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OTTAWA, Sept. 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BGC Canada (formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Canada) and the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to work towards advancing reconciliation and opportunities for partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth across the country.
Through the memorandum, both organizations commit to joint advocacy, sharing tools and training, and facilitating opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to learn from each other and work together to be drivers of reconciliation in their communities. BGC Canada and the NAFC will work together with their member-based network of local Clubs and Friendship Centres in expanding Truth and Reconciliation activities, including, but not limited to, engagement on youth capacity and employment, the rights of children, women in the economy, and summer programming.
The signing comes in advance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and responds directly to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Call to Action #66. TRC Call to Action #66 calls upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation and establish a national network to share information and best practices.
“As a previous Youth Council member in the Friendship Centre Movement, I understand firsthand the value of youth programming and the difference it makes in the lives of youth. Ahead of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the NAFC continues to support actions to recommit ourselves, governments and partners to uphold the rights of urban Indigenous children and youth across the country. This partnership will support both our Youth Councils in learning from each other to increase respect, understanding and reciprocity between urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. The NAFC and our network of Friendship Centres are on the front line with urban Indigenous Youth across the country, constantly working to build capacity, leadership and provide mentorship through youth-driven programs, job training, and related wraparound supports. We are optimistic to partner with BGC Canada to support youth and advocate for a brighter future.” – Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director, NAFC
“BGC Clubs across the country are proud to partner with the NAFC to advance reconciliation and create opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth alike. Our Clubs have committed to creating equitable spaces for Indigenous staff, children, and youth, and to ending systemic inequities faced by Indigenous communities.” – Owen Charters, President & CEO, BGC Canada
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Communications, Policy and Research Manager, NAFC
The National Association of Friendship Centres is a national network of Indigenous-owned and operated civil society, not-for-profit, and service delivery organizations across Canada. The NAFC was established in 1972 to represent a growing number of Friendship Centres at the national level. Acting as a unifying body for the Friendship Centre Movement (FCM), the NAFC represents a network of over 100 Friendship Centres and Provincial-Territorial Associations across Canada.
With the influx of Indigenous urbanization beginning in the mid-1950s, Friendship Centres emerged out of a clear need for culturally grounded services to support Indigenous newcomers to the city. With the increased demand for services for urban First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, the number of Friendship Centres increased and the nature of their programming and services expanded. With a vast majority of Canada's Indigenous population living in urban environments, Friendship Centres fill an essential gap in service provisions, as one of the few organizations directly catering to urban Indigenous needs in a status-inclusive model.
Director, Marketing & Communications, BGC Canada
For 120+ years, BGC Canada has been creating opportunities for millions of Canadian kids and teens. As Canada's largest child and youth serving charitable and community services organization, our Clubs open their doors to young people of all ages and their families at 736 locations nationwide. During out-of-school hours in small and large cities, and rural and Indigenous communities, our trained staff and volunteers provide programs and services that help young people realize positive outcomes in self-expression, academics, healthy living, physical activity, job readiness, mental wellness, social development, leadership, and more. Opportunity changes everything. Learn more at bgccan.com and follow us on social media @BGCCAN.
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