Recently I made an announcement with Premier Selinger about the investments our government is making in young Manitobans by providing mentorship opportunities to help them succeed in their future careers.
I could not have been more proud that the students in the program highlighted came from Children of the Earth High School (COTE), right here in Point Douglas.
We made the announcement at the Pan Am Clinic, where the Medical Career Exploration Program’s third class of students will graduate this year. According to Pan Am chief executive officer Dr. Wayne Hildahl, the goal of the program is to "promote meaningful student exposure to a variety of medical disciplines through mentorship," with placements at the Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital.
This program recognizes how important it is to engage youth and provide them with role models so they can take their positive experiences back into their schools and communities.
It was exciting to hear from the students themselves. Colten Pratt, a Grade 12 COTE student, explained what a great experience the program has been for him — how he has built up his confidence and now wants to be a paramedic. This is one example of how our many talented young people just need the right opportunity to put them on a path to realizing their full potential.
I have often told the story of how, when I was seven years old, I saw an aboriginal bus driver and realized that I could be a bus driver, too. I have always said it is irresponsible of us to ask young people to overcome barriers without providing them with role models to show it can be done. What wonderful role models these students will be for their younger brothers and sisters in our community.
Mentorship programs offer a wide range of supports during school and after-school hours, including career counselling, hands-on work experience and help with planning for post-secondary education. These investments will create opportunities for thousands of young Manitobans to gain the experience and skills that will help prepare them for their careers.
Kevin Chief is the MLA for Point Douglas.