RBC gives $50,000 to support Aboriginal students at North Island College

Indigenous students at all North Island College campuses will be able to access improved support to complete their education, thanks to a $50,000 donation from RBC and the RBC Foundation.

“When young people succeed, we all win – parents, educators, governments, youth service organizations, employers – society at large,” said Kelly Bissell, RBC regional vice president. “RBC is excited to make a significant impact on the lives of young Canadians through the Aboriginal Scholars program at NIC.”

While NIC provides programming within the communities it serves, many of the college’s Aboriginal students must leave their home communities to complete programs at NIC’s larger campuses. By providing culturally relevant services, staff and spaces that engage their passions, it’s hoped more Aboriginal students will have positive post-secondary experiences.

Since 2016, Campbell River and Comox Valley students in the pilot program have worked with Aboriginal education advisors to set and achieve their goals.

“With RBC’s support, we can do so much more,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC’s director of Aboriginal education. “The donation today will help NIC intensify and expand the Aboriginal Scholars program so more students in Port Hardy, Port Alberni, Campbell River and the Comox Valley will have the opportunity to develop individual achievement plans, while accessing services and supports to meet their diverse needs. I want to thank RBC for investing in Aboriginal students at NIC.”

David Dawson is one of six students who participated in the program last year. He completed NIC’s Human Services diploma and is now inspiring others through his work as a peer counsellor and night attendant at the Comox Valley Recovery Centre, where he was once a client.

He credits Elders-in-Residence Fernanda Paré and Evelyn Voyageur as well as Aboriginal Education advisor Sarah Lawrence for lifting his spirits through times of trouble, doubt, uncertainty and confusion.

“This college is so freely giving, supporting, kind, caring and provides comfort and connection with one another,” said Dawson. “The atmosphere here is so diverse, warm, inviting and uplifting. It helped me on my journey and I know it helped others as well.”

To make a difference in the lives of post-secondary students and invest in NIC students, call the NIC Foundation at 250-334-5247.