THUNDER BAY – Wasaya Group Inc have announced that the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Student Living Centre will be partnered with Confederation College, and the City of Thunder Bay. The issue is ensuring greater safety for students attending high school in Thunder Bay who are coming from Northern Communities.
Wasaya Group Partnership announced for DFC Student Living Centre
The goal of the project is to offer students a safe and enjoyable learning experience that allows them to achieve their full potential.
The announcement took place at the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay.
The event was opened by Little Bear Drum Group.
Mary Ellen Thomas from Wasaya Group Inc. has been working on the project. “Students want a better quality of life,” stated Thomas. Students from across the North come to Thunder Bay, seven students in the past years have come back to their communities in coffins. The efforts from Wasaya Group started with parents, elders and families in the North connecting through their Chiefs to Wasaya Group. “I have to hand it to the youth,” stated Thomas.
“Riley Barkman brought things together, he started me on a journey,” stated Thomas. “I witness a lot of incidents in the City of Thunder Bay,” added Thomas. “Those incidents opened by eyes, but the youth are strong”.
The pressures on youth coming to Thunder Bay from their northern communities are powerful. They often come from centres where the entire population is less than the numbers of people who gather at the food court at Intercity Mall in the city. Students face challenges from drugs, racism, alcohol, and the distance from their families.
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Moving forward and making progress is the goal from Wasaya Group explained Thomas.
While there have been problems, the goal is solutions. A key point is that the students have solutions to the problems shared Thomas.
Thomas has been tireless, in working toward this effort.
“We can made a better youth experience,” stated Thomas. “What we are doing here is nothing new, we are just making things better for Ontario”.
Consultations between Wasaya Group Inc. and students as happened for some time now, with the students presenting a solution based approach that included a Youth Centre, and a Living Centre.
Talking with the students, and listening was seen as a key to making the effort a success. There has been a lot of work already done behind the scenes toward today’s announcement.
The project is being moved forward, “in a business way,” states Thomas. “I don’t want to see another student going home in a casket”.
The day is one of high hopes, excitement, and listening. The new DFC Student Living Centre will have the features needed by students, it is designed with their needs in mind. It also includes a family centre so that families can stay at the centre when students need extra support.
The Student Living Centre was designed by Leonard Alfred Wood Architect and will be built by the Wasaya Dowland Ventures LP.
The Student Living Centre will also connect to needed transportation facilities, having been designed with First Nations students needs at the centre.
A safer place for our students
NNEC Chair Chris Kakegamic addressed the group, bringing his board up to the front of the auditorium for a ‘happy announcement’.
“The youth centre will be a happy place,” stated the NNEC Chair. “We are stepping out in a new direction with our partners.”
“We have heard the voices of our students, and the voices of their families. This is for them”.
Kakegamic thanked the DFC team for overcoming adversities, and challenges, and said they can not be commended enough.
Wasaya Group Chair Cecilia Begg
“The common goals are safety for our students, increased graduation rates, and employment opportunities”.
The Wasaya Group Inc. Chair commented that the Ring of Fire offers great opportunities. “The young Aboriginal youth represent the future employees of the Wasaya Group Companies.
Begg singled out Mayor Keith Hobbs and City Manager Tim Commisso for their efforts and support.
Mayor Keith Hobbs
Mayor Hobbs addressed the audience commenting that “Where we are today and where we are headed is with our Aboriginal neighbours.”
Instead of focusing on Toronto, Hobbs said his first two trips were north to Fort Hope and to Webiquie First Nations.
Hobbs thanked all the partners in the efforts to win today’s move forward.
Confederation College Chair Dennis Wallace commented on the seriousness of the goals of the project. Confederation College had many of the team members at the announcement.
The goals of the Student Learning Centre are in line with the goals of Confederation College shared Wallace. “We are already connected to Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School,” shared Wallace. Students are already engaged in taking classes at the College.
Proclamation Signed on new Student Living Centre