Leadership training empowers aboriginal students to find their inner leader

Calgary Board of Education awards aboriginal youth outreach program for engaging students
From left: Lori Pritchard, Lindsey Black, Carter Kuiper, Mallaina Friedle, Holliston Logan, Joy Bowen-Eyre, Shawna Cunningham, Kimberly Van Patten and Shane Cunningham. Representatives from The Native Centre along with Native Ambassador Post-Secondary Ini

The Calgary Board of Education's Lighthouse Award is presented.

The Calgary Board of Education

The University of Calgary’s Native Ambassador Post-Secondary Initiative (NAPI) program is being recognized by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) as a valued contributor to student engagement.

The NAPI program has been awarded with the CBE’s Lighthouse Award, which is presented to an organization in recognition of outstanding contributions towards student learning and success within CBE schools and programs throughout the city. 

“We are thrilled to be receiving the CBE’s Lighthouse Award,” says Shawna Cunningham, director of The Native Centre.

Pictured above are, from left, Lori Pritchard, Lindsey Black, Carter Kuiper, Mallaina Friedle, Holliston Logan, Joy Bowen-Eyre, Shawna Cunningham, Kimberly Van Patten and Shane Cunningham. Representatives from The Native Centre along with Native Ambassador Post-Secondary Initiative (NAPI) program ambassadors accept the Calgary Board of Education's Lighthouse Award presented by Joy Bowen-Eyre, board chair, CBE on Dec. 1. 

Program has been collaborating with CBE for last decade

After piloting the first level of NAPI leadership training, with support from Education Matters, in 2005, the NAPI program has had a very successful collaborative partnership offering leadership training for students with the CBE for the past 10 years. 

Since then, NAPI has expanded the leadership program to include three levels of training, delivered in several schools within the CBE and across Alberta. The leadership training is facilitated by the NAPI Ambassador team, comprised of aboriginal students from the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, SAIT and Bow Valley College.  

From left, Lindsey Black, Mallaina Friedle, NAPI program coordinator, and Carter Kuiper. Black and Kuiper are two Calgary Board of Education students who received NAPI leadership training. They spoke about the impact taking the NAPI leadership modules had on their lives during the CBE board meeting on Dec. 1.

From left, Lindsey Black, Mallaina Friedle, NAPI program coordinator, and Carter Kuiper.

The Calgary Board of Education

Workshops focus on self-awareness and cultural knowledge

The program is dedicated to leadership training through capacity building within school systems and is designed to empower aboriginal youth to find the leader within through workshops focused on self-awareness, self-development and cultural knowledge. 

“Every time we offer the program, we learn something new from the youth who participate,” says Mallaina Friedle, NAPI program co-ordinator.

“Many of the youth who complete level one of the program, go on to take level two and three, and often end up attending university or other post-secondary programs. Ideally, they apply their leadership skills to inspire and encourage younger students to stay in school.”

Black and Kuiper, above, are two Calgary Board of Education students who received NAPI leadership training. They spoke about the impact taking the NAPI leadership modules had on their lives during the CBE board meeting on Dec. 1. 

Ambassadors reach aboriginal youth across Canada

NAPI now offers leadership training to aboriginal youth across Alberta, B.C., the Yukon and the N.W.T. In 2014, more than 3,800 aboriginal youth experienced a motivational presentation or took part in leadership training delivered by NAPI Ambassadors.  

“The NAPI Ambassadors have the great honour of watching the participants grow and become more confident with who they are and who they want to be as individuals, as Aboriginal People, and as global citizens,” says Cunningham.