COURTENAY, B.C. – Aboriginal students at North Island College have received a boost thanks to some funding from RBC and the RBC Foundation.

Students will be able to access improved support to complete their education thanks to the $50,000 donation.

“When young people succeed, we all win – parents, educators, governments, youth service organizations, employers – society at large,” said Kelly Bissell, RBC regional vice president, in an NIC-issued release.

“RBC is excited to make a significant impact on the lives of young Canadians through the Aboriginal Scholars program at NIC.”

According to the school, by providing culturally relevant services, staff and spaces that engage students’ passions, it’s hoped that more Aboriginal students will have positive post-secondary experiences.

“With RBC’s support, we can do so much more,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC’s director of Aboriginal education.

“The donation will help NIC intensify and expand the Aboriginal Scholars program so more students in Port Hardy, Port Alberni, Campbell River and the Comox Valley will have the opportunity to develop individual achievement plans, while accessing services and supports to meet their diverse needs. I want to thank RBC for investing in Aboriginal students at NIC.”

NIC used David Dawson as an example of one of the six students who participated in the program last year. He completed NIC’s Human Services diploma and is now working as a peer counsellor and night attendant at the Comox Valley Recovery Centre, where he was once a client.

“He credits Elders-in-Residence Fernanda Paré and Evelyn Voyageur as well as Aboriginal Education advisor Sarah Lawrence for lifting his spirits through times of trouble, doubt, uncertainty and confusion,” read the NIC release.

“This college is so freely giving, supporting, kind, caring and provides comfort and connection with one another,” Dawson said.

“The atmosphere here is so diverse, warm, inviting and uplifting. It helped me on my journey and I know it helped others as well.”