Andrea Dufour, Nutrition intern with the Breakfast Club:
During the first week of June, I had the chance to participate in my second mini-school on health. It was a project established by Dr. Stanley Vollant, the first Native Canadian surgeon, with the collaboration of the Université de Montréal. For the first time since the project’s creation, approximately forty students from different health education programs spent a week visiting the Innus Communities of the North Shore. The trip objective was simple : motivate the young Natives to reach their dreams and maybe consider a career in the health industry.
The students from our team came from the fields of social work, dentistry, physiotherapy, kinesiology, nursing, nutrition and medicine. The Med students offered some prevention workshops on mental health, sexual health and drug addiction. Students in the non-medical field had playful kiosks for the pupils to discover their professions.
Throughout the week, we traveled and visited Natashquan, Mingan, Uashat, Mani-utenam and Pessamit’s elementary schools and high schools. Each village welcomed us with open arms taking the time to share and explain their culture. We had the chance to taste delicious traditional meals prepared by the community’s women. We also met an elder who told us stories and legends of her people.
For me, it was a memorable experience that totally immersed me in the Innue culture. I met incredible people: school principals, teachers as well as community members that were devoted to give their children a chance to succeed in their studies. Our encounters with the children were rewarding and we felt they had a great interest toward our workshops. We left these encounters with the feeling that we truly motivated them to pursue their dreams.
It was simply an unforgettable week!