NORDIK Institute Launches Urban Indigenous Youth for Change Project

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NORDIK Institute @ Algoma University

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – June 14, 2015): Today, NORDIK Institute, in collaboration with the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre, Algoma University’s Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program, 4Rs Youth Movement, and Generation Connection with the University of Toronto, announced a pilot project, Urban Indigenous Youth for Change (UIYFC), encouraging Indigenous youth to become agents of change in the social economy. The project is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

“This project would not be possible without the diverse strengths that each partner brings to the table. This focus on collaboration is what will drive the success of the project by being able to provide the necessary ‘wrap-around’ services to urban Indigenous youth co-leading this initiative,” said Dr. Gayle Broad, Research Director of NORDIK Institute and Associate Professor in the Department of Community Development and Social Work at Algoma U.

The Urban Indigenous Youth for Change (UIYFC) project is a partnership opportunity for Indigenous youth to co-create a path of opportunity for themselves and others by becoming aware, engaged, and informed on the social economy sector. Youth will embrace their role as change-makers in their communities as they work to inspire Indigenous social enterprise development that is sustainable and relevant for their generation and leads to diverse participation in the social economy.

The project will focus on capacity building and skill development so that youth involved in UIYFC can become leaders and facilitators on the Indigenous perspectives in social economy throughout the region. Indigenous youth will have access to diverse educational opportunities relating to entrepreneurship, the social economy, and social enterprise while also nurturing their Indigenous identities through cultural, spiritual, and land-based learning.

All programming will be mindful of cultural and spiritual teachings and the deep historical trauma that still affects Indigenous communities and youth today. Areas of skill development include: cross-cultural facilitation and communication, social innovation as well as business and financing relating to the social economy and social enterprise development. Participants will co-design the curriculum and co-deliver workshops to other Indigenous youth in and around the Sault Ste. Marie urban area.

“This project is especially important as it brings together traditional knowledge and mainstream business skills to create a new story for not only changing the lives of young Indigenous people, but also creating positive change in our communities,” said Jordan Tobobondung, the Partnership Development Coordinator at NORDIK Institute.

This project will provide an opportunity to modify and up-scale social economy education and approaches so that developed programming can be used in other communities.

The first phase of the project will focus on a number of consultation sessions with Indigenous youth and community members. The next consultation will take place on July 9th. Those interested in participating should contact Tabobondung at jordan.tobobondung@algomau.ca or by calling 705.949.2301, Ext. 4258.

About 4Rs Youth Movement (4RYM)
4RYM is a nationwide initiative that came together in 2013 to begin to reshape the dialogue among Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, to deepen their mutual understanding of each other’s values, beliefs and aspirations.

About Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre (IFC-SSM)
The Indian Friendship Centre in Sault Ste. Marie provides a meeting place for Native and non-Native people, to stimulate and help Native self-expression and the development of Native leadership and to help encourage study of Native needs and help in the planning of services with Native people in both public and private agencies.

About Algoma University
Algoma University offers a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences degree options including programs in Psychology, Computer Science, Business Administration, Fine Arts, Community Economic & Social Development, and Biology in Sault Ste. Marie, Brampton and Timmins. As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma U is committed to respecting Anishinaabe knowledge and culture. To learn more about Algoma University, visit www.algomau.ca.

Generation Connection (University of Toronto)
Generation Connection is an emerging social enterprise that will provide educational services to entrepreneurs from marginalized populations. The systems that currently exist for supporting entrepreneurs do not adequately support marginalized communities. Generation Connection’s mission is to provide entrepreneurial education as the catalyst that will enable local entrepreneurs to develop and implement business, social, and environmental solutions to address local issues and opportunities.

About NORDIK Institute
The NORDIK research institute aims to promote a more vibrant, caring and sustainable communities through research, dialogue, analysis and reflection dedicated to the practice of holistic community development. NORDIK has evolved from the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program and research of Algoma University, a unique program that provides students with the tools and knowledge to make meaningful change within their community and the world around them.

About Social Entrepreneurship Evolution (SEE)
SEE is an emergent collaborative working alongside diverse youth aged 13-35 and their Northern Ontario communities to develop and connect sustainable infrastructure that will foster a culture of social innovation and entrepreneurship, and support young social entrepreneurs (changemakers) in establishing meaningful livelihoods that promote resilient communities. Visit www.seetehchange.ca to learn more.