Thunder Bay, ON, December 11, 2012 - The Thunder Bay Urban Aboriginal Strategy (TBUAS) is looking for solutions to improve the future of Aboriginal people in Thunder Bay. Two special community gatherings are taking place in Thunder Bay this week, to get the community’s input on the future of Aboriginal families and children in the city.
The TBUAS was launched back in 2003, at which point a community plan was developed to identify key factors contributing to the poverty levels of Aboriginal families and children. Strategy Planner Frances Wesley says; “Our community plan has not been updated since 2007, and it is time to reaffirm our priorities. The grass-roots community developed TBUAS, so we want them to help us move forward as well. We want to hear solutions from Aboriginal families to further advance our goals.”
Key priorities identified in the previous plan included the need to strengthen community capacity by engaging Aboriginal families to gain leadership and organizational skills, so that they can do their own planning and identify needs within their neighbourhoods. Wesley continues; “I have heard mothers, sisters, sons and fathers, tell me that they want to see change in their neighbourhood. We know there are problems; we aren’t going to gloss that over or say we can fix it. We want the people that live in these neighbourhoods to come up with innovative communitybased solutions and TBUAS can help implement them. It really takes just one person to change a neighbourhood.”
The Community Forum titled “The Next Chapter” will be held December 12, 2012, at the Italian Cultural Centre from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. A special gathering will be held just for youth on December 13. Both events are being facilitated by Stan Wesley.
One of the most recent strategies of the TBUAS was the development of five working Action Circles to address issues on an individual and more focused basis. Action Circles have been developed for Employment and Training, Housing, Justice, and Access to Social Services, while community youth and elders also guide the work of the TBUAS. Members from the circles will be in attendance at the community forum to share what they have learned.
Continues Wesley; “TBUAS has become an example across the country with many other communities following in our footsteps. TBUAS is committed to making progress in the City and I truly believe this starts with our young people.”
TBUAS also plans on holding several focus groups in neighbourhoods throughout the community. For further information, please visit: www.uasthunderbay.ca.
Media are invited to attend the Community Forum on December 12, 2012, at the Italian Cultural Centre. It is recommended by the organizers to arrive at 9:30 a.m. for the opening ceremony and interview/photo opportunities.
T- (807) 767-4443 Ext#223