300 Aboriginal Youth Become “UBC Students For A Day”

National Aboriginal Achievement Awards youth

More than 300 Aboriginal high school students will become “university students for a day” when the 19th Annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards come to Vancouver this week.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, First Nations, Métis and Inuit grade 9-12 students from across British Columbia and the Yukon will take part in hands-on activities that showcase opportunities, programs and services at UBC while helping them to picture themselves as post-secondary students.

The visit is a partnership between UBC and the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and one of several events leading up to Aboriginal Achievement Awards at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday, Feb. 24. The awards celebrate excellence in the Aboriginal community across various disciplines and this year, UBC law alumnus Grand Chief Edward John will be recognized in the politics category.

The education series is designed to expose youth to the opportunities available to them once they finish high school. Other activities will include a career fair and a tour of the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. Over 1000 youth from across the Province will take part.

“We’re excited to welcome so many young people from across Canada,” says Debra Martel, Associate Director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning. “It will be rewarding to spend the day with them as they explore the campus, recognize opportunities, and start to plan for their future.”

While at UBC, youth will take part in engaging activities across the university. They will visit the Life Sciences Institute, the School of Human Kinetics, the Museum of Anthropology, and more. They’ll also meet current Aboriginal UBC students from a variety of disciplines and spend time at the university’s First Nations Longhouse.

“We want the youth to see UBC as a place that they belong,” says Ryanne James, Outreach Coordinator for the First Nations House of Learning. “They’re going to meet Aboriginal students just like them who are excelling in their studies at UBC.”

The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds to deliver programs that provide the tools necessary for Aboriginal peoples, especially youth, to achieve their potential.

This partnership is a component of UBC’s Aboriginal youth outreach programming which reaches hundreds of Aboriginal youth every year through summer camps, after school programming, internships, and more. These initiatives involve over 100 UBC faculty, staff, and students from across the university.

Aboriginal youth outreach is a key priority of the university’s Aboriginal Strategic Plan, a university-wide initiative that guides UBC’s engagement with Aboriginal peoples and communities. Under the plan, the university is making significant progress towards expanding services and opportunities for Aboriginal learners and increasing Aboriginal enrolment. More than 900 UBC students currently self-identify as Aboriginal.

To learn more about the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation visit http://www.naaf.ca/. To learn more about Grand Chief Edward John, a UBC alumnus and Ch’nook Advisory Board member, visit http://www.chnook.org/biography/557/.