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.
In addition to Youth Peer (on-going since 1998), Parents PEACE (on-going since 2005), and Breakthrough (on-going since 2011), the special projects summarized below were EPIC accomplishments during 2005 – 2013.
See EPIC’s Past Projects 1997 – 2006
See EPIC’s Current Projects
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.
Eskasoni Elder Safety
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 Society, 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 Eskasoni Elder Society.
Give Right Back
Give Right Back began in 2008, under the supervision of Brian Dwyer, as an adjunct project of the Youth Peer Program. Selected student participants were invited to volunteer for community service activities such as helping out at the SPCA, Two Rivers Wild Life Park, seniors BINGO, Special Olympics and the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. After volunteering for an agreed upon period–usually ten hours–the students were presented with a certificate for community service. The project helped participants gain self-confidence, a broader awareness of their community, and a sense of their own potential for helping others.
Eskasoni Peer Math Tutoring
Beginning in 2007, EPIC partnered with the Eskasoni School Board to bring Youth Peer-style math tutoring to the students of Eskasoni.
With funding from the Eskasoni School Board, teacher and current Principal of the Alison Bernard Memorial High School, Newell Johnson—who had been tutoring students after school on a volunteer basis for several years—supervised Eskasoni high school volunteers as they tutored junior high students in math.
EPIC provided financial management of this project as well as tutor education and on-going support and supervision. In 2012, the program’s administration was assumed by the Eskasoni School Board.
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.
EPIC is proud to have spearheaded the development of the Aboriginal EMPATHIC Program in partnership with the Eskasoni School Board—one of the longest established and most successful First Nations-operated school boards in Canada. It is an aboriginally-adapted version of the internationally studied, well-researched, highly rated and proven social-emotional curriculum, PATHS–Education Worldwide (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies).
EMPATHIC—Emotional Maturity, Problem-solving, Awareness Targeting Higher Impulse Control—teaches children about emotions—how to recognize and name them in themselves and others and what to do with their emotions once they’ve learned to identify them.
This project was developed, piloted, and evaluated at the Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School beginning in 2003, as a three-year national demonstration project supported by Canada’s National Crime Prevention Centre. The overall purpose was to develop a curriculum that addressed school problems related to low impulse control, anti-social behaviors, bullying, weak attachment to school and incidents of violence. Over the years of this funding, the Eskasoni School Board—with EPIC’s editorial, financial and organizational support—developed and began implementation of this new curriculum in Eskasoni Elementary School.
Learn much more about EMPATHIC.