Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary has a long history of providing support for Indigenous children, youth and families and has served as a support to other Clubs across Canada for our Indigenous work and teachings.
We work to help children and youth feel connected, valued and important within their Indigenous community.
In 2015, the Indigenous Initiatives stream was developed due to the demand for need and recognition that work within the Indigenous community warranted a separate stream.
The Indigenous Initiatives stream offers two programs that assist Indigenous children, youth and their families with a variety of needs and supports Mahmawi-atoskiwin, in partnership with Enviros and Pathways Community Support Association.
Indigenous Initiatives programming provides supports in the areas of community information, resource referrals, social and emotional support, cultural connections and offer programming that can develop the confidence, self-esteem, positive sense of identity, leadership skills and knowledge necessary for youth to become healthy, integrated and self-sufficient adults.
The word Iiyika’kimaat, which means “to try hard” in Blackfoot, was gifted to the agency after consultation with elders. The Iiyika’kimaat program provides Indigenous youth, aged 12-21 years, an opportunity to reach their full potential through culturally-relevant and leadership-specific components and activities.
When is the program offered?
Programming is offered Monday – Thursday evenings.
What does this program focus on?
A key focus of the program is to encourage a youth’s sense of belonging and social inclusion from an Indigenous worldview by utilizing an asset-based approach to support the youth’s achievements, provide motivation, school engagement and positive view of their personal future. Using the Circle of Courage framework, a variety of cultural, recreational and informal mentorship opportunities are incorporated into the program with the intent to provide a positive outlet to explore their true potential. Mentorship can be one-on-one, informal, outreach or cultural and service connections.
What is the Circle of Courage model?
The Iiyika’kimaat program is based on the Circle of Courage model — belonging, generosity, mastery and independence. The program is based on a concept of the healing journey with each activity intended to support and provide aspects of resiliency, identity, self-esteem, life skills, coping skills, interaction and teachings.
Who do I contact for more information?
To learn more about the program or to sign up, please contact the Lodge at 403-620-4103
You can also join our Facebook page @Neechie_YouthGroup
Who funds this program?
The Iiyika’kimaat program is grateful for the financial support provided by United Way of Calgary and Area. Family Community Support Services (FCSS) Calgary, and various other donors, grants and individual donations.
If you are interested in making a financial donation to support Iiyika’kimaat program and Indigenous program and Indigenous youth, please visit our Donate page.
The Piitoayis Family School Connector program is offered to families and children registered with the Calgary Board of Education Piitoayis Family School. The program utilizes the Circle of Courage philosophy and the Medicine Wheel to facilitate programs with Indigenous families and children. Families connected to the Piitoayis Family School discover and reclaim the strength and wisdom that is inherent within their circle of care.
How does the program provide support?
- Providing teachers support with the inclusion of cultural influences on curriculum
- Financially support field trips as alternative ways of meeting curriculum outcomes
- Decrease participation barriers by providing transportation supports for field trips
- Resource referrals for one on one family or peer support
- Lunchtime cultural programming for students
- Monthly parent meetings
- Community connections and opportunities for family and/or child recreation
When is the program offered?
Programming is provided over the traditional school year (September – June) and all activities are intentionally planned and include the support of local elders who also participate in the program delivery.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary is honoured to receive a Community Grant from Calgary Foundation for 2019. The generous support of Calgary Foundation will positively impact the lives of Indigenous parents and families through funds provided to the Piitoayis Family Connector (PFC) program. The PFC program helps to empower and equip Indigenous parents to support their children’s success in school and bridge the gaps between schools, culture and western views of education. By using a specialized, Indigenous focus that supports child and family development in a balanced manner as well as learning through Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, Indigenous children and youth will be able to succeed and thrive in their pursuit of education.
4Rs Youth Movement
The 4Rs Youth Movement is a youth-driven initiative that was launched to transform the country by creating brave spaces to raise awareness and change the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people.