From Cape Breton to Prince Rupert, AYEP students are thinking outside the box.
The result of our program is reflected in the students’ work. Take, for example, the students who built mini-homes and redesigned bus shelters with community craftspeople. There are students who used natural ingredients to create marketable skincare products. And students who presented business proposals for an Indigenous-themed tour company, a traditional cleansing kit, a mental healthcare facility, and more. One graduate of AYEP now sells her beadwork online.
AYEP students take what they learn and turn it into a viable business plan and, as a result, build lasting confidence and determination.
Beyond the development of business plans, educators witness an increase in the self-confidence in their students. Through a variety of public speaking activities, teachers watch students break out of their shell. Students build comradery in the classroom and grow to realize how many people care about them. Some students even share that AYEP is the reason they stay in school.
“We are so proud!”
- School administrators value how AYEP can meet the needs of Indigenous learners and know they can turn to the MFI Coordinators for support.
- Educators embrace the comprehensive curriculum materials provided by AYEP. Students and teachers alike appreciate the ‘hands-on’ activities and field trips embedded in the courses.
- Mentors and guest speakers speak highly of AYEP as they encourage and praise the students.
- Local businesspeople share an excitement that AYEP exists in their community.
An extraordinary student won the Young Entrepreneurs Make Your Pitch Competition in Toronto. Out of 204 video applications from across Ontario, she was one of 20 students invited to the Ontario Centres of Excellence Conference to pitch a registered massage business that would incorporate traditional Ojibway healing practices, including smudging, prayers, culture, and music. The motivation behind her idea was the desire to stay close to her culture. The judges were so moved by the sincerity of her presentation and the strength of her idea that she returned home with her business plan in one hand – and a trophy in the other.
Measuring the impact of the AYEP courses is critical. The program is closely supported by MFI Coordinators; success is determined through both quantitative and qualitative measures.
High school student
I really like that the work we did connected with First Nations people and their success stories. It helped me believe that I would be able to get through this class and become successful.
High school student
AYEP allows us to have a space that is our own, and to be leaders in our school and community.
Mentor and Business Owner
AYEP gives students an opportunity to realize their ideas are important, that they are important. And that they can contribute. They are going to contribute to the overall economic outlook within our country.
AYEP allows students to check in with themselves: where they are at and where they want to be. In small and large ways, they begin to create their own destiny.