Project Title: An Action Plan for Inclusion: Cultivating Community, Learning, and Culturally Safe Spaces for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants at Strive
Hello! My name is Tait Gamble. I am a proud older sister, writer, and settler scholar, of English, Irish and German descent. I am from Toronto, the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Since September 2018, I have been living in what is sometimes called Vancouver – the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. I feel privileged to call this place home, and feel grateful for the opportunity to have grown – personally, professionally, and academically on these lands.
Practicum is a really special, practical (please excuse the pun) opportunity for FNIS students to truly apply what we’ve learned throughout our degrees – from historical contexts, approaches to ethical engagement, as well as Indigenous methodologies.
For my placement, I had the privilege of being paired with YWCA Strive, a paid employability and life-skills program based in the Lower Mainland for youth aged 17-24 who are ‘aging out’ of the government care system. Strive proposed a research project that asked two questions:
How might Strive’s internal programming shift to be more inclusive and effective for Indigenous youth, and better meet the needs of Indigenous and non-Indigenous cohorts as a whole?
And, how have other service providers, nationally and internationally, developed culturally-inclusive programming to serve the needs of Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants in the same cohort?
In my project, I conducted a literature review, survey and roundtable. By prioritizing the voices of Strive’s former participants at the centre of my work, I strove (please excuse the pun, again) to answer these questions in an Action Plan for Inclusion.
I am proud of my final deliverable, but I am most proud of the connections I made with roundtable participants, my supervisors at Strive, Marjan Beikzadeh and Josh Hardwick, and the ways that my practicum peers held each other up on our practicum journeys. As students, we can get so caught up in grades and deadlines, and I am grateful to practicum for showing me that it’s the people we meet and how we build relationships that is the most important – and long lasting – part of our work.