Aboriginal Service Committee Annual Report 2011-2012 

This was the first year of operation for our committee.  Most members were very involved and we all learned a lot. The committee members were Carolyn Purden, Don Bell, Fred Lawlor, Jackie Davies, Jayson Phelps, John Andras, John Carr, Kim Curry, Matthew Harrison, Peter Love, Robert Smith, Steven Smith and Sandy Boucher. We also appointed an Advisory Board comprised of Andree Cazabon (film maker), Andrew Wesley (an Anglican Aboriginal Priest), Hanita Tiefenbach (Ont. Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs), James Bartleman (former Lieutenant Governor), Jamie Toguri (Native Child & Family) and Larry Frost (Director, Native Friendship Centre).

The original Aboriginal Taskforce gave us a mandate to proceed as a full fledge committee and the Club gave us a budget of $15,000 to start.  A further $6,500 was made available by individual donations.

The following is a summary of our activities:

Program

1)         We met once a month in space provided by Native Child & Family Services of Toronto at 30 College Street.  The First Nations ambiance gave us a better feel of the First Nations people.

2)         We all had some sensitivity training at the Native Friendship Centre in Sept.   This was attended by about 20 people.

3)         We determined our focus should be on education and being connectors to groups who could help advance the First Nations issues.

4)         While we were appreciative of the possibility of a $100,000 Centennial Grant, we did not feel we had the resources or time to vete possible projects properly.  We also did not want to be known around the city primarily as a money giving group.

5)         We established a good connection with the First Nations School in Toronto and funded a luncheon program for $7,000.  We also participated in a Career Day in which Club members participated.  This is to be done again next year.  We anticipate a long-term partnership.

6)         We provided $14,000 to the Native Child & Family Service Program at the Native Learning Centre in Scarborough to assist Aboriginal youth finish their secondary education.

7)         We supported Andree Cazabon’s Third World Canada film.  We also discussed possible funding of a portion of the Toronto costs.

8)         We sent Youth Leadership Nomination forms and promoted the Rotary Youth Day to a number of First Nations organizations.  Unfortunately no nominations were received. 

We will encourage again for next year.  We also discussed a possibility of having an award specifically for First Nations youth.  We arranged for a number of our Advisory Board members to attend the lunch.  We also arranged for Grand Chief Beardy to attend and speak.  We have an excellent relationship with Chief Beardy who I snow the Grand Chief for Ontario.

9)         We spoke with a number of NGO’s both in and out of the GTA about possible projects including North South Partnership, 4H and other Rotary clubs.

10)       We have connected YES and the Native Child & Family Services.  They are discussing a youth employment partnership

11)       We are discussing with both Native Family & Child Services and First Nations School about a possible mentoring program involving both Rotary members and an outside group.

12)       We have met with Hanita Tiefenbach of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs about the creation of a coalition of organizations who work with First Nations people.  We will also be discussing this with the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  Both groups are enthusiastic.

13)       We have arranged for a breakout session on Aboriginal services at the combined 7070 & 7080 District Conference in Oct.  Third World Canada will also be highlighted.

14)       We are creating an information piece about our committee to distribute to other groups.

Other

•          Requested that in the future an Aboriginal speaker be part of a June program to coincide with First Nations Day.

•          Participated in the Lieutenant Governor’s Truth & Reconciliation Program Sept.

Summary

We all thought we had a most successful, useful and active first year.  Most of the committee members will be returning next year.

Chris Snyder, Chair

 
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