This post was provided by Lance Morrison at Indspire, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
Contrary to popular belief, Canadian Indigenous students are not guaranteed funding for post-secondary education. And as they tell us, lack of financial resources is their primary barrier to completing their education. That’s where Indspire comes in, providing bursaries and scholarships to First Nation, Inuit, and Métis post-secondary students, so they can achieve their full potential and live their dreams.
The path to post-secondary begins in high school, so we also reach out to youth while they are in grades 9 to 12, showing them the exciting options that are open to them if they complete their diploma.
One way we do this is through our Soaring: Indigenous Youth Career Conferences – free, one-day conferences held in cities across the country.
Hundreds of high school students – some even travelling from remote communities and neighbouring provinces – attend career workshops and meet reps from dozens of universities, colleges, and employers. We know that attending a Soaring conference can change a student’s life because they tell us it does: some students never believed they would fit in at university until they came to Soaring and met reps from on-campus Indigenous student centres. Or that they would never have considered pursuing further education or training if it wasn’t for Soaring, as they simply never saw such a path in their future.
Letters of Gratitude
One of my favourite parts of my job is reading the thank-you emails and letters we receive each and every day from the students that Indspire supports. In fact, we have hundreds of them from students who tell us about the impact their Indspire bursary or scholarship has made on their lives. Some of them are the first in their community to go on to post-secondary education or even the first in their family to graduate from high school. Each letter represents an incredible journey of hard work and resilience, and it’s always moving to read them.
Last week, a young woman wrote to us to tell us how, as a child, she learned Mohawk from her grandmother and felt so passionately about the language that she took it upon herself to convince her elementary school to play O Canada in Mohawk each week. As she grew older, she discovered her love of learning new languages, and now at 18, she has ventured on to university to study linguistics and political science with funding from Indspire.
We also received an email from a Canadian Forces veteran in her forties who received an honourable discharge following serious injury while on duty as a combat medic. After learning to walk again, she decided to go back to university, but shortly after she was forced to care for her infant niece whose mother committed suicide. She couldn’t get post-secondary funding from her band and thought she would have to postpone her schooling. But with support from Indspire, she was able to make her dream a reality. Today, she has earned her Master’s degree and her niece is a happy and healthy seven year-old.
Multiply these two stories by hundreds, and you’ll see why we are constantly amazed, humbled, and feel unbelievably lucky to work at Indspire.
The support we receive from generous individuals allows us to help Indigenous students across Canada pursue their dreams and professional goals.
With your help, Indspire can change a lot of lives: inspiring students to stay in high school, showing them all the great opportunities that wait for them in post-secondary, and giving them the funding they need to get there.
To learn more about Indspire, please visit their charity profile page >>