What is being called by many a landmark meeting is happening here in Ottawa today, just a few blocks away from Actua’s national office. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston are joining First Nations leaders to discuss, among many topics, education in Aboriginal communities.
Among the many alarming educational disparities, there is a large number of Aboriginal youth facing and entering the labour force without the necessary bridge to prepare them for and connect them to the wealth of career choices that await them. I am pleased with the mileage the issue is achieving in the press and through the frenzy of tweets. Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has broadcast some impactful sound bites that shed light on the alarmingly low graduation rates among Aboriginal youth. He has also revealed some strategies and recommendations that will likely serve as a good first step in investing in the next generation. What resonates with me is his emphasis on how building a stronger future for Aboriginal youth is directly related to building a stronger future for Canada.
Like others involved in educational programming for Aboriginal youth, Actua is eager to hear the outcomes of today’s meetings. We are glued to the webcast and following the tweets. What lies under the headlines and within the feeds are many success stories of unique approaches to supporting this youth demographic. The chatter, the discussions and the stories that we are witnessing are in themselves a step in a positive direction. This buzz around the meetings reflects not only the active interest of so many individuals, organizations, decision-makers and community leaders, it shows the power of collaboration as the best way to approach the issue.