En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial At­lantic cham­pi­ons

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE -

By help­ing peo­ple achieve suc­cess and sus­tain­abil­ity in food, fi­nance and em­ploy­ment, En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial is find­ing its own suc­cess.

The group — which won the En­ac­tus World Cup last year — left Hal­i­fax the other week­end as At­lantic cham­pi­ons in three com­pe­ti­tions of the En­ac­tus Canada re­gional tour­na­ment.

The chap­ter will com­pete against other re­gional cham­pi­ons in the Cap­i­tal One Fi­nan­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Chal­lenge, the Sco­tia­bank Eco­l­iv­ing Green Chal­lenge and the TD En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge at the na­tional En­ac­tus tour­na­ment in Van­cou­ver in May.

Here’s a look at the work that made them cham­pi­ons:

1. Grow­ing food sus­tain­abil­ity with Project Suc­seed

The one with the widest reach is Project Suc­seed, which helps peo­ple in com­mu­ni­ties from Nu­navut and Labrador — where fresh, af­ford­able food is hard to come by — grow pro­duce year­round.

“Suc­seed is a self-sus­tain­ing so­cial en­ter­prise where we em­ploy at-risk youth here in St. John’s, New­found­land to build en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly hy­dro­ponic sys­tems, which are then used in north­ern com­mu­ni­ties to elim­i­nate food in­se­cu­rity,” ex­plains Emily Bland of En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial.

A year and a half since it was es­tab­lished, the project now has co-op­er­a­tives in 13 north­ern com­mu­ni­ties from Rigo­let, Labrador to Arviat, Nu­navut.

“The dif­fer­ence that we’ve seen in a lot of the com­mu­ni­ties that we’re work­ing in is quite in­cred­i­ble,” Bland said.

“It’s just this whole move­ment of see­ing Cana­di­ans stand up and want to be a part of a pro­gram that (tack­les) an is­sue that has plagued us for so long.

“We’re grow­ing food in outer space now, but some­how North­ern Canada is get­ting left out and peo­ple aren’t fo­cus­ing on it. But we’ve seen so much sup­port from peo­ple in the com­mu­nity here in St. John’s, but also in com­mu­ni­ties across Canada that want to be part of the so­lu­tion. They want to be a part of en­sur­ing that North­ern Cana­di­ans have con­sis­tent ac­cess to fresh, af­ford­able food.”

Bland said the project has grown from 14 sys­tems a year ago to 452 now, and the project is about to ex­pe­ri­ence another sig­nif­i­cant growth spurt.

“We want th­ese sys­tems across North­ern Canada. So for right now, our prime fo­cus is Nu­navut and Labrador. We want to be, by the year end, in the Northwest Ter­ri­to­ries and Yukon, and have even more sys­tems up there op­er­at­ing.

“In ad­di­tion to that, we’re start­ing to look in­ter­na­tional now so we’ve been reached out to by five dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions glob­ally from In­dia, china, Rus­sia to Aus­tralia of peo­ple want­ing to repli­cate the pro­gram that we’re do­ing. Soon, Suc­seed will be go­ing in­ter­na­tional, which is quite ex­cit­ing be­cause it’s only been around for a year and a half.”

2. Build­ing re­tail skills with Your Turn Bou­tique

Part­ner­ing with Choices for Youth, En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial re­cently opened a used cloth­ing store in down­town St. John’s with a goal of pre­par­ing at-risk youth for work in the re­tail in­dus­try.

“We em­ploy at-risk youth to go through a 10-week train­ing pro­gram on ba­sic re­tail skills, and hope that once they fin­ish this pro­gram they’ll have a base to be able to get some type of re­tail job,” Bland said.

Like Project Suc­seed, the newly launched bou­tique has gained a lot of sup­port from the com­mu­nity.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to see the com­mu­nity get on board and to come in and speak to the youth and to help them out, but the youth are so ex­cited about it and they want to get in­volved and they want to tran­si­tion to full time work so it’s ex­cit­ing to see them be just as ex­cited about the project as we are,” Bland said.

3. Pro­mot­ing fi­nan­cial to at-risk youth

En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial is work­ing with Sco­tia­bank and Choices for Youth to de­velop a fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy pro­gram aimed to­ward at-risk youth.

“It will be a 14-mod­ule pro­gram where at-risk youth get the op­por­tu­nity to gain knowl­edge and skills in fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy — ev­ery­thing from be­ing aware of credit to how to set up bank ac­counts to ba­sic sav­ings and ba­sic bank­ing,” said Bland.

“Once th­ese youth go through the pro­gram and they com­plete the re­quired mod­ules we ac­tu­ally throw kind of a grad­u­a­tion day. Many of th­ese youths never had the op­por­tu­nity to grad­u­ate high school, so we do an En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial cer­tifi­cate of fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy so they walk across the stage, they get to dress up, do the whole sup­per kind of thing and give them kind of a grad ex­pe­ri­ence.” lit­er­acy

PHOTO BY LOUIS POWER

Emily Bland of En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial poses with one of the first hy­dro­ponic sys­tems cre­ated for Project Suc­seed.

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