SchoolBOX North – New Learning Center for Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation!

 

SchoolBOX brought our mission ‘home’ after learning that Indigenous Youth Empowering Students (IYES) volunteers were helping to build libraries and schools for kids in Nicaragua and yet had neither books nor schools in their home community of Wabauskang First Nation in Northern Ontario. Terri Meekis, IYES alumnus and now Wabauskang Councillor, helped us translate our model and create the newest First Nations Library in Ontario in her home community!  She continues to volunteer to champion kids and is helping us implement our next learning center project in Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, on the border of Ontario and Manitoba, just north of Kenora.
The project will transform an unused bay of the community fire hall into a beautiful learning center for all kids K-12; creating the only educational facility on the reserve.  The space will serve children and families, elders and youth, to come together to learn, teach and share.  We will replace the garage door with an open picture window to allow for natural light, install a children and family library collection downstairs and a youth library upstairs. Kids can receive support in completing their high school in an effort to break the cycle of poverty left by residential schools. Only 1 in 4 kids on-reserve finish their high school in 4 years according to a 2018 Auditor General report. Together, we are investing in amazing local leaders to overcome these barriers and ‘make education possible’ for all kids!
To learn more about the project or get involved read the project proposal or donate below:


Indigenous library complete in Wabauskang First Nation

We are so excited to share the results of SchoolBOX’s first Indigenous library project in Wabauskang First Nation. The library was finished on October 5th, thanks to the leadership and support of Terri Meekis and her amazing community in Wabauskang. Terri, an Anishinaabe woman, mental health support worker, and mother of three, was also a two-time SchoolBOX volunteer with our Indigenous Youth Empowering Students (IYES) program. It was during her trips to Nicaragua helping to build a school that Terri got the inspiration to do something to ‘make education possible’ in her home community that did not have a library or school for her own kids to attend. She partnered with SchoolBOX to install her community’s very first library in their youth centre. The library contains 500 books with all Indigenous content, plus an e-reader and two iPads equipped with a library cataloguing app to facilitate book borrowing and returns.

SchoolBOX would like to thank Margie Graff for all of her help sourcing Indigenous content for the library and traveling with us to Wabauskang to help set it up. Her humility, community spirit and tireless efforts were inspiring. Thank you to the Laidlaw Foundation for donating the two iPads at the library, and to all of the individual donors and volunteers who gave their time and funds to make this project happen.

Last but certainly not least, we would like to thank USGE for believing in our ‘little organization that could’ and voting unanimously as a National Executive to support this Indigenous library pilot project. Without their generous support none of this would be possible.

And here it is: The SchooBOX Indigenous Library in Wabauskang