Wiikwemkoong project for community greenhouse receives $50,000 Aviva grant

Community celebrates achievement

WIIKWEMKOONG—Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth, on behalf of a partnership between the Wikwemikong Employment office and Wikwemikong High School, has been named the winner of $50,000 in funding from the Aviva Community Fund to build a greenhouse.

“Wikwemikong Greenhouse for Change is an Aviva Community Fund grand prize winner this year and will receive $50,000 in funding,” confirmed Priscilla Wong, public relations specialist with Aviva.

“Congratulations to all the grand prize winners and all of the amazing finalists this year,”  commented Debora Hendrickson, senior vice president of Aviva Canada in a press release. “Supporting and caring for Canadians in making positive sustainable change in their communities will always be our belief at Aviva. What a privilege it’s been to be able to run another year of this competition, bringing our donation total to $8.5 million over the past nine years. We’re continually inspired by the commitment and engagement of Canadians from coast-to-coast.”

The Aviva Community Fund winners in the various divisions were announced yesterday, with Wiikwemkoong hosting a community-wide celebration.

As The Expositor previously reported this fall, Wikwemikong Greenhouse for Change was named a finalist for the Aviva Community Fund.

Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth is an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people. The organization meets with communities and look at their needs and projects that haven’t been accomplished due to a lack of resources and helps them find funding to bring projects to fruition.

The Wikwemikong Greenhouse for Change project will support educational goals for students in the community ages 14 to 19, while creating a community-led sustainable food source.

The greenhouse will be built by Wikwemikong High School students in the construction/tech program, earning the participating students credits.

“Once constructed, this greenhouse will provide the Wikwemikong High School the opportunity to launch an innovative green industries agricultural program that teaches students the benefits and challenges of creating a community-led sustainable food source,” the project explains. “The program intends to open enrollment for fall 2018. The capacity of the community will be further enhanced through the efforts of the employment office, by ensuring the greenhouse can be utilized free of charge by all community members.”

For more information about the project, visit www.focusforwardfly.org or for the full list of finalists, visit www.avivacommunityfund.org.