Editorial page

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

Fostering a future

When we read about Olin and Deanna Perry's commitment to helping foster kids in this town, we feel immediately compelled to commend them for doing a job well done.

With three children of their own to raise and nurture, the couple have also signed on to bring up five other children -- kids, who, if it weren't for the foster parent program and people like the Perrys, would be wards of the government and in less fortunate surroundings.

What's even more noteworthy about all of this is that in Yellowknife, the Perry family, although unique in their dedication, is not alone.

Currently there are 40 families in our city who have opened their doors to foster children. The latest figures show that at least 100 city children are in foster care at this time. An additional 39 remain in what we can only see as in limbo -- under the care of social services.

These kids, depending on their behaviour, have been tucked away in the local group home, the treatment centre and in some cases in institutions down south.

The Yellowknife Health and Social Services Board says there's always a need for new foster families.

While we agree all families aren't in a position to sponsor a child, the community must support the families who do.

The community did that last week when dozens of people packed the legion to honour another couple who, like the Perry's, are helping to make a difference.

Last Thursday, Gisela and Roger Snyder were taken completely by surprise when presented with the Child Welfare League of Canada Award for Foster Parents.

After fostering over 60 children over a 30 year period, the Snyders were recognized especially for their work with children with special needs.

This national award speaks for itself. It's people such as the Snyders and all foster parents in Yellowknife of which our community as a whole can be proud.

Stop the waste

British Columbia's chief coroner Larry Campbell told students that he's sick of pulling dead teenagers out of wrecked cars.

He delivered his brutal message at Sir John Franklin high school last week at the invitation of NWT coroner Percy Kinney.

Campbell's presentation included slides of gruesome emergency procedures at accident scenes.

If that's what it takes to reduce the number of alcohol-related tragedies, then by all means show the pictures. Only last August three young people died when their vehicle left the Ingraham Trail and ended up in a lake.

The unnecessary waste of young lives is an enduring tragedy. Perhaps a slide show of the carnage will shake teens out of their sense of immortality.

Happy birthday

Ekati mine turned one year old this month but contrary to birthday tradition, presents were being given out rather than being received.

BHP Diamonds, 51 per cent owner of Ekati, donated 88 carats of Northern diamonds to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre.

The precious stones are a part of the early success of the mine. Prices for Ekati diamonds are well above projections and Northern employment targets have been exceeded.

Better yet, BHP is publicly proud Yellowknife is home to 250 mine employees which shows a commitment to the North that goes beyond rhetoric.

The donated Ekati diamonds are not only symbolize the birth of a mine but also a mutually beneficial and hopefully long standing partnership.

Seeing is believing
Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

This newspaper has already made its stance crystal clear on the Nunavut Youth Abroad Program (NYAP) through feature stories and editorial content.

We believe the program is a wonderful addition to the number of positive programs available to our eager young students.

That feeling of support was further strengthened this past Thursday evening as a result of a presentation by three students we witnessed at Rankin Inlet's Alaittuq high school.

Jeff Tulugak and Gloria Kowtak have completed the Canadian phase of the program, while Adriana Clark has completed both the national and international phases.

To hear these students talk about their experiences in the program enabled one to witness first hand the lasting impression it made upon them.

Undaunted by a sparse turnout to their presentation, the trio were the personification of pride and passion as they each took their turn showing slides and speaking about their experiences.

Listening to these students, one could not help but be impacted by their words.

It quickly became evident how positively the program had affected them on various levels of their developmental process.

Yes, the learning of other cultures and traditions and the brief integration into a different way of life these students experienced was impressive -- especially to hear Clark speak so articulately and passionately about Swaziland, Africa.

Yet, perhaps even more impressive were the numerous tangible skills they learned to apply right here in Nunavut.

From filling out an application and report writing, to effective communication and interview skills, these students gained tools for self-improvement which will prove themselves invaluable in the coming years of their lives.

And, if indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words, the numerous photographs laid out on display and the projector-cast images upon the wall spoke volumes.

Each and every picture spoke of learning, of pride and acceptance, of values and tradition and, perhaps most importantly, of having fun through the understanding of others.

Perhaps Tulugak best summed up the program's positive influence on its participants when he stated that if it weren't for his involvement in the program, he wouldn't be able to stand up in front of a group of people and deliver a presentation.

Such is the self-confidence the NYAP helps to instill in its participants and such is the self-confidence which allows young adults to make positive choices during one of the most critical times in their lives.