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Giving northern youth a different experience

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Linda Adolphe’s Transcona home recently gained a little northern exposure — and she and her family couldn’t be happier.


Adolphe, along with her husband Chris Reutlinger and daughter Jenessa, opened their home to Loretta Kadlutsiak, who arrived from Hall Beach, Nunavut as part of the Northern Youth Abroad program for a five-week stay.


NYA was founded in 1998 and is a non-profit organization that allows youth between the ages 15 and 22 who live in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to receive professional skills and training, hands-on work experience, and high school credits throughout Canada and abroad.


The national program currently has 35 participants across Canada, and eight in Botswana, Africa. Participants must take part in a Canadian placement before participating in the international portion of the program.


This is the second consecutive year Adolphe and her family have opened their doors to northern youth.


Last year two students stayed for five weeks, while Kadlutsiak is currently in her third week with the family.


Adolphe said she first heard about the program when it was being promoted through her employer, Manitoba Hydro, and thought it would be great to get involved.


"I used to be a foster parent so I enjoy having students or other kids in my house, and it happens that Loretta is a foster kid," Adolphe said.


"Last year we had such a strong connection and it was great. We’re still getting connected with Loretta, but it’s great."


Adolphe will help expose Kadlutsiak to Winnipeg’s sites and sounds. Her young guest will also gain work experience at Alpine Animal Hospital located in Elmwood.


Kadlutsiak, 18, said her experience in the city has been nothing but positive so far.


"It’s interesting to take part in this program," she said, adding this is her first time visiting Winnipeg. "My time here has been great so far."


Rebecca Bisson, program director for NYA, said the program is a unique opportunity for youth.
"Participants experience something different where they have to be independent and share their own culture, and learn about another," Bisson said.


"The main benefit is our participants, but the flip side is we get to have a lot of intercultural exchange between the two territories, which doesn’t happen as much since division."


Adolphe said she anticipates taking part in the program for years to come.


"It’s very neat and I like it because we’ve learned so much about another culture, and how some things are different up north," she said.

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adrian.alleyne@canstarnews.com

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