Friends of the Finnish Labour Temple Digital Creation and Training Project

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Photo by Noles Dennhardt Left to rt back Ron Harpelle, Derek Okeese, Dominick Cedro Fordes,Adrien Harpelle, Marlon Legarde, Kelly Saxberg, Tom Peotto, Adam Okeese, Martin King Bottom Alyssa Kusik, Katie Green, Rommel Jay Cayanga
Photo by Noles Dennhardt Left to rt back Ron Harpelle, Derek Okeese, Dominick Cedro Fordes,Adrien Harpelle, Marlon Legarde, Kelly Saxberg, Tom Peotto, Adam Okeese, Martin King Bottom Alyssa Kusik, Katie Green, Rommel Jay Cayanga

By Kelly Saxberg

Thunder Bay, ON – On Friday, MPP Lise Vaugeois met with the team at Friends of the Finnish Labour Temple to hear more about the $150,000 Resilient Communities Fund that the group received earlier this year from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). Funds from the two-year long grant will help support the organization’s Digital Creation and Training project. The Resilient Communities Fund program was created by OTF to help non-profit groups rebuild and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

“Thunder Bay-Superior North celebrates the Friends of the Finnish Labour Temple’s Digital Creation and Training Project,” said Lise Vaugeois, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. “With the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s $150,000 support, we’re empowering youth, women, and BIPOC communities. This investment fosters connections, combats isolation, and shapes a more inclusive future for our region. Together, we’re embracing digital tools to share stories, promote resilience, and unite generations.”

Funds from the grant are helping the organization with staffing costs for a part-time digital outreach coordinator and digital workers to expand its current programming throughout the region and provide training for interns, summer and co-op students, seniors, and community partners. This grant also enables the group to continue collaborating with non-profit groups such as Flash Frame Film and Video Network, Four Rivers, Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services, and the Thunder Bay Museum to train and engage Elders and Youth using in person outreach events and workshops to harness digital creation to tackle isolation and promote sustainability and resilience.

“The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be overstated,” said Ron Harpelle, Treasurer of the Friends of the Finnish Labour Temple. “This grant will contribute to the sustainability of our in-person programming, virtual events, interactive websites, films, and oral history projects.”

Thanks to the grant, the Friends of the Finnish Labour Temple will also have the resources to train women and BIPOC youth to produce and deliver meaningful digital content to isolated seniors and help develop digital projects with Matawa First Nations communities. Isolated seniors at home and in care homes will receive relevant program content in person and via social media and websites. The organization will continue to deliver relevant programming in English, French, Indigenous languages. The OTF grant will enable it to organize multiple training events to build the digital skills of its staff, volunteers and partners. FFLT commits to training staff and volunteers that reflect the diversity of its community so they can become mentors themselves and inspire others to tell their stories through digital media.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

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