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14 Yukon First Nations students to graduate from family support worker program

Fourteen Yukon First Nations people are set to graduate on Friday from the first Yukon First Nations Family Support Worker Training Program.

The free program started in January 2020

Participants of the Yukon First Nations Family Support Worker Training Program pictured in Whitehorse on Jan. 27, 2020. (Steve Silva/CBC)

Fourteen Yukon First Nations people are set to graduate on Friday from the first Yukon First Nations Family Support Worker Training Program.

"I feel quite privileged to have been able to take part in this program, and I believe my classmates feel the same," said Lauren McGinty, a member of Selkirk First Nation.

The free program, which was developed as a pilot project by both Camosun College and the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), started in January 2020 with 18 students.

It included lessons on cultural competency, history, and other topics, with the aim of improving quality of care.

"The most valuable takeaway and part of the program, I think, for myself has been the opportunity to really explore who I am as a young Indigenous woman in a Yukon First Nations community," McGinty said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

A screenshot of a live-streamed news conference with speakers Norma Shorty (left), Shadelle Chambers (centre), and Lauren McGinty on March 9. (Steve Silva/CBC)

She said she also saw value in learning the history of Yukon First Nations, colonization, and residential schools.

"We see this initiative as a really important component in building Yukon First Nations' capacity in family and children services, and child welfare area," said Shadelle Chambers, executive director of CYFN.

"We are currently going through an evaluation component for the pilot project, and we'll really consider whether or not we offer it again in the near future."

The program was supposed to last 10 months but that was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to organizers.

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