Media Mentorship Program for Indigenous Youth
by Crystal Lavallee, Associate Producer of First Peoples Voices
Two years ago, Crossroads pioneered an exciting media mentorship program for Indigenous youth, the David Mainse – Bill Prankard Extreme Media Mission Scholarship. The goal was and is, to give high school students living on reserves a positive cross-cultural experience. The youth stay with staff, and enjoy special trips to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and Niagara Falls interspersed during their training.
Life on the reserve is not easy –youth find themselves trapped in negative cycles and weighed down by hopelessness. This year they told us that they faced persecution, and still do, for following Jesus.
Why the media mentorship program?
While on location at the Crossroads studio in Burlington, the youth are immersed in a fun-loving, safe environment where they absorb what our team of hosts, producers, and talent have to give. Their faces come alive at the mentorship moments – God didn’t make a mistake when He created them – is what one of our staff hit home while with them. After a full week, here is what Jelina had to say:
“Before coming here I wasn’t motivated to finish school. But now I know what my life could look like and I am excited to finish school!” – Age 15.
This year we partnered with Halton Hills Christian School in Georgetown, Ontario, where the girls boldly shared their stories. Lacey went to school off-reserve and experienced racism for being Indigenous. She had to drop out for a month to heal. Elena wanted the students to know that not all Indigenous people are dropping out. She confidently declared that she will finish school – it was SO powerful.
The entire week felt like a divine moment after moment, where God ignited so much into their hearts.
To date, 7 students from Alberta and Saskatchewan, have participated in a week-long mentorship and media training.
When students return to their communities, we set up a Zoom meeting to continue discipling the girls each month, until they graduate. We want to ensure they finish strong!
Personally, I am thankful we serve a creative God, who gives us ideas on how to be solutions to problems. I am also thankful for generous donors (YOU reading this) who support the on-going initiatives of First Peoples Voices. We truly are impacting lives and restoring honour to Indigenous across this land of Canada. Thank you.