On September 30th, we set out to raise awareness Orange Shirt Day, and donated more than $500 to their cause, from two of our campuses in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
Representatives from more than 20 local bands – including Katzie First Nation, Seabird Island Band, Sumas First Nation, and more – attended the event in Abbotsford and each band was awarded a scholarship to Vancouver Career College, in their program of choice, at either the Abbotsford or Chilliwack campus.
Chief Elaine Malloway, of Yakweakwioose First Nation, spoke and presented these special scholarships to her fellow band members.
“We were so lucky to have representation from our local bands,” says Cassandra Fyfe, campus director at Vancouver Career College. “Seabird Island Band was extremely helpful in getting us drummers, singers, and customary blankets for the commemorative walk.”
Abbotsford campus had over 150 people participate in their commemorative walk and drumming, feast on bannock and barbeque, and enjoy the interactive art exhibit, featuring prominent Elder and residential school survivor, Beatrice Elaine Silver.
Beatrice Silver made an appearance around noon and completed a book signing for anyone who brought copies of her book.
“Students were very impressed by Beatrice Silver. She stayed almost an hour and answered many of their questions about being a residential school survivor and the struggles she overcame,” says Fyfe.
In Chilliwack, our students opted to have a student-led barbeque for the community in support of Orange Shirt Day. Two members of the Chilliwack Chiefs’ hockey team, Xavier Henry and Jack Angew, made an appearance and volunteered their time at the grill – barbequing hamburgers for hungry students, staff, and guests.
Through the purchase of Orange Shirt Day T-shirts and bracelets, the campuses raised $574, which will all be donated to the Orange Shirt Society.
The Orange Shirt Society is a non-profit organization based in Williams Lake, BC. Established in 2013, the Orange Shirt Society supports Indian Residential School Reconciliation, creates awareness to individual, family, and inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and fosters the belief that “every child matters”. Learn more about the Orange Shirt Society here.