Laurier student helps develop children's programming for Indigenous outreach centre

Each year, Wilfrid Laurier University's masters of social work program sends a number of students into community organizations to give them the tools to better serve Indigenous communities.

'This will be one of the most valuable pieces of my academic journey' says student

Amy Smoke is a masters of social work Indigenous field of study candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University. (Amy Smoke)

Each year, the masters of social work Indigenous field of study program sends its students to work at a community group where they can share traditional Indigenous practices and approaches.

The program has just got underway this year, and student Amy Smoke is focusing on building programming for Indigenous children.

Smoke is currently working with Anishnabeg Outreach, a local organization that provides culturally-relevant services to Indigenous people, including employment and training services. 

This year, Amy is working with Anishnabeg Outreach to develop their new location, a drop in center for Indigenous kids.

During the university placement, students typically bring their learnings from the course — as well as their knowledge of Indigenous practices and approaches — to help make sure these local organizations are properly addressing the unique needs of KW's Indigenous community.

Aside from being able to give back to her community, she says the work is all the more meaningful to her as a parent.

"Anything in the media representing Indigenous people was always negative," she said. "So having a space where my daughter can come and learn how to pow wow dance and learn her own language and read her own books, [it's] so important that [she] have that start from the beginning."

Amy also sees value in having these conversations not just among Inidgenous people, but also in the classroom.

"This will be one of the most vaulable pieces of my academic journey," she said. "Applying my identity and my Indigeneity into a real life setting where it's important to me because I am a mother, and a community member who needs these services for my children."