Within a generation, every Indigenous student will graduate.
Spring is finally here and with it, a whole host of amazing events and opportunities here at Indspire. So far, we are definitely looking forward to an amazing summer– take a look! 
Indspire News
Soaring Registration is Now Open!

It’s coming…and for the first time ever, it’s all virtual!! Soaring 2021, our Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering, is NOW OPEN for registration!

With all the great content you’ve come to expect from us over the years – engaging workshops, amazing Indigenous performers & musicians, 40+ tradeshow booths featuring post-secondary institutions and top Canadian employers – it’s going to be an incredible online experience.

And did we mention it’s all FREE? Parents, teachers, guardians, and youth leaders: it’s super-simple to register your youth online.

The Slaight Family Foundation has awarded grants totaling $30 million in support of mental health services in Canada!

Indspire is very proud to be one of the nineteen organizations receiving generous grants from the Slaight Family Foundation! The grants, $30 million in total, will go to organizations who are providing mental health care, including specialized programs for vulnerable LGBTQI+ individuals, French-speaking Black youth, Indigenous youth, children with disabilities and their families, seniors, and individuals with substance use disorders. Indspire will be using the Slaight Family Foundation’s generosity to create mental health partnerships and resources specifically for Indigenous youth. 
Other recipients include The SickKids Foundation, Kids Help Phone, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, SPRINT Senior Care, and the University Health Network.
 “We hope this support will help alleviate some of these stresses, reduce hospital visits, provide additional services for those in need of mental health support and develop new models of care and service for others to emulate,” said Slaight Foundation president and CEO Gary Slaight.

Learn more here.
Rivers to Success
There are now over 1,000 active participants in Indspire’s Rivers to Success (R2S) Indigenous Student Mentorship Program! Facilitated through an online Portal, the R2S program features an innovative blend of one-on-one and group Indigenous mentorship as well as a wide array of customized and cultural resources to help Indigenous students succeed, organized in three streams:

  1.  High School – for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in Grs. 10-12
  2. Post-Secondary – for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students pursuing post-secondary studies OR Gr. 12 students who have been accepted to post-secondary studies after high school graduation
  3. Career Transition – for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students preparing to graduate and begin their careers

Highlights include:
Through a Bright Lens: The Power of Indigenous Women’s Mentorship 

We enjoyed some wonderful insights from mentor/mentee pair Erica Daniels and Desiree Brightnose on March 18th when we hosted Through a Bright Lens, a discussion about how the power of mentorship can make a huge difference to Indigenous students’ educational and career paths. It was a fabulous discussion – huge thanks to Erica and Desiree for sharing their time, their heartfelt advice, and some excellent tips for success! Thanks to everyone who participated.
Stay tuned for:
Living Words, Living Strength: Shaping Meaning Through Indigenous Languages

In this two-part series in partnership with Community Story Strategies, we will honour Indigenous Languages Day - and we invite you to share what Indigenous language means to you.  

  • In Session 1 (March 31), participants will work with Indigenous artists to creatively explore your relationship to Indigenous languages. Sign up here
  • In Session 2 (April 21), fluent speakers will join us to present your creations from Session 1 in their Indigenous languages, and teach us words in Cree, Anishnaabemowin, Michif, Mohawk and Inuktitut. Sign up here

Participants are encouraged to attend both sessions, but it’s okay if you can only attend one. Join us to connect and create with others and celebrate Indigenous languages! 
April is shaping up to be a busy Spring for our R2S mentors and mentees! Check out the great events we’ve planned for April – and the wonderful new resources which are now available. We hope you’ll join us. Stay tuned for more info! 
The theme of this event is going to be Wahkotowin: “Kinship” in Cree. On April 15, 2021 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm EDT, award-winning community organizer Michael Redhead Champagne will teach us about youth community organizing: how to identify a challenge, take your ideas, and then find the actions you need to create the solution. He focuses on empowering youth and community-based solutions to bring people together and support one another in times of change. Sign up here!
Cultural Glossary Resource

This month we would like to highlight our Cultural Glossary which was done by Erica Daniels / Kejic Designs. Join Elder Dr. Dave Courchene, Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man from Anishinaabe Sagkeeng First Nation as he explains the Anishinaabe meaning of the following words: Land, Language, Culture and Ceremony. 
Do you want to share our journey as an Indigenous mentor – or do you know of an Indigenous student who would benefit from the R2S program? Come and visit us here

Have questions or want to know more about the R2S program? Email us at rivers@indspire.ca or visit us at indspire.ca/rivers
Indspire Research Knowledge Nest
Indspire’s Research Knowledge Nest is beginning the Spring with some big ideas! We are wrapping up our recruitment process as this initiative is quickly moving to its second year. But first, we’re celebrating the success of our first cohort of Research Assistants! This group of recent graduates is putting together a great set of resources and reports to be shared this spring. We’re focusing on how Indigenous students’ funding for post-secondary studies differs from non-Indigenous students. We’ll also be reporting on how the pandemic has affected Indigenous post-secondary learners.
Highlights include:
CERB/CESB Indigenous Learners Report
The Research Nest is looking forward to the release of a report which explores the effect of COVID-19 relief programs such as CERB and CESB on Indigenous learners as part of our Finding the Path data-gathering process. Check out the report on our website to learn more about the insights we discovered!
Stay tuned for:
Financing Education: Challenges for Indigenous Post-Secondary Students
Another up-and-coming report from the Research Nest will explore the particular challenges and situations that Indigenous post-secondary students experience while pursuing financing options for their education – especially compared to non-Indigenous post-secondary students. We’re looking forward to sharing the real-world insights we gained. Stay tuned for the report’s release in April. 
Have questions or want to know more about the Research Knowledge Nest? Email us at research@indspire.ca or visit us at indspire.ca/research.
Building Brighter Futures Student Spotlight
James Lavallée
James knows very well that change can be both challenging and exciting – and he also knows how essential it is!

This award-winning Métis athlete is currently transitioning from competing as an elite Sprint kayaker to becoming a full-time university student, pursuing a management degree at Concordia University. He’s supported by a Canada Life Indigenous Student Award through Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program.

After graduation, he wants to create sustainable opportunities for Indigenous youth: “Through the management program I want to grow as a leader, and learn about social entrepreneurship, so I can apply my abilities in a tangible way to lift up my community. Thank you for generously supporting me and my dream of Indigenous youth, empowered and connected to identity, culture, language and land.” 

Read more about James and his journey here.
In the News
Stay in touch!
Thank you to our Major Supporters!