The local campus of the College of New Caledonia has received a grant to look at programs for the disenfranchised in the community.
The grant will be implemented by a partnership between CNC, Nak’azdli Health Centre, Nak’azdli Alternate Justice Centre, the District of Fort St. James and the United Way and is a five-week pilot project to develop programs to help marginalized people in the community.
Initially, the grant will provide $7,000 to help hire coordinators who can then hold meetings with some of the target population, service groups in the community and other stakeholders.
The research the grant funds will then be used to develop a community plan for longer-term programs to help marginalized people in the community, some who may be struggling with addictions or mental health issues.
Ann McCormick, campus supervisor for the local CNC, said the grant is coming at a good time for the community, when some marginalized members of the community are in the forefront.
She said the grant was partially inspired by a group of students who went through the CNC Adult Training Program last year, many of whom were from marginalized groups.
“We saw the difference that it made,” she said. McCormick described the improvements in each student’s self esteem.
She said the grant would look to existing programs within the community and see how they could be added to or what else might help, starting with asking the people they are trying to help.
“We need to ask them what it is they need from us,” she said.
Should the group be selected for the final stage of the grant, it would provide funding for two years for a program.
“We can see this might be a catalyst to something else,” she said.