SAULT STE. MARIE – The Social Service Worker – Native Specialization (SSW-NS) program at Sault College have announced the 3rd annual Project ALLY: Aboriginal Leaders Liberating Youth event on Tuesday, April 5 at Northern Grand Gardens.
The event is about connecting and teaming up to 100 aboriginal youth with a benevolent aboriginal mentor for an evening of culture, fun, empowerment and reciprocity. Facilitated by the faculty and students of the SSW-NS program, in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre, the activity-filled event involves the development of trust, self-worth, cultural identity, confidence and more to reduce risk and promote wellness.
A youth participant from last year said, “I had the best time of my life.” The pasta and meatball dinner, carnival games and a youth showcase highlighting each young person’s gifts, strengths and areas of mastery contribute to this experience. Fun and games are balanced with traditional teachings and a strong spiritual aspect with elder involvement, an Anishinaabemowin language activity and drumming.
This event is made possible by generous donations from Sault North Rotary Club and contributions from the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, and Sault College Native Education Department.
“Our communities struggle to cope with impacts of historic trauma that has left too many of our youth with fragmented identities and spirits, and it is time for collective healing,” says Stephanie Stephens, Professor, Social Service Worker-Native Specialization at Sault College.
“Project ALLY is an empowering, inter-relational experience of reconnection where we provide an opportunity for mentors to fulfill their inherent, traditional roles as family and community leaders. Adult mentors experience their own transformative healing as their spirits are awakened to a feeling of freedom and wellness. In Anishinaabe worldview, the determinants of wealth and freedom relate to ones’ ability to fulfill their clan responsibilities that contribute to the betterment of community.”
“At Project ALLY, youth receive Anishinaabe teachings of wellness surrounded by mentors who inspire them, role modeling kindness and culturally resilient behaviours,” stated Louis Neveau, SSW-NS Student.
Non-Aboriginal community members are encouraged to become ‘allies’ and supporters of this grassroots, community capacity building event. “We are seeking generous sponsorships and giveaway donations from citizens, organizations and businesses to help youth attend this powerful and healing experience April 5th, as well as to keep this going year after year,” explained SSW-NS student Wendy Dubois.
To donate, mentor or sign up an Aboriginal youth age 10 – 15 for Project ALLY visit: The Project ALLY website or contact Stephanie Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 705-759-2554 ext. 2483.