OTTAWA, June 18, 2007 - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, today announced more than $33 million in funding over three years for the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). The funds will enable the Association to continue managing and offering programs for urban Aboriginal young people through the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centres and Young Canada Works for Aboriginal Urban Youth initiatives.
This funding is in addition to the $77 million over four years announced in May 2006 to help the Association operate its 116 centres across Canada.
"Friendship Centres support our urban Aboriginal young people, aged 15 to 24, across the country by providing them with a variety of cultural and social programs tailored to their needs, which help them improve their economic, social, and personal prospects," said Minister Oda. "That is why Canada's New Government is proud to support them in their work."
"This agreement demonstrates the Department's commitment to help urban Aboriginal young people and support Friendship Centres across Canada," said Vera Pawis Tabobodung, president of the National Association of Friendship Centres. "It will allow more young people to participate in our programmes and for longer periods. This is a real step forward."
The NAFC is a national Aboriginal organization grouping 116 cultural and community service centres throughout Canada.
The Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centres Initiative offers urban Aboriginal youth Aboriginal community-based, culturally relevant projects to help them in their development.
The Young Canada Works for Aboriginal Urban Youth program gives it participants the opportunity to acquire experience working with other young people by organizing cultural, sport, and recreational projects, while meeting basic community needs.
Canada's New Government has provided funding through the Aboriginal Peoples' Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The program supports the full participation and cultural revitalization of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian society. It enables Aboriginal peoples to address the cultural, economic, and political issues affecting their lives.
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women
A/Chief, Media Relations