Aboriginal Service Committee - Annual Report 2013 - 2014
The Aboriginal Service Committee allows and invites club members to engage in the process of Truth and Reconciliation. At our meetings we regularly invite indigenous leaders to educate us on their history, on current realities and on how best to serve. We engage with community partners to craft projects and programs to respond to the needs of First Nations people both on and off the reserve.
2013-2014 was our third year as a committee. Members were Bob Smith, Carolyn Purden, John Carr, Emre Yurga, Peter Love, Ross Amos, Chris Snyder, Steve Smith and Harry Figov (Club Board Liaison). We also welcomed many guests to help guide us, including Chief Moonias (Neskantaga First Nation), Arti Freeman (Ontario Trillium Foundation), JP Gladu and Andre Morriseau (Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business), David Sharpe (First Nations University), Andree Cazabon (3rd World Canada), Jennifer Martino (One Laptop per Child), Irwin Elman (Ontario Youth Advocate), Judy Finlay (North/South Partnership) and former Toronto Rotary Club member Fred Lawlor.
We continued to meet at the Native Child and Family Service Centre (NCFS), 30 College Street and enjoyed the participation and partnership of Executive Director, Kenn Richard and staff. Our activities this year:
  • Led by Carolyn Purden, we deepened our support of the First Nations School in Toronto by providing nearly 100 backpacks for students, organizing and participating in the third annual Careers Day and purchasing “The Circle of Life” book series.
  • We continued to work with NCFS on the Scarborough General Education Certificate Diploma (GED) Program, which we helped develop from a concept to the graduation of its first students. The program experienced a high drop-out rate due to the fact that many incoming youth required additional basic numeracy and literacy skills and other supports to succeed. Ross Amos and Fred Lawlor worked with NCFS staff to craft a business plan to expand and refine the initial program. A request is being made to the Rotary Club of Toronto Foundation to provide the capacity to better meet the needs of the youth, improve graduation rates and to prove the concept to make it eligible for permanent funding.
  • Through a partnership with One Laptop per Child, we provided funding for laptop computers for the NCFS, After School and Alternative High School programs.
  • We consulted with and negotiated third party support for the second 3rd World Canada Reconciliation Tour to Kitchenuhmaykoosib (KI).
  • We provided funding to the Queens University Rotaract Club KI Youth Partnership Program.
  • We provided funding for ARCC Aboriginal Rotary Council Circle (renamed HIP-Honouring Indigenous People) to develop a website.
  • We continued participation in the Lieutenant Governor’s Aboriginal Circle.
  • We hosted a Friday speaker by inviting J.P. Gladu CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
  • Subsequent to the year end, we partnered with One Laptop per Child to donate 20 tablet computers for the community school in the remote fly-in First Nation of Neskantaga. The laptops are preloaded with culturally appropriate material in English and Oji-Cree.
  • Subsequent to year end, we partnered with Eastview Community Centre Boys and Girls Club and Katy Perry’s “Make Roar Happen” Campaign to deliver 35 backpacks and school supplies for students at First Nations School.
John Andras, Chair