The Carrier Sekani Family Services “Walk Tall” program is one of a handful of local programs to receive funding from civil forfeiture grants.
“Walk Tall” reaches out to aboriginal at risk youth in Prince George and Burns Lake building confidence in youth and their First Nations culture.
Carrier Sekani Family Services Executive Director Mary Teegee says the program was launched five years ago with a grant from the federal government.
“But it was only five years of funding and the funding had run out, so this money is definitely needed and I’m very excited that we were able to access these dollars from civil forfeiture.”
She says this recent $100,000 grant from the provincial government will buy them time, but not much. It should sustain them through the fiscal year.
“We are going to have to try to get more dollars for the next year and the next year after that. It’s quite a shame that we are just going year by year because the results of the youth that take part in the “Walk Tall” program are very very good.”
Teegee has seen youth completely transform thanks to the program.
“You can see them blossom and they are feeling proud to be first nations, and that they understand they can be successful. I think those things are immeasurable.”
She hopes they are able to secure some long term sustainable funding for the program. Grant writing and sponsorship funding has already begun for next year.
Carrier Sekani Tribal Services also received $25,000 to continue their Highway of Tears Awareness Project and $20,000 for community and family support along Highway 16.