Michael Furdyk & Jennifer Corriero, Co-founders
Happy New Year!
We hope you’re enjoying the start of 2019. In reflecting on our growth over the past year, we are excited to share a few highlights featuring some of our programs and initiatives:
1. We expanded our presence across Canada with staff in every province and territory, including offices with multiple staff in Vancouver (Lu’ma Native Housing), Whitehorse (with BYTE), Yellowknife (Cloudworks), Saskatoon (English River First Nation), and Montreal (Spaces)!
2. We supported youth media makers across the globe, recruiting community advisors for Adobe’s Project 1324. In 2019, we’ll offer more than $250,000 in grants for youth media organizations to support project collaboration, access to hardware, and donations of Adobe Creative Cloud.
3. We distributed more than 1,000 grants totalling over $1 million through our #RisingYouth Community Service grants funded by Canada Service Corps. We are also proud to support a national coalition of 14 partners working to foster a culture of youth service across Canada. More than 65% of grants were distributed to under-represented youth!
4. We welcomed the Hockey Hall of Fame, Scotiabank, and Arts Umbrella as new Connected North content providers, bringing their expertise to classrooms in Canada’s most remote communities in response to curriculum needs. Founded by Cisco, the program reaches nearly 10,000 students in 41 of Canada’s most remote schools.
5. We provided young Indigenous leaders from more than 30 communities with laptops, drones, and 360 cameras as part of our Create to Learn initiative funded by CanCode, providing them with training and mentorship to foster digital storytelling skills to share their culture and language with their communities and the world.
6. We launched Whose.land with Canadian Roots Exchange and BOLD Realities to showcase traditional territories, treaties, and foster connections and understanding through digital content created by communities. Also available in the iOS and Android app stores, Whose.land will feature content from the Create to Learn program.
7. We hosted the #LeadersToday Global Youth Service Summit, bringing together over 150 youth, organizations and government leaders to discuss the future of youth service in Canada drawing on national and global examples. Discussions and outputs will inform the future of the Canada Service Corps program.
8. We invested in a partnership with Manitobah Mukluks and Pendleton to produce the Grandmother Story Blanket through our Connected North Youth Leadership Fund. Proceeds will be shared between the artist, Nyle Miigizi Johnston, and the fund.
9. We published Three Sisters Soup for the Spirit, a collection of stories from First Nations, Metis and Inuit Women. The book aims to inspire youth in overcoming challenges with themes around passion, independent voice, and joy.
10. We shared our learning and collaboration platform with partners, including Ocean Wise, REEL Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Deaf Culture Centre, and EQWIP HUBs. In 2019 we’ll launch a new employment platform for youth and adults in Djibouti with the Education Development Center.
11. We published a visually compelling Wish book based on a collection of wishes Canadians shared at over 20 arts exhibitions and community gatherings we organized in 2017.
12. We developed an online learning resource with Katimavik to deliver their Leaders in Truth and Reconciliation learning journey for youth participants in their programming based on modules including colonization and treaties, Indigenous knowledge, and reconciliation in action.
13. We facilitated 50 grants totalling more than $200,000 for cultural production, travel, and leadership experiences with the Connected North Youth Leadership Fund supported by the Samuel Family Foundation. Activities included the Leaders in Training conference in Inuvik led by BYTE.
14. We explored themes of inclusion and connectedness through the Supporting the Whole Student workshop in Montreal led by the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, which we helped to incubate over the last year and is now an independent organization.
15. We released MicroWorlds free of charge to Canadians through Code to Learn, a CanCode-funded initiative in partnership with LCSI. Co-founded by the late MIT Professor Emeritus Seymour Papert, MicroWorlds Jr. and EX help students of all ages foster computational thinking skills. A simultaneous launch weekend in Iqaluit, Vancouver, Sioux Lookout, Montreal and Toronto brought together 100+ educator champions to bring the program into their schools.
16. We sponsored the Banff Forum, held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, enabling the participation of several Indigenous youth from across the country. This year’s theme of Canada in the World 2.0 included a focus on the question What can be done to enable vibrant communities in the North?
17. We connected students from around the world through #Decarbonize #Decolonize, a world-wide synthesis of youth research, recommended policy & action on Climate Change. Over 50 students and educators attended COP24 in Poland, showcasing their collaborative report and reflecting on the continued impact of colonization and repercussions on climate change. This was one of several Global Encounters co-organized with the Centre for Global Education.
18. We organized a community gathering across 8 locations simultaneously, bringing together 50 Indigenous artists and community leaders together, and launching a song and music video, “Victory Dance”, with artist Joey Stylez promoting the power of creativity. The song was performed live as part of CBC’s New Years Eve countdown.
To all of our supporters, partners, and friends: thank you for your continued collaboration as we work together on these important journeys. We look forward to growing our collaboration in 2018 and beyond!