Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have had to pivot their educational programs to continue providing learning opportunities in a safe manner.
At Lethbridge College, it’s not just classes that have moved online. The Indigenous Service’s department offers out-of-class programming to connect its students through the Cultural Support program.
Lowell Yellowhorn, the Indigenous student support coordinator at college, says starting up the online sessions has allowed them to continue making important connections.
“We provide four elders from the surrounding community for access to our students.”
The college’s fireside chats are held each Monday at noon, where a prayer and virtual smudging starts the hour-long session, and on Thursday evenings for traditional cultural teachings.
“It serves as almost a mental health support capacity because the elders bring a lot of experience and understanding, and just that genuine approach to want to help,” he said.
Yellowhorn says some sessions see very little attendance, adding it would be great to see more students take advantage of the experience.
Starting next month, the college will be host to three virtual RBC Indigenous Mentorship Nights, inviting current students to engage in conversation with Indigenous alumni.
Yellowhorn says the hope is to spark dialogue between new and old students, to touch on the challenges and opportunities they came across when obtaining their post-secondary educations.
“It’s (not) only a celebration of our alumni, but it’s also an opportunity for our students to look at what a successful Lethbridge College graduate has been able to accomplish.”