How We Are Helping Canadians

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

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