RBC gives $50,000 to support Aboriginal students at NIC

NIC President John Bowman (centre) accepts a $50,000 cheque from the RBC Foundation. The money will expand and improve the college’s Aboriginal Scholars Program. Pictured (left to right) are NIC Human Services graduate David Dawson, Elder in Residence Fernanda Paré, Director of Aboriginal Education Kelly Shopland, Advisor Sarah Lawrence, RBC Dominion Securities Investment and Wealth Advisor Lara Austin, NIC President John Bowman, RBC Courtenay Branch Manager Tyler Robinson, NIC Elder in Residence Evelyn Voyageur, NIC student Kelsie Robinson and RBC Regional Vice President North Vancouver Island, Kelly Bissell.

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.

The money is part of RBC’s commitment to empowering young Canadians by improving access to skills, education and resilience they need to succeed.

“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.

About RBC and the RBC Foundation

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have approximately 81,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 35 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. For more information, visit http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/.

Media Contact
Christiana Wiens
Media Liaison, North Island College
O. 250-334-5280 | M. 250-218-4097

More on This Story

Read further coverage of this story on My Campbell River Now.