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Eliminating barriers, helping youth in Canada’s north

July 18, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Jeremy Marshall and King’s Breanna Capobianco are hosting a golf tournament at Nobleton Lakes to support their hockey program that benefits Inuit youth.


By Mark Pavilons

A King native has travelled a very long way to help improve the lives of indigenous youth.
Breanna Capobianco is making a difference and she’s showcasing her efforts at an upcoming fundraiser golf tournament at Nobleton Lakes.
Capobianco moved to a fly-in Arctic community called Salluit, Nunavik as a teacher. In 2015, she and partner Jeremy Marshall created the Salluit Amaruq Hockey Club.
“As teachers, we were alarmed by the high drop-out and youth suicide rate in the community,” she said. “We decided to create a program that provides a platform for Inuit youth to develop cultural pride and develop the skills necessary to become the future leaders, trainers, and coaches in their community. Using hockey as a tool, the SAHC promotes positive behaviour and high attendance at school, provides Inuit youth with opportunities to become engaged, positive leaders in their communities, and creates chances for a genuine exchange of cultures.”
Their program is a volunteer-run non-profit and 100% of the profits go directly to the youth.
Since the creation of the SAHC in 2015, they have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of the SAHC on the youth in our program.
“We hope to continue to improve and expand this 2018-19 year by further working to eliminate barriers that restrict youth from engaging in team sports such as registration fees, equipment costs, travel and shipping costs. We are also excited to announce that we have added an all-girls team to our program!”
While well received by the community, it was hard work establishing a hockey program.
“They took us in with open arms and were very supportive of us as educators and coaches,” said Marshall. “It was difficult at times to establish the hockey program but the students, parents, community members, Town Manager Adamie Papigatuk, and Mayor Paulusie Saviadjuk stood beside us and supported us through our fundraising, funding applications, and training. We have been lucky to get support from organizations such as Brighter Futures, Makivik, Landholding Corporation, and the Northern Village of Sallluit. They are open to sharing their culture and wisdom with us as we develop as teachers and coaches.”
Capobianco said as new teachers in the area, it was important to expand their experiences and exposure beyond the small towns that both she and Marshall grew up in. Both her and Marshall wanted to learn more about the Arctic region and the culture.
The primary focus of the program is to promote school and community involvement, while providing an opportunity for youth to share their Inuit culture. All that kids need to do to be involved in our program is have good attendance, positive behaviour, and participate in team training as well as team hosted community events.
“Our goal is to make hockey accessible to all youth regardless of skill level or access to hockey equipment,” Marshall said. “We aim to eliminate barriers restricting access to hockey which is why we attempt to provide equipment, do not charge registration fees, and are not exclusive based on skill level.”
Capobianco added the program continues to grow and improve each year. Each year they attend a hockey tournament in “the South,” where the team participates in tournaments and cultural exchanges. The youth make friends with other teams, learn about other cultures, and share their culture.
In addition to ongoing practices and annual tournaments, students who maintain 80% attendance are eligible to win a trip to a southern hockey camp during the summer. This year they added an all-girls team to our program and the girls are very excited about it.
Capobianco said teachers and parents have all noticed increased motivation and initiative both in school and at home.
“As a coach and manager, it has been rewarding to see these youth grow together as a team and develop strong, lasting friendships. These youth astound us every day with their strength, their humour, their resilience, and their talent. Our goal is to empower youth and provide them with the support and tools necessary to become the future coaches, trainers, and leaders in their communities,” she said.
The community of Salluit is strong and the youth are resilient. At a time of tragedy the community comes together to support one another. There are some government supports and social services in place. Social services and the Department of Youth Protection work tirelessly alongside the community and the school to support youth. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them to reach everyone.
Marshall admitted that living in an isolated community is not without its challenges, but the youth and the overwhelmingly supportive community provide them with the passion and drive to move forward.
“Watching the students improve on and off the ice and seeing the students come together for training and community events is so rewarding. Witnessing the excitement and pride the players and parents have in their culture as they share it with us, our families, and others is incredible. We believe it’s important to provide these youth with opportunities to share their amazing culture with the rest of Canada,” he said.
Travelling and shipping costs alone are very expensive in the North. A round-trip flight to Salluit can cost upwards of $3,000 per person. Since they do not charge registration fees, they rely solely on fundraising and donation to allow the program to continue to function.
The main fundraiser each year is the annual fundraising golf tournament. This year the tournament is at the Nobleton Lakes Golf Club on Saturday, July 28. Registration begins at 12 p.m. and there is a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Registration fees include golf, power cart, dinner, prizes and an amazing silent auction! You can register online through the website at www.salluitamaruq.ca. There is also a GoFundMe page for the club – https://ca.gofundme.com/the-salluit-amaruq-hockey-club
All donations are greatly appreciated and will not go unnoticed!
If you’d like to contact either Capobianco or Marshall, email salluitamaruq@outlook.com

         

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