments feeling “renewal and rebirth”. What contributed to that renewal and rebirth?
  • What did Courtney realize about people who were calling her names?
  • What did Courtney fear would happen if she told anyone about her feelings?
  • What difference did “dreaming” make to Courtney?
  • What difference did Counselling make to Courtney?
  • What two choices did Courtney see she had after the disappointment of having her first application for social work being rejected?
  • How does the Phoenix analogy play out in Courtney’s story?
  • What one “take away” insight did you gain from Courtney’s story?
  • What would you like to say to Courtney in response to her sharing her story with you?

Other Resources:

Questions for Self Reflection
Leanne Thoroughgood: Warriors

Leanne Thoroughgood was raised in small town Saskatchewan, where she learned from an early age the value of community and helping others. As a young woman, she dreamed of joining the RCMP, but after a diagnosis of a seizure disorder, her career plans changed. She went on to work with Social Services, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and has been working at 15 Wing Moose Jaw for the past 20 years. Through all this, Leanne has learned that everyone has a story, and that every story – whether of pain or loss – is important to share.

  • Leanne names her goal as: to remove stigma completely from Mental Illness.
    How does she suggest we do so?
  • Leanne names fears of history repeating itself in her life. Have you ever experienced that? How has that fear affected your living?
  • Leanne names “feeling everything deeply is both a Blessing and a Curse.” Can you relate? How?
  • Leanne found her vulnerability “shape-shifting” as Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Worry. What is your vulnerability and how does it reveal itself in your body/mind/spirit/behavior?
  • Leanne experienced Negative Self Talk. Have you ever experienced that?
  • What messages do you “hear”? How have those messages affected your living?
  • What counter messages could you send to yourself to wage Battle against Negative Self-Talk? (They need to be positive language and something you can believe about yourself. I.e.: Instead of saying “I am weak”, say, “I’ve suffered and survived.”)
  • What Battle strategies have you tried?
  • Did you hear any ideas from Leanne that might be Battle strategies for you?
  • Who is/are the people on your “Battle Team?”
  • Leanne chose the Winnie the Pooh quote as her Battle cry. What quote would serve you well as your Battle cry?
  • What one step will you make as a Warrior against Mental Illness?
  • What would you like to say to Leanne in response to her sharing her story with you?

Other Resources

Questions for Self Reflection
Shakirullah Neyamat: Freedom

Shakirullah Neyamati is from Afghanistan, but spent much of his early life in a refugee camp in Pakistan. He has a younger brother and sister, but his parents were murdered when they were very young. They were raised by his uncles, who thought of them as a great burden, and so they were not treated very well. Shakirullah had a very difficult life, often forced into hardships with no other choice, no alternatives, and sometimes, no hope. But Shakirullah survived, and today he is thankful that his children will have a very different story. By sharing his story, he hopes it may help others to find comfort and peace in their lives.

  • Shakirullah names some of the immense adversities he has faced in his lifetime.
  • What glimmers of hope did he name in his story?
  • Who were the true “Guardians” in his story?
  • How did adversities affect him?
  • What did he name as being “most important”?
  • Love is a simple message, and yet, it is very complex. Define the love you hear him calling us to.
  • What message do you take away from his story that you can apply in your life?
  • What would you like to say to Shakirullah in response to his sharing his story with you?
Questions for Self Reflection
Laura Hamilton: Embrace

Laura Hamilton is an emerging artist in Moose Jaw. Her artwork can be found in different venues around Southern Saskatchewan. Although Laura has always been creative, it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with postpartum depression that she found her own unique style of painting. Her inspirations come from everyday life. They are interpretations of graceful, soulful beings. Laura shares her journey to self discovery in hope that she will inspire others to listen to their true calling.

  • What part(s) of Laura’s story resonated with you?
  • Laura speaks of the Body, Mind, Spirit reaction of Post-Partum Depression-what symptoms did she experience?
  • What was the cause of Laura’s turning Point?
  • Laura speaks to a moment of “magic” in her presentation. Have you ever had a moment(s) that left you feeling that “aliveness”?
  • What did Laura do as healing strategies?
  • What healing strategies have you tried?
  • Painting was much more than an “activity” for Laura…what meaning did she attach to her painting?
  • Laura spoke of a “dormant energy” inside of her coming out. Are you aware of “dormant energy” within? How can you release it?
  • Laura has a mantra regarding her paintings. Research the power of mantra’s and develop your own mantra with strong rational for why it is one that works for you.
  • What would you like to say to Laura in response to her sharing her story with you?

Other Resources

Questions for Self Reflection
Lori Deets: Determined

Lori Deets has a passion for helping others. In her work, Lori uses her experience with addictions, poverty, and single parenting a child with behavioural difficulties as tools to guide, mentor, and lead others to find their own path. Lori shares her journey, struggles, and triumphs with addictions and how she became the independent woman she is today. Change, however daunting, is possible. She believes our journey in life is often uneven and rough, but learning to continue on when we stumble is the key to finding success.

  • What did Lori name that had blocked her from the fullness of living?
  • How did Lori losing her mom affect her from age 1 to 29?
  • How did Lori deal with her feelings during her youth?
  • What types of losses was Lori dealing with that led her to drinking and eventually drug use?
  • What turning points did Lori experience in her journey?
  • Who were Lori’s “true” Guardians on her journey?
  • What Beliefs and Assumptions do you have, or have you witnessed that might create barriers to recovery for people who live with addictions?
  • How did the birth of Lori’s son affect her?
  • What coping strategies served Lori well?
  • Have you ever written poetry…read poetry…or heard lyrics that really spoke to you? If so…please think of an example and how it spoke to you…or resonated with your soul.
  • Where did Lori find Hope?
  • How did Lori’s story resonate with you?
  • Did you have any assumptions about: People living with addictions/ Indigenous People/ People raised in Foster Care/People living on Low Income/ Abused Women/ that changed after hearing Lori’s speech?
  • What would you like to say to Lori in response to her sharing her story with you?

Other Resources

Questions for Self Reflection
Jan Stewart: Empowerment

Jan Stewart was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, but has lived in Moose Jaw for the past 30 years. She is a wife, a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. Jan works as a teacher and a school administrator in the Prairie South School Division, but she is also very active in the community as a member of the Journey to Hope team and as the chairperson of the local CMHA board of directors. She sees herself as an ambassador of hope in both her professional and personal life. After Jan’s son died at the age of 29, she discovered the power of extending grace and expressing gratitude.

  • Jan says she is sharing her story and her Spiritual Self Care.
  • What “Spiritual Self Care” are you practicing?
  • If you haven’t developed a practice, do any of Jan’s practices speak to you? How?
  • Jan’s family Motto is “Live Love Laugh.” Do you have a motto and how does it affect your daily living?
  • Jan says she “Believed she lived a charmed life”. What do you believe about your life?
  • Jan focuses on an “Icon of Hope”. Have you come across any Icons of Hope?
  • Jan speaks of the effects of her son’s anxiety and depression and his coping strategies. Did any resonate for you?
  • Jan said her soul spoke to her when she asked herself how she would cope with the death of their son, saying “You must extend grace and love.” How did she extend grace and love?
  • How did Rocks inspire Jan?
  • Jan felt called to practice Gratitude and Forgiveness. How did she do that?
  • Jan speaks about Beliefs she plants and replants. What beliefs help her forgive?
  • Jan lists Beliefs that serve her well on her journey through grief. What are they?
  • What Beliefs have served you well?
  • What Beliefs have NOT served you well?
  • What are you doing to honour the “song in your soul”?
  • What would you like to say to Jan in response to her sharing her story with you?

Other Resources

Questions for Self Reflection
Karmen Krahn: Threshold

Karmen Krahn holds a Masters degree in theology from a Mennonite seminary. As a minister and now as counsellor, Karmen has accompanied many in their journey of grief. Karmen believes that imagery transcends the limits of language – limits that may occur because of disability, culture, childhood, and the inexplicable experience of trauma and loss. Author of Proclamation by Design: The Visual Arts in Worship, Karmen is deeply committed to finding meaningful symbols, and designing ceremonies that have the power to transform. Karmen serves as Behaviour Consultant for Prairie South School Division.

  • What ritual came to mind when Karman invited you into your imagination? Describe it fully.
  • Were there people there with you? Who were they?
  • Is there a story being told? How is it being told? With words? With symbols? With music?
  • Are there Guardians?
  • How does the ritual offer a sense of belonging?
  • Is there “Magic”?
  • How are you different as a result?
  • Can you think of a ritual that would add Hope to your life, or the life of another?
  • Is there a story in your heart and soul that needs to be expressed? What medium can you see yourself using for expression?
  • Who would you like to be there?
  • Real? Or Visualization?
  • What symbol of Hope comes to mind?
  • Please remember, you are the Sacred Centre of your Ritual.
  • What steps do you need to take to put your “symbol in motion” and create your ritual?
  • What would you like to say to Karman in response to her sharing her story with you?

Other Resources

Questions for Self Reflection