On Thursday, March 8, 2018, Heather McKay (pictured above), a longstanding volunteer in Level’s Calgary Indigenous Youth Outreach Program (IYOP), generously hosted a fundraising event for Level.
The event was attended by 30 members of Calgary’s legal, business and arts communities, and featured a presentation by Blackfoot Elder Randy Bottle, who smudged and led a teaching on sweetgrass and the importance of connecting with community. Guests were then provided with an overview of Level’s mission and our efforts to empower Indigenous youth throughout Canada through specialized justice education activities. Lisa Del Col, Level’s Director of Programs, shared powerful stories about the impact of the program on both the youth and volunteer mentors. She also shared her own personal experiences growing up disconnected from her culture due to the lasting impacts of colonialism and racism, and how IYOP is so valuable because it transcends barriers and instills hope and pride in Indigenous youth.
Randy Bottle was also joined by Cindy Provost, Indigenous Strategic Engagement Officer with the Calgary Police. Randy and Cindy reflected on the importance and the impacts of IYOP in Calgary, with Cindy drawing on her personal path from the Piikani First Nation to being appointed as the first Indigenous female police constable with the Calgary Police. Both Randy and Cindy expressed confidence that Level is helping to empower youth participants to become the next generation of leaders.
It was truly an inspiring event, which raised almost $8,000 in support of Level’s Indigenous Youth Outreach Program. Level would like to thank the guests for their incredible support. In addition, we would like to thank James Hankinson, IYOP’s Program Leader in Siksika First Nation, for volunteering at the event. Finally, we are incredibly grateful to Heather McKay for her generosity and unending support of Level!
Level's Director of Programs, Lisa Del Col, addresses the guests at the event.
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