Since 2004, The Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation has been helping Aboriginal People achieve their goals and find success. Be sure to submit your files online so we can help celebrate your achievements!
A few months ago we brought you the touching story of how Kaiya Maracle donated all her birthday money to the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation. Read the letter below to find out how this eight-year-old girl’s gift changed the lives of many adults and children.
By Cynthia Vanier, C.Med | Attawapiskat, Ontario | May 3, 2011
As a professional and an Anishinabek woman I find it difficult to put into words how touched I am by Kaiya and her very big heart. Some say our children wear their hearts on their sleeves ... that’s how I feel when it comes to this young girl’s generosity and her gift to a young boys’ hockey team from way up north in Attawapiskat. They share with her the simple joy of playing the game they love – hockey. These young boys wore their thanks on their sweaters for all the world to see (at least the world that supported and cared about how hard they fought to play in a tournament most teams take for granted.)
It all started when I read the touching article about Kaiya donating her birthday money in order to help another team struggling to find resources to play hockey. In addition to providing her own money, she challenged teammates to do the same, then together they organized an equipment drive. Right around that time, I received a call from a community member in Attawapiskat, desperate to get an Atom House League team to Timmins to play in a tournament. The Attawapiskat youth were disheartened ... due to the remoteness of where they live they are sometimes forgotten. They were not allstars, a rep team or future NHLers but they had dreams just like everyone else.
What happened next was incredible: take one little girl from Toronto, aware that although her family had elected not to live on reserve, she was sensitive to the needs of those living so far away – that these boys were desperate to play hockey.
So now, how can “thank you” be enough to express their gratitude? Instead, the boys wore their thanks on their sweaters because whether or not Kaiya realizes, her donation would have a lasting effect on these boys and their dreams!
I received emails from the coach when they were on the road to the tournament… during one call, the excitement and frenzy in the hotel room where they’d gathered was electric. In fact I don’t think I’d heard that much laughter from these boys in all my trips to the community. Is there anything more delightful than the sound of laughter as it resonates from the hearts of children?
Kaiya, you touched the soul of broken hearts and helped them feel special and loved. Your generosity and gift awakened a spirit that had been silent. In turn, as a result of your gift, while these boys may not have had the pleasure to meet you in person, they know your heart and spirit and they skated with you every time they wore their sweater.
If we all do a little, great things are accomplished… and Kaiya, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being you, and touching so many with your beautiful spirit.
Cynthia Vanier is a strong supporter of the Dreamcatcher Foundation and helped put the coach in touch with the Foundation.
Even at the age of 21, A. J. Elliott realizes the impact the Dreamcatcher Foundation had on him growing up as a teen trying to stay out of trouble. He wanted to take part in positive activities and perform hobbies that would keep him involved with the youth around him instead of on the street. Elliott had a passion for dance and he called upon The Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation so that he could help non-Aboriginal kids learn how to dance. "It was so cool to see the others wanting to learn from me how to dance and be part of our Native programs," says Elliott. "I look back and am amazed at their interest."
Although smiling now, there was a point in time where Elliott didn’t know where the money would come from for his travel expenses that he'd incur while teaching the kids. "I was scared and I wasn't sure what to do," he continues. Elliott’s mom suggested he contact the Dreamcatcher Foundation, since they had helped other family members by granting their wishes. He filled out the application with his mothers help and his dream came true.
Elliott became part of the visiting school program and travelled around teaching kids about where the Grass Dance came from and what it meant to his community. Now as a young man he’s been able to use this exposure to various groups of youth from many backgrounds to enhance his future plans. "I want to continue going to school and in the fall I’ll decide on a major and keep pursuing my dreams."
You can feel eight-year-old Kaiya Maracle’s spirit in her smile and laughter as she sits down with us to explain why she decided to donate $200—all of her birthday money—to the Dreamcatcher Foundation. “I just wanted to help other kids,” she says as her family including grandmother, father, mother and older sister look on proudly at Kaiya’s remarkably giving nature. “I just thought it would be a good thing,” she continues shyly.
Kaiya came across an ad at a local powwow in Hamilton and asked her mother what the Dreamcatcher Foundation was all about. After realizing that there are other individuals—including kids just like her—who can’t afford to live out their dreams, Kaiya didn’t hesitate to ask her mother if she could give her birthday money to help these kids she had never met before so they, too, could play sports, take part in the arts, become educated and take care of their health.
Dan Brant, CEO of the Dreamcatcher Foundation was extremely grateful for Kaiya’s donation. “It’s more than just the money she has donated, it’s the fact she recognizes how lucky she is that she gets to play hockey, attend school and be happy and she wants to share those dreams with other children.”
Kaiya’s giving nature is no surprise to her family. Her mother Jennifer makes a point of saying that this was all her daughter’s idea and she didn’t need any encouragement. Kaiya had told her mom that it made her feel really good to donate the money – something Kaiya’s mom takes pride in teaching her children: to have a giving nature.
The Foundation presented Kaiya with a plaque thanking her for her kind donation and she was also presented with a personal letter from the Honourable Chris Bentley, Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Kaiya says she will hang the plaque and letter in the living room to remember “my parents love me and are proud of me.” She tells us that she has some of the other kids on her hockey team also starting to collect donations so they, too, can help those in need!
The people at the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto were so touched, they gave Kaiya a blanket (seen here in the accompanying photo).
We at the Foundation thank Kaiya for her generosity and for thinking of the Foundation on her birthday.
The Dreamcatcher Foundation has helped grant all kinds of dreams across the country, but this was a first for the charity and one we are very proud of. Ashley Callingbull is a young woman with incredible potential and the Foundation quickly realized this as we sat down with her to chat about life as a beauty – with brains.
Growing up in Enoch, a First Nations community west of Edmonton, Alberta, the 21-year-old is no stranger to the cruelty of the world. She had a tough upbringing in nearby Hobbema, rationing food for most of her adolescence. She was a victim of abuse, and through living and coping with these experiences became the strong young woman she is today.
Ashley grew up embraced by traditional Cree culture. Although she had a rough childhood, she always found time for dancing. Her talents won her many pow-wow crowns. She consecutively won all of Enoch’s princess crowns before the age of ten. She also did more mainstream dancing, performing tap, ballet en pointe and other styles of dance. She also got herself into acting, starring in a commercial for The Bay, and has appeared in many television mini series, acted in countless stage performances and has even lent her voice for cartoons.
Her youth foreshadowed her young adulthood, as she continued with acting and dancing. Opportunities seemed endless and then modeling came knocking on her door. She started taking part in professional photo shoots for magazines and advertisements. Her mother entered her into the “top native model” competition and she ended up placing second in her first-ever pageant. This was just the beginning of her involvement in fashion all over Canada and the U.S., all the while juggling her acting career at the same time.
All this hard work and dedication has paid off. Just this past June, Ashley placed third in the largest pageant in her country, Miss Universe Canada. “It was one of the best times of my life!” said Ashley when asked about her experience. She made many friends and brought back a wealth of experience. She traveled to hospitals and schools wearing her MUC sash, speaking about her life and reaching out to others saying “Anything is possible, no matter who you are or where you come from; you can always follow your heart.” She shares this sentiment with the Foundation, reminding those that are looking for help that she is an example of someone that has made it through adverse conditions. She thanks her sponsors including the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation who contributed funds to allow her to compete.
It is definitely not the end for this Cree beauty, rather just the beginning. Slated for this September is the Miss International Friendship Pageant held in China. Her performance in the MUC competition made director Dennis Devila take notice. He named her Miss Canada, an appointed position where she will be representing Canada in international pageant competitions. On top of all this, she will be appearing in Blackstone, a television show set to air this September.
Now most people would say that’s an amazing start for a potentially great career. Ashley takes it one step further with academia. She graduated from high school at the age of 16, and if that was not enough, she had a diploma in aviation from NAIT by the time she was 18. She is now working on a Bachelor of Arts, focusing on drama and acting. She started that degree at Mount Royal University and is continuing on at Concordia University College. At a recent graduation she was asked to address, she stated “In today’s world, education is everything; it opens doors and creates opportunities for everyone blessed with it.”
In all, we have a well-educated, beautiful, talented young woman with tons of potential, who recognizes her family, friends and the Dreamcatcher Foundation for helping her along the way.
Crystal Shawanda is gearing up for a late fall release of her highly anticipated album, Fight for Me, and that’s exactly what she tells the Dreamcatcher Foundation to keep doing, keep fighting for people and their dreams. The busy country singer has been working hard establishing her name alongside country artists such as Martina McBride and Reba McEntire. She’s stayed focused and followed her heart and that eventually landed her a spot on the red carpet of last year’s biggest music awards celebrations in Canada: the Juno Awards. “I was blown away that I was invited to perform ... let alone nominated for best new artist,” says Shawanda. “There I was wearing a Dolce & Gabbana dress after having grown up with hand-me-downs from my brothers.” She adds. “I felt like Cinderella.”
At an early age, Shawanda knew that music was inside of her. She was always tapping her foot or beating on her toy drum, or singing along whenever her dad brought out his guitar. In fact her family recognized her talents right away and at six years old she sang at her first school concert.
“I wasn’t shy at all and I wanted to get up there and just sing for everyone.” says Shawanda. I had been listening to music that my two older brothers used to play around the house and my mom used to cook dinner and clean up to. It was all around me.”
Growing up, she constantly challenged and reminded herself to stay motivated during tough times. “It’s about taking one thing at a time. Even when things weren’t looking that great, I remembered just how much I loved music.”
That’s why Crystal is such a strong supporter of the Dreamcatcher Foundation. “Allowing someone to have the opportunity for trial-and-error is what makes this Foundation great,” says Shawanda. “You can improve your skills at a sport or in education and just keep getting better. For me it was music, for someone else it could be hockey.”
She has seen first hand how the Foundation makes a difference in people’s lives. In fact, Shawanda has many friends who have needed the support of the Foundation to live out their dreams. The Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation has had a positive effect in their lives and allowed them to stay motivated and to continue to be dreamers.
Soon you will see Crystal Shawanda keeping her dream alive as she gets set to tour with Reba again this fall. In the meantime she will continue to embrace her music and her role as a mentor. “It’s my responsibility,” adding, “It’s the moments in my life, that have brought everything full circle and allowed me to embrace the fact that I am a role model.”
Cory Julian (left, kneeling) and teammates celebrate their 2010 AAA Tournament Championship
For 18-year-old Cory Julian’s mother and her family, ‘proud’ is only one of the words she uses to describe her feelings on her son’s outstanding accomplishments as a hockey player. She’s always known that Cory, one of her eight children, was great on the ice, but it was the accolades he received as a young man from his coaches that made her realize that her son’s playing hockey was more than just a hobby. “The coaches would tell me that not only was he a good player, but he had exceeded their expectations as a role model and with his ‘No-Use’ policy on drugs and alcohol he is an inspiration to other Aboriginal kids. It was a great feeling as a mother to hear this,” she continues.
Cory had always been quick on the ice as well as a smart hockey player, always mentally preparing plays and making teamwork his priority. As his progress as a hockey player continued he was ranked as a top player in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and as soon as his tenure with his previous team ended it was no surprise that he was being scouted by a team he’d once played against. His passion for hockey led him to accept the offer with the Midget AAA Bearcats, in Truro, Nova Scotia without any hesitation, even if it was unclear where the money needed would come from. “It was a high-level commitment as a hockey player and we weren’t sure how we’d get all the money required for ice time, tournament fees, track suits, skills development, training, travel expenses, etc.” says Rose.
However, she wasn’t about to give up. She remembered the Dreamcatcher Foundation had helped fund the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games and she inquired if there was a chance they would provide individual funding for a youth. She didn’t have to wonder long: the Dreamcatcher Foundation received her call and after an application process Cory was granted $1200 to help make his dream come true. “It put everything in perspective. The donation made it all worthwhile – all the having to commute for an hour and a half, four days a week, back and forth for practices – then seeing Cory happy,” says Rose. She also commends her Chief and Council for their assistance with financial aid and fundraising efforts.
Cory led the team to a provincial win in Halifax, continuing on to a bronze finish in the Atlantic league games in St. John’s, Newfoundland, scoring six goals and four assists along the way. “It was the perfect ending to his hockey journey,” insists his mom. He tells me he’s learned so much, including self respect, discipline and it’s helped him also to focus on his other goals of becoming a law-enforcement officer, and continuing with his music dreams with his brother and their drum group."
She ends by saying the Dreamcatcher Foundation was more than just a financial dream come true: “For us, the Foundation became our ‘first star of the game’. Without them this could have not been possible.”
The Foundation salutes Cory and his mom and offer congratulations to all of his family members on a job well done, both on and off the ice.
“Don’t give up on your dreams” ... those are words that Mary-Louise Bernard stands by as she continues to ride the wave of success with her Indian Maiden Maple Syrup products. It has been an exciting ride for Mary-Louise since she returned to Cape Breton after her win at the Dreamcatcher Foundation Big !dea 2, garnering $10,000 towards her growing business. Mary-Louise has had the full support of family, friends and local media as she pursued her dream and she has quickly become an East Coast favourite, receiving recognition from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.
According to Mi’kmaq folklore an Indian Maiden was the first person to have boiled maple sap and created Maple Syrup. “(The business idea) all started with these stories that my mother told me when I was growing up and now one of them has become a part of the legend of the maple syrup,” says Mary-Louise.
Mary-Louise had been successful in winning a regional competition that led her to the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation’s Big !dea 2. Although she waited until the last minute to apply to the national contest, Mary-Louise decided that she had nothing to lose and, believing in her product, she felt she had everything to gain. With her daughter Michelle as the Indian Maiden they traveled to Hamilton, Ontario. “Taking part in the Big !dea was an exceptional experience, to have the opportunity for my daughter Michelle and I to meet aboriginal entrepreneurs from across Canada.” Mary-Louise says.
In fact, she credits Big !dea 2 into motivating her to take the business to the next level, “I realized that I had a great idea, and even more so there was a story to be told. I am now in the process of publishing a full-colour illustrated children’s book dealing with the history of maple syrup within the Mi’kmaq Nation. This legend was passed on to me by my mother and through countless generations of the Mi’kmaq. This important piece of our culture has never been recorded in book form.”
The book will be illustrated by a Mi’kmaq visual artist and published in two bilingual formats: a Mi’kmaq and English version, and, a Mi’kmaq and French version, with a CD in each book reading the legend in Mi’kmaq; I believe the publication of this book will add to the rich fabric of our Mi’kmaq culture and beyond,” says Mary-Louise. “I credit the Big !dea 2 for opening my eyes to a very important part of our history and helping to discover the real reason for my interest in maple syrup.”
Dreamcatcher Foundation would like to congratulate Mary-Louise Bernard, not only on her win at this year’s Big !dea 2, but also for riding the winning streak into creating a product the Aboriginal community can stand behind and be proud of!
Bruce Marsden understands that dreams and goals are essential things for kids to have in order to find success in life. As a parent, he works hard to impart this to his children but has sometimes struggled in trying to find the money to pay for those dreams, especially when it came to his 16-year-old son Bruce Marsden Jr., whose goal was to succeed at hockey. “The cost of hockey is so high, from team registration, equipment and traveling – it all adds up,” he says. However, as a parent who instills the importance of helping his kids rather than telling them what to do, he found it necessary to find any means at hand to make sure his son was given an opportunity to pursue his dreams.
“I had heard about the wishes the Dreamcatcher Foundation had granted for other families – in fact I knew people that had been directly affected by the Foundation’s generous donations, and since they had assisted my two daughters with their sports dreams I decided that I needed to lean on them again for Bruce Jr.”
The application was granted and since then Bruce Jr. has seen more than just hockey as an extracurricular activity. Bruce Sr. is quick to note that his son’s social skills have benefited immensely from the team-building that goes on in the league. “He doesn’t just learn to play defence – he learns to meet new friends, to travel to different places he wouldn’t ever have imagined possible and to have fun, all due to the Foundation’s help. In fact he’s also taken his skills off the ice and is now dry-land training on a regular basis, focusing on nutrition and working his physical core”, says the obviously proud father.
The 16-year-old has been playing hockey for 10 years and his father realizes just how lucky his son is. “Not everyone gets the opportunity to play hockey. I remind my kids that it’s a privilege to be able to take part in something that you enjoy so much,” he says. Bruce also told us he wants his kids to stay focused.
He sees a lot of drugs out there, and kids playing video games and wasting time on all this technology and not staying focused on their goals. He reminds us that you can choose to skip school and not do your homework because you wanted to play a game or get into trouble, but your quality of life will suffer and in turn so will your life as an adult.
“I want my kids to have life skills and work hard,” he states. “Bruce has showed interest in pursuing medicine in the future and were hoping that will happen in a few years, along with his getting a NCAA scholarship.”
The Dreamcatcher Foundation hopes that will happen as well, as we need more potential leaders of tomorrow like Bruce Marsden Jr.
Our May 2010 E-News brought to everyone’s attention Big !dea Investors Choice Recipient Clay Bruno. Today we catch up with the health and wellness enthusiast who continues to challenge the aboriginal community with his Get Fit Challenge Program. Designed to motivate and inspire people to become healthy, stay in shape and to lose weight, it is offered to First Nations, Metis and Inuit people and has helped many across Canada to live a healthier lifestyle. Grown from just 47 participants to hundreds of people, it has become the fastest-growing Aboriginal health program ever developed.
For Clay Bruno, motivation is a key factors in his own success when it comes to battling what many people regard as a difficult adversary to overcome – poor nutrition and lack of fitness. He started out just as many of us do with his own personal goal of losing weight, but only after his shedding 68 pounds over 12 years ago did he realize that there were a lot of other people in the same boat. “I wanted to encourage people to become more active and give them an incentive like I did to be healthy and get off the couch,” he says.
Clay started out challenging this own Samson Cree, Alberta, community but soon after learning of alarming statistics from Health Canada about the First Nations community and of increasingly high rates of diabetes and an overall situation of the community’s general bad health, he thought it was even more crucial to challenge the entire country. The Get Fit Challenge jumped from coast to coast and is now in its eighth challenge and with a panel of six judges that consists of health, nutrition and fitness professionals, Clay is moved by testimonials he sees first hand from his people. “I’ve seen a woman walk from her wheelchair and one of our challengers losing 75 pounds in twelve weeks. Hundreds of people are joining up on their own personal health journeys,” says Clay.
“It’s a fitness and nutrition program designed to encourage First Nations, Inuit, Metis – living on or off reserve throughout Canada to become physically active, eat healthy, and improve their personal well-being. I want to promote and encourage First Nation people to actively improve their personal health and wellness,” says Clay.
He has seen the power of promotion, one of the reasons being the money that he received from the Foundation. “We used the winnings for marketing and sponsorship and now I have communities calling me to join,” adds Clay. The Get Fit Challenge has grown to include couples who can compete against other couples to win a prize to Hawaii or Cancun to also challenging youth to get fit and earn a chance at a scholarship and a Wii Fit. “Its all about getting people active.” He’s even used his own money to get the program up and going and hopes that one day it will become a franchise, with CDs, journals and a reality TV show. “I want this to be the biggest motivational health program ever developed for our people,” he says.
It looks like he’s well on his way. Check out the categories below and see which one you should get involved in to challenge yourself!
The First Nations community of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) – a group of communities on the east coast that constitute the second largest municipality in Nova Scotia – is no stranger to the challenges that face other youth within the region.
An area of concern for one organization is the problem of alcohol and drugs and youth. Membertou Parents Against Drugs is a group of concerned and committed parents and community members that has formed an alliance with the Eskasoni RCMP and the Membertou Cape Breton Regional Police. The group was created to put into action a plan that will help keep youth away from things that can hurt them in their impressionable and vulnerable years, like drugs or underage drinking. They’ve set out to hold bi-weekly meetings in order to educate and to support this purpose through community events and activities, including a Parents Against Drug Walk, Street Dance and BBQ – an event expected to attract hundreds of youth, from elementary to high-school-aged boys and girls.
“There are a lot of drug busts and some robberies and vandalism within CBRM, and we would like to give our youth a safer set of options as outlets to chose from rather than turn to these negative activities,” says Rebecca Scirocco, co-founder of the committee. “We wanted to create a place that was safe and accessible for our youth. Even after the Parents Against Drug Walk we will continue to host events for the youth within the community.”
Rebecca herself is no stranger to the peer pressures of youth. Now at age 33, she remembers staying clear of many of the problems she sees today by getting involved in school. “I went to art school and took photography, and decided to educate myself”, she says.
Aware of the struggles many have with drugs and alcohol, Rebecca has chosen to promote awareness to Membertou’s youth. Further encouragement has come from the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation and its donation to the Parents Against Drug Walk, Street Dance and BBQ, set to take place in a few weeks. “Everything is government-run and not as easily accessible for the First Nations Community, so the Dreamcatcher Foundation’s $1000 support was a blessing. We’ll use the money toward food and prizes.”
As the Dreamcatcher Foundation continues to grant wishes, Rebecca continues to encourage her community’s First Nations youth to follow a path like hers – one of education and of following their dreams.
Roland Whiteway had less than 30 days to make his two sons’ dreams come true, and he managed to do it with the help of the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation. A granted application and $2,105 later, Roland’s 14- and 15-year-old sons Josh and Jeremy were more than thankful to the Foundation to have the burden of the cost of airfare, accommodations, meals and registration taken off their shoulders as they head off to hockey school. “We are all tremendously grateful,” says Roland, “It’s time to take the kids to the next level of leadership and we were scrounging around for money, praying it would happen.”
Josh and Jeremy are both avid hockey players, using their spare time to stay on the rink – and out of trouble. In the remote fly-in community of Berens River, Manitoba, there can be a lot of free time and Roland is happy that his kids are pursuing their dreams outside of the toxic world of violence and drugs. “They both have ambition,” adds Roland. “Josh wants to be an NHL player and he’s got a great shot at it, and Jeremy wants to be an RCMP officer.”
These are just the kinds of dreams that the Dreamcatcher Foundation loves to help make a reality. “We grant applications because we see the drive and ambition in the kids, and all they need is some timely help – whether it’s a new pair of skates, or some other type of assistance – to provide them with options and an early development of leadership skills. It’s what inspires our Foundation’s goal to be the strongest one in Canada,” says CEO Dan Brant.
Roland is staying strong, as his two kids head off to live on their own in pursuit of their dreams. He hopes he will soon get to join them on their journey toward realizing their dreams. “It’s all about the best interests of the children, at all times,” says Roland. “I’ve had 45 years of a good life – it’s time to make sure my children and other Aboriginal children also get to see and experience the good life.”
For Jacqueline Walker, it was a colleague’s guidance that led her to the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation. As Director of Counselling Services at the Family and Community Wellness Centre in Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, Manitoba, she was looking at ways to further support her organization. Financial help is what she needed in order to create a “Rediscovery of Families and Summer Adventure Camp.”
The project was designed to facilitate the development of healthy family relationships through the guidance and teachings of the Kehtiyatisak (Elders) along with the support from professional support workers. “We wanted to provide children and youth with positive social and recreational opportunities during the summer,” says Jacqueline. In fact, the program actually provides day and evening camps and activities which focus on sports, games, dance, drama, arts & crafts and cooking, which are all important to the Manitoba community in order to sustain their heritage.
Jacqueline told us just how crucial these types of programs are for Aboriginal communities across the nation – because they provide practical ways to care for children and youth. “It’s about providing these activities in a manner that is consistent with the values, beliefs and traditions of people’s communities,” she tells us.
With her goal of securing the proper funding in order to ensure that local programs continue, she believes in the positive role played by organizations such as the Dreamcatcher Foundation. “The Dreamcatcher Foundation’s main purpose is to help make other peoples’ goals of delivering effective services and community programs a reality,” adds Jacqueline, which is one of the reasons she chose to work with the Foundation.
For 23-year-old Carrissa Lowhorn, it helps to have friends in high places when it comes to finding insipration in the world of modeling. The University of Calgary student is good friends with Miss Canada International Ashley Callingbull who suggested to Carrissa that she lean on the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation to make her fashion modeling dreams comes true. “I always had a passion for modeling, fashion and photography, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to fund my dream.”
With Ashley’s help, Carrissa was hopeful when she put together her application to the Foundation and wanted to use the funds to represent the community. “There just aren’t enough native models,” she adds. “I am so happy the Dreamcatcher Foundation helped me out because modeling represents more than just a pretty face to me, it’s hard work and organization, with a lot of preparation and confidence, which is something I really didn’t have before.”
Her confidence has landed her two big titles, Miss Southern Alberta and Miss Canadian Scholarship Ambassador. “Ive been going around the country and setting an example for kids by talking to them and letting them know that they can achieve their dreams and goals.” Carrissa says, “Its all about believing in yourself, because that will take you far.” She is also quick to add she believes in the same principals as the Foundation, which are family support and the importance of education. “I was told when I was younger that I was a special student with basic potential ... today I proved them all wrong as I plan to head to law school at the University of Saskatchewan or University of British Columbia after I complete my current enrollment with University of Calgary in their Indigenous Studies program.”
Needless to say, the Dreamcatcher Foundation is very proud of Carrissa’s potential and her confidence to follow her dreams.
If you would like to help the Dreamcatcher Foundation grant more wishes and make dreams like Carrissa’s come true please go to www.dcfund.ca/donate