Since 1996, EPIC has designed, proposed, supervised and financially managed a broad range of project activities dedicated to the advancement of youth, young adults, parents and caregivers. The focus has been on African Nova Scotians, Mi’kmaq, disadvantaged learners and youth at-risk.
Below are summaries of projects that were part of EPIC’s accomplishments in the years 2006 – 2011.
The goal of Eskasoni Elder Safety, which began in January 2009, was to enhance Eskasoni seniors’ safety and well-being, improve police and seniors communication, and promote respect and positive relationships between seniors and youth. To these ends, the project initially encompassed two initiatives—Youth Giving Back to Elders and Elder Spirit—both of which involved broad community partnerships, supervised activities, and ongoing communication with the RCMP. With Squanto Oakley as project supervisor, EPIC administered this project in partnership with the Eskasoni Elder Committee, Eskasoni High School, Eskasoni School Board, Eskasoni RCMP, and Eskasoni Health Centre from 2009 – 2011 at which time the management of the project was passed to the hands of the Elder Society. Squanto continues to work with this group as Supervisor. Eskasoni Elder Safety has received funding from the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors.
Mi’kmaq Post-secondary Adult & Career Transit
In January 2009, a bus began transporting community college and university Mi’kmaq students from Eskasoni First Nations and Membertou First Nations to and from the campuses of Nova Scotia Community College-Marconi and Cape Breton University.
At an October 2008 meeting, the EPIC Board decided that providing Mi’kmaq young adults with an opportunity for free transportation in order to promote excellent attendance for post-secondary education was well within the mandate of EPIC’s mission statement of helping marginalized students overcome obstacles. Dan Christmas, who sits on both the EPIC and the NSCC-Marconi Boards as well as being Senior Advisor to Membertou Band, arranged for himself and EPIC founder, Barry Waldman to meet with NSCC-Marconi officials. From that meeting came the initial plan. Barry took the lead on coordinating all aspects of this much needed service.
Under EPIC supervision, the project had a stunningly successful run as a pilot from January 2009 – June 2009 with the hope that the shared benefits would lead to a sustained partnership. During this time, a brand new bus dedicated to the post-secondary students was purchased by the Eskasoni School Board. In September 2009, the Eskasoni School Board took over supervision of this joint project with the participation and partnership of NSCC-Marconi, CBU and Membertou. The bus continues to provide transportation to this date so that people from Eskasoni and Membertou can continue their educations.
In 2005, EPIC entered into a three-year partnership with the Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre (Amy MacKinnon, Director) and Heartwood Institute in the ADAPT (Asset Development, Adventure & Peer Tutoring) project. This was funded by a grant to the Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre from the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation.
the village of Bay St. Lawrence, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
photo by: Ed Warner © 06-07
Bay St. Lawrence is a rural fishing community in the Highlands of Cape Breton. The purpose of this partnership is to assist in the delivery of gambling prevention strategies for the youth of this area.
The initiative had three parts.
- The first is for the Community Centre to institute and maintain their own peer tutoring program with the guidance, assistance and support of EPIC and the Youth Peer Program. It began in 2005 under the tutelage of Amy MacKinnon. Youth volunteers travelled to several of the Youth Peer tutor training sessions in Sydney, Nova Scotia to learn how to be tutor/mentors. The program has been in place for two years with no shortage of elementary-aged clients or youth volunteers.
- The second strategy is to provide area youth with opportunities to experience the natural beauty of the world they inhabit, in new ways. Heartwood Institute is providing them with a variety of outdoor camping trips—one of them a winter excursion!
- The third component is a 3-year investing project in which EPIC provides interested youth with workshops, virtual portfolios, online help and on-going contests in how to do responsible investing.
While this project has now entered into EPIC’s past rather than current projects, we are pleased to note that the Peer Tutoring portion of this project continues at the Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre one day a week under Amy MacKinnon’s supervision.