Not long ago, the career paths at Indian Brook First Nations tended to be limited.
That’s now changing, thanks to collaboration between NSCC and the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office.
Chief Rufus Copage has seen the transformation firsthand.
“I see a lot of pride in a lot of our people,” he says. Copage knows a female graduate who hopes to become a Correctional Services guard and others who hope to land jobs at the shipyard.
Copage is talking about a new pre-employment program, where participants learn crucial job-hunting skills and complete an eight-week work term.
Indian Brook is one of six First Nations communities in Nova Scotia to offer the program. For some, it has opened up a whole new world.
Bernadette Syliboy had just come through the most difficult period of her life when she walked through the doors.
Taking part in the program cemented her desire to counsel other recovering addicts. Bernadette did her work term at the Indian Brook Community Centre, where the program is offered.
Along with clerical duties, Bernadette counselled some troubled students.
“There were a few that wanted to quit and just say ‘the heck with it.’ But I talked them out of that. There were even a couple of students that weren’t getting along and I kind of brought them together.”
Today Bernadette says she loves life again and wants everyone else to feel the same happiness. She's now working in the community as a counselling assistant at Eagle's Nest Recovery House.
Simon Francis is a second cousin who says Bernadette’s compassion transcends family ties. He remembers her kindness during his time in NSCC’s Academic and Career Connections program at Indian Brook.
“It was good to see that beautiful smile in the morning. It really got us going, especially when we felt down and out.”