SchoolBOX partners with First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth leaders to ‘make education possible’ for kids in Indigenous communities across Canada, a territory with more than 634 First Nations and over 50 Indigenous languages.
Half of First Nations kids on reserve live in poverty (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2019)and only 1 in 4 graduate high school in 4 years (Auditor General 2018), stats unparalleled to other disadvantaged groups in Canada.
The Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) explains that these are impacts of cultural genocide and the residential school system. The Chief Commissioner, Honorable Justice Murray Sinclair says however, that “education is what got us here and education is what will get us out”.
We wholeheartedly agree with the TRC and believe that education is the key to empower girls and boys to defeat poverty and reach their true potential. If you are interested in supporting this important work, please consider donating monthly below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to bring SchoolBOX to your community!
SchoolBOX is a registered Canadian and Nicaraguan charity with the simple mission of ‘making education possible’ for all kids. Our organization was founded in 2006 with the gift of a notebook and pencil to two girls in Nicaragua which enabled them to attend school that year. We quickly evolved into building libraries and classrooms and supporting tens of thousands of kids each year with school supplies with over 600,000 notebooks to kids. Thevery first school completed in Nicaragua, in 2008, was built with the help of two Wet’suwet’en First Nation cousins from BC, Danielle Wall and Nicole Ogen.
Indigenous Youth Empowering Students
This empowering volunteer build experience sparked the idea for the Indigenous Youth Empowering Student Program (IYES). Since 2009, IYES has enabled First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth to travel to Nicaragua on a school build project where they embrace their own cultural identity and customs through sharing them with the children of Nicaragua. They use this experience to fill up with hope and light and shine that back into their home communities. Alumni youth have come down with no prior knowledge of their culture but have gone on to become education coordinators, band council members, authors, artists and world travellers!
It’s exciting to see the impact Indigenous youth volunteers from 5 provinces and territories are now having at home with support from SchoolBOX. The Wabauskang First Nations Library, inaugurated as the newest First Nations library in Ontario in 2018,was created with IYES volunteer Terri Meekis, after her trip to Nicaragua. She helped to construct a rural school and library on her build trip, and yet her home reserve didn’t have either. She’s now an elected band councillor and working with SchoolBOX to achieve her community’s vision for education at home.
In 2019, SchoolBOX launched a healthy school lunch program in Terri’s home community, with Anishinaabe chef Marshall Moore, to help eliminate the education gap for students on reserve. We are getting to see first-hand the impacts of the research that show lunches improve attendance, classroom performance and overall wellbeing. For as little as $10 you can purchase a new lunch kit for the school year or a healthy school lunch for a student!
Please fill in the form below to donate to SchoolBOX North.
Terri teaching children about the medicine wheel (left) and with her daughter Keira (right), in Nicaragua.
For more information on our Indigenous Youth Program, email Sarah Kerr at email@example.com.
- Launched the SchoolBOX Indigenous Youth Program in 2017.
- Worked with Terri Meekis and leaders of the Wabauskang First Nation to start a library on their reserve.
- A new library including 500+ Indigenous books, 5 book shelves, 2 iPads, 1 e-reader, a kids reading area, and an adult reading corner was installed in the Wabauskang Youth Centre and completed in October 2017.
- Thank you to USGE, Laidlaw Foundation, and the many individuals donors who helped to fund this pilot project!
- The building is now used as a learning center. Terri registered the library with Ontario Library Services- North for ongoing funding and training. Distance education teachers from the 7 Generations Institute use the space to help kids complete their high school diplomas and after school programs like Right to Play run for elementary kids in the space.
*The SchoolBOX logo was Indigenized by Emily Kewageshig, Ojibwe Woodlands Artist from Saugeen First Nation. The butterflies represent the transformation experienced by children through education, the floral design represents safe travels for our volunteers and team and the medicine wheel represents mino-bimaadiziwin (leading a good life) and balance in our mission and values.
Contact Sarah Kerr for more information on how to help: firstname.lastname@example.org