RBC Foundation donation expands Indigenous student program at NIC

NIC Executive Director of Future Students and Community Engagement Diane Naugler and NIC Executive Director of Indigenous Education Kelly Shopland (from left) receive the most recent donation to the Aboriginal Scholars program from RBC’s Malte Juergensen, Sr Relationship Manager - Indigenous Markets; Aubrey Lively, Branch Manager; Mohak Patel, Assistant Branch Manager; and Ruwan Kanaththage, Assistant Branch Manager.

Indigenous students have more education options at North Island College, thanks to a $40,000 donation from RBC Foundation.

RBC provides funding through the RBC Future Launch program to support young people in Canada as they work toward gaining skills and education.

“We are excited to announce a donation of $40,000 to North Island College Foundation Trust Fund in support of their Aboriginal Scholars Program. RBC Future Launch is dedicated to helping young people access meaningful employment through practical work experience, skills development, networking and access to mental well-being supports and services,” said Annette Sabourin, RBC Royal Bank Regional Vice President, Vancouver Island. “Through donations like this, RBC is working with educational institutions, partners and donor recipients in the private and public sectors to help create and provide access to long-term solutions.”

For NIC, the money supports the Aboriginal Scholars program, which empowers students through creating a self-constructed achievement plan, provides supports for them to complete their program, increases their sense of community, and fosters supportive relationships during their time at North Island College.

“The intent of the Aboriginal Scholars Program is to provide students the opportunity to define what success actually means to themselves,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC Executive Director of Indigenous Education.

The Aboriginal Scholars program has helped many students meet their self-identified achievement goals around what success means to them.

“The program creates an opportunity to engage with students in a holistic way—acknowledging and connecting all areas of their life, cultural, emotional, physical and academic,” said Sarah Lawrence, Indigenous counsellor.

The goal of the program is to provide a culturally relevant, holistic approach to education in which the student sets their own vision of success, which can incorporate all aspects of their personal growth. Starting in 2016, the Aboriginal Scholars Program was piloted at the Comox Valley campus but has since expanded to all four campuses. Funding such as RBC Foundation’s donation has helped the program expand in recent years.

“Thanks to the generous support of the RBC Foundation, NIC has been able to direct $120,000 to support the Aboriginal Scholars Program these last three years,” said Diane Naugler, NIC Foundation Executive Director. “Their generosity has also supported bursaries, scholarships, awards and other initiative over the years.”

Pauline Engisch has worked with Indigenous Education Navigators and taking the Aboriginal Scholars program to help her pursue a higher education on her way to a bachelor's degree.

“They helped me to keep my goals in mind, knowing someone was rooting for my success, helped me to not feel alone. Funding helped with food security and replacing my aging laptop, it was an additional boost to fight for myself and my education,” Engisch said.

About RBC Future Launch

RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empowering Canadian youth to build meaningful careers. With a focus on networking, skills development and experience, the initiative aims to help solve the problems facing young people due to the changing landscape of the workplace.

About the NIC Foundation

The NIC Foundation has been advancing student success, education and community growth through NIC for 30 years. It supports NIC students through scholarships and bursaries, equips classrooms with current technology and ensures the best possible learning facilities are accessible on the Central and North Island. It envisions a future where every student has the opportunity to pursue post‐secondary education, train for a new career or develop employable skills to support themselves and their families. For more information or to find out how to make a difference in the lives of post-secondary students and invest in NIC students, call the NIC Foundation at 250-334-5074 or visit https://foundation.nic.bc.ca.

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