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Canada Summer Jobs - Keisha explores her passion for helping women and children

Keisha is from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. She worked at Minwaashin Lodge in Ottawa, Ontario, which provides a range of programs and services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and children who are survivors of domestic and other forms of violence. Canada Summer Jobs is important for Minwaashin Lodge because they are a non-profit organization, and this program allows them to hire staff and give them the training they need to best support indigenous women in their community. Keisha learned many skills on the job, including meal-planning, recipe development and cooking, as well as creating and organizing activities for the children.

“I definitely have to say megwetch to [Minwaashin] for the opportunity because I’ve gained so much experience in these two years and I’ve definitely learned a lot. I also have to say thank you to the Canada Summer Jobs for funding me to even be here. I think this is a wonderful experience for other women to explore and hopefully they can get the chances I did.”

“I really enjoy working with the children. It really makes me feel happy. Seeing them smile, and seeing them enjoy the activities that I created for them.”

Keisha, Minwaashin Lodge, Ottawa

First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative: Flexible day care enables single mother to balance her busy schedule

For her daughter’s first birthday, Amber Tanner celebrated by being a mother who could provide much-needed financial security for her little girl.

But this would not have been possible without access to affordable child care in her community.

Amber, 26, is a single mother living in Waywayseecappo, a remote community 350 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

“I have lived in Wayway all my life, but I went off to college and got my diploma, moved home and found a great job working with students of my community, and shortly after that I had my daughter,” said Amber.

Following the birth of her child, the single parent wondered how she could work full time as a liaison for Indigenous students and look after her child.

Her solution was the Waywayseecappo Community Day Care Centre.

When asked how her little girl feels about her day care, Amber emphatically replied, “She loves it. She asks me every day, is it day care today? I can see that she loves it and I can see how it benefits her.”

An added bonus for the busy mother is the lunch program that not only provides her daughter with a healthy, balanced meal but provides much-appreciated relief to Amber’s hectic morning of getting her daughter ready and her 40 kilometre drive to work.

Now, three years later, Amber is taking advantage of other benefits the day care offers—flexible care options and late hours of operation.

“Pre-school started this year, but it’s only every second day, and if it wasn’t for the day care’s flexible care options I couldn’t coordinate the new schedule on my own.”

The longer hours allowed Amber to upgrade her education, and now she is a Teacher’s Assistant. “It was very helpful. Without it I would have missed a lot of classes.”

In addition to that, the day care is accommodating to unplanned events. She said supporting students during times of crisis is a fundamental element of her job. “I cannot leave them until their parents arrive, and that wouldn’t be possible without her day care’s understanding and flexible hours.”

For the younger Tanner, Kindergarten starts in the fall and mother is looking forward to additional schooling next year. Amber credits the support of the day care for giving both of them a chance to explore their potential.

The Waywayseecappo Community Day Care Centre received funding through the Government of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative which supports access to affordable, high-quality, culturally appropriate child care.

Amber Tanner, Waywayseecappo First Nation, Manitoba

Pathways To Education: Leandre’s mentors encourage her to find her voice

Growing up in Regent Park, it was difficult for me to access technology and to travel from home to school. I didn’t have a laptop, and taking the bus was difficult because of the high cost of bus fare. Near the end of middle school, I was spending a lot of time waiting in line to access the computer from the public library so I could do my work, and I had to spend over an hour walking to and from school every day. I felt like I was behind everyone else because I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to my studies.

All of this changed when I started the Pathways program. I started receiving bus fare so I was able to spend less time travelling to school, and they gave me access to the computers they had. With my commute cut in half and all the information I needed at my fingertips, I finished my homework more easily and found it less challenging to succeed in school.

Before entering Pathways I was a quiet student. I was worried about how I would be perceived and if my opinions would even matter. But my mentors really encouraged me to use my voice. In Grade 10, I began public speaking, and by my last year of high school I was presenting speeches to close to 500 students about different issues that mattered to me.

Pathways has done a lot for me as an individual, but I think it’s done even more for the community.

Even now, I bump into different alumni in the city, and we’re all very supportive of each other and the people around us. That’s the biggest thing. Regent Park has been given a negative narrative, but Pathways helped provide the people of our community with the tools to write their own stories—to make a difference.

In the future, I hope to work in the digital media sphere. I’d also like to volunteer my time to help youth in my community succeed.

Pathways to Education is a national charitable organization working to make Canada a Graduation Nation. Partnering with dedicated organizations in low-income communities, Pathways supports youth to graduate from high school and achieve their full potential. Celebrating over 15 years of successful programming, our award-winning combination of academic, financial, social and one-on-one supports continues to successfully break the cycle of poverty through the power of education.

The Government of Canada has been financially supporting Pathways to Education Canada since 2010. Through Budget 2017, the Government renewed its support for Pathways by providing $38 million over four years, starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019.

Canada Summer Jobs – Ziyad, a leader in training

Ziyad worked at Jamiatul Mosque in Brampton, Ontario as an office administrator under the Canada Summer Jobs program. “The Canada Summer Jobs Program is a huge asset to us considering that we’re a non-profit organization,” he says. “The operations of the mosque are exclusively run by volunteers, so having someone full-time is critical.”

Some of Ziyad’s tasks at the mosque included developing recreational and spiritual programs, as well as planning necessary social services. He enjoyed the challenge of developing and improving his organizational skills and learning to work efficiently.

Canada Summer Jobs is designed to focus on local priorities while helping students help their communities. “I hope that I’m on my way to becoming a leader. And I think a lot of the skills at this job will help me serve the community here at the mosque in the future.

Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) is an initiative of the Summer Work Experience program. It provides wage subsidies to employers to create employment for secondary and post-secondary students.

CSJ provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 years who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.

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