“We must be doing something right”. Canadore’s IPREP off to a good start!
Jan 15, 2020 | Cindy Males, Public Relations and Communications Specialist
Canadore College’s Indigenous Poverty Reduction Education Program, or IPREP, is the only one of its kind in Ontario. IPREP works in partnership with First Nations’ Ontario Works offices, and gives clients who want to go to college the chance to do so.
The program started in February, 2018. Students have been coming from First Nations across Ontario, including Pikangikum First Nation, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Dokis First Nation and Nipissing First Nation.
“Right now, IPREP has 30 registered students who are taking programs within Canadore,” says IPREP Lead Mike Sawyer. “We are a pathway support. We had 10 students returning from last year.”
And Sawyer says, three of last year’s graduates have returned to continue their college education in other programs at Canadore College.
“We must be doing something right,” says Sawyer. “They wanted to continue their education. That’s huge.”
Canadore’s IPREP is one of 48 projects across Ontario supporting ways to help people break the cycle of poverty through employment.
“Our program doesn’t start here,” says Judy Manitowabi, Canadore College’s manager of Community-Led Programs and Contract Training. “We don’t duplicate existing supports. We work with what’s there.”
IPREP offers specialized support in a number of areas including assistance with applying directly to Canadore College and completing funding applications, education plans and goal settings, tutoring and customized support, as well as access to Indigenous knowledge keepers and elders.
The program held an Open House January 14, 2020, to celebrate the successes so far and to spread awareness about the program. Some First Nations’ Ontario Works administrators were in attendance.
Student Shane Bondy heard about IPREP while he was enrolled in adult education in his home First Nation on Manitoulin Island. He wanted to go to Canadore College, but was facing one major hurdle.
“I didn’t really have a place to stay in North Bay, so I took my chance on residence. But, I was $200 short,” says Bondy, a student in Canadore’s Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention program. “One of the supports that IPREP provides is residence subsidies, which reduces some of the costs.”
Bondy will graduate this year and is considering his future.
“There’s lots of things I’ve been thinking about, maybe go into another program that would educate me more about the addictions and what mental health is. I’m pretty lucky because I wouldn’t be in my second year. I’m not sure what I’d be doing today.”
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