June 21, 2022– This school year, hundreds of B.C. youth in Indigenous communities have learned new skills to help them thrive financially, think entrepreneurially, and prepare them for the future of work. 

This includes a class of grade 6/7 students from Kispiox Elementary in Kispiox, B.C., a busy village in the Bulkley Valley of Northwest British Columbia. With support from a First Nations volunteer and JABC’s Program Director of Indigenous Communities, these 31 students learned personal money management skills including how to prepare a budget, calculate the cost of credit and identify the best ways to invest their money.  

The classroom teacher was enthusiastic about this JA Dollars with Sense program delivery and asked for additional materials so she could teach more on the topic. 

“I think JA programs are amazing. I loved going into the local communities where I already have connections and interacting with the youth on a different level.” 

-Starlene Starlund, a First Nations volunteer

In addition, a unique Indigenous-themed World of Choices program was held in June, National Indigenous History Month. Almost 1,500 grade 6-12 students across B.C. joined the live, virtual program to hear from Indigenous leaders, entrepreneurs and role models. The inspiring speakers in this work readiness program talked about their own career journeys and participated in a lively question and answer session.  

An educator from Stein Valley Nlakapamux, William Rowluck, was very pleased his class attended this motivating World of Choices program. William said, “I knew [the students] were engaged in the whole presentation. Your presenters were all excellent and being able to do the Q & A was very effective.” 

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Clockwise top left: World of Choices speakers Johnna Sparrow-Crawford, Chief Clarence Joseph Louie, Sharon Bond-Hogg, Corey Brown & William Belleau

Since September 2021, 54 JA financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programs were delivered to Indigenous communities and schools across B.C. This is almost double the target of 30 deliveries planned for the 2021-22 school year. In addition, 85 programs were delivered to classrooms where at least 25% of students self-identified as Indigenous. 

Learn more about how to get involved with JA programming in Indigenous communities at jabc.ca/indigenous. 

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Main image: JA Dollars with Sense program at Kispiox Elementary