Aboriginal Service Committee - Annual Report 2012 - 2013


This was the second year of operation of the Aboriginal Service Committee.
The members of our committee were Carolyn Purden, Jackie Davies, Jayson Phelps, John Andras, John Carr, Saleem Kassem, Matthew Harrison, Bob Smith, Peter Love, Steven Smith, and Agnes Walkinshaw (Club Board Liaison Director).
Our advisory board continues to be comprised of Andree Cazabon, Rev. Andrew Wesley, Hanita Tiefenbach, James Bartleman, Jamie Toguri, Larry Frost and Fred Lawlor.
Our mandate is to provide education for aboriginal youth and to connect people and organizations working for the benefit of First Nations People.
We have a budget of $15,000.  A further $3,000 was raised in separate donations.
  1. We continued to meet approximately once/month at the Native Child & Family Services (NCFS) at 30 College St.. The meeting was often attended by members of their staff including Kenn Richard, the director of NCFS.
  1. We continued to support The First Nations School by providing funding for special needs situations.  We also put on an excellent Career Day.  We have been asked to do it again next year.  Carolyn Purden is already organizing it.
  1. We worked with NCFS on the General Education Diploma (GED) program which we supported last year.  The completion rate of students is low not only in the NCFS GED program but other GED programs as well.  Revisions will be made for extra math and writing training.  Also, more instructional time will be added.  We donated to help with some of their ongoing costs.  In spite of low completion rates, there are other program benefits.
  1. We provided funding, advice and support for Andree Cazabon’s 3rd World Canada tour.  This has resulted in Andree and members of the KI community going to Lisbon, Portugal (RI Convention) to show the film and discuss aboriginal issues.  Much of the money raised is being done by the youth themselves and Kingston Rotary Clubs.  The local tour was a great success.  The KI youth also invited 25 people to come and visit their community June 17th. which Peter Love and John Andras attended.  John, in particular, has been very supportive of Andree and her film.
  1. We are exploring the possibility of a sweat equity team in 2014 to KI or elsewhere and have had initial discussions with possible partners.
  1. In relation to our mandate of connecting, we had a meeting with the Ontario Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to advise what we are doing.  We originally were to meet with Kathleen Wynne, however, she had to step aside when she ran for the premiership. 
We were able to promote Club Amick to them.  They have responded with considerable funding.  Our club also gave $25,000 to the Ontario Library Service who runs Club Amick for the Club Amick Literacy Program.  This is a book/literacy program initiated by James Bartleman.
  1. Also, in keeping with our connecting mandate, we ran a breakout session at the District Conference.  This has lead to the creation of ARCC(Aboriginal Rotarian Community
Circle).  This will be a stand alone, not-for-profit (eventually) charitable organization
aimed at getting Rotary clubs, aboriginal groups and others across Ontario and Canada to work together on educational initiatives for aboriginal people.  It will also be our mandate to create awareness of aboriginal history, culture and issues to Canadians.  This initiative has enormous potential.  ARCC is at the Steering Committee stage with Chris Snyder as chair.  Currently there are approximately 15 clubs that are involved and 6 aboriginal leaders.  It is anticipated this will be very widely received across Canada.  Chief Atleo, Stan Beardy, James Bartleman, Lt. Gov. Onley are all aware of it and very supportive.  We have a provisional website www.arcccanada.ca.
      The board will be made up equally of aboriginal and Rotarians.
  1. At our instigation and in partnership with the Lieutenant Governor, we have been instrumental in having the Lieutenant Governor host several sessions of groups interested in working together in the interests of Aboriginal Canadians.  The purpose is instead of working alone, we work together.
There have been as many as 100 individuals – 60 or so groups, who meet periodically at these gatherings.  Groups have included senior people from Frontier College, CESO, College of Family Physicians, Right to Play, Stronach Foundation, a number of universities and many aboriginals, Chief Atleo, Stan Beardy and Premier Kathleen Wynne have attended the sessions.
This is resulting in much networking and several formal and informal partnerships being created. There is much goodwill and much good work taking place.
  1. We have been successful in having the Club commit to a speaker in June as part of National Aboriginal Week. This is Doug Sanderson, an aboriginal law professor from the University of Toronto.  Also through the initiative of Peter Love, Mr. Justice Sinclair, the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission addressed the Club. 
Though not of our doing, John Ralston Saul addressed the club and furthered the awareness of aboriginal issues.  All 3 gave outstanding talks.
  1. We continue to develop more relationships with the aboriginal community.
  1. The committee continues to work well together.  The position of chair is under discussion.
  1. The committee was established as a pilot.  It is unanimous that we ask the board to give us permanent status.  We also suggest everyone if they have an opportunity this summer go to one of the many pow wows being held around the province.
            Chris Snyder, Chair