The Resilient Schools team works province-wide to enable access to supports for all First Nations and Métis communities who are interested in a partnership.
The Resiliency Coordinators were selected for their roles because they demonstrate a desire to see students and communities thrive. They understand that every community is unique in its needs and are here to listen and provide supports relevant to a school or community's distinctive context.
Treaty 6 (Edmonton/Central Alberta)
Andrea Dion, Omiyowapikwaniy Iskwew (Beautiful Flowering Woman)
Resiliency Coordinator - Treaty 6
Background: Native Studies and Education
Hometown: Maskwacis, Alberta
I am a strong Cree woman empowering youth to be the best they can be. I am a single mom raising two wonderful teenagers with the help of my parents. I am a proud member of the Samson Cree Nation. My passion is raising my children to become positively contributing members to society while remaining to close to our Cree culture and practices. I am fortunate to come from a very large family: I have fourteen siblings. My Mom is my biggest support and has modeled acceptance and unconditional love.
I attended the Red Deer College and the University of Alberta studying Native Studies and Education, focusing on First Nation government structures and Sociology. I have also received a citation in First Nations Health Promotion from the Faculty of Extension from the University of Alberta focusing on First Nations culture and resiliency, and the social determinants of health.
I have spent more than twenty years coaching volleyball and basketball, mostly in Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis. I have also been active in volunteering with my children’s hockey teams as manager, parent liaison and of course, cheerleader. During the summer, my daughter and I travel with my Mom to Powwows all over western Canada. I am a ladies traditional dancer; I feel my optimal self when I am wearing my regalia and dancing for my ancestors and for those who cannot dance.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” -Buddha
Treaty 6/8 (Northwest/High Prairie Region)
Resiliency Coordinator - Treaty 8
Background: Third year of the combined degree in Native Studies/ Secondary Education at the University of Alberta
Hometown: Gift Lake Métis Settlement
I am Cree/Métis born and raised in Gift Lake Métis Settlement. One of the things that is most important to me is family. Continuing to stay connected to family and traditions grounds me to continue the work that I do and give back to the community.
I have been doing community and youth work for more than 9 years. I have built many connections, not only in my home community, but in different First Nations and Métis communities across Northern Alberta. I have worked in the school and around the community in Gift Lake as a Youth Success Coach with the When We are Healthy Program for 2 years; I have been a mentor with the Alberta Future Leaders program for 3 years working with youth in community and inner city; and I was a program coordinator for 3 years. Building young leaders in our communities is so valuable and I have dedicated my time to invest in that process in everything I do.
I attended Mount Royal University in Calgary for a year and a half then decided to transition back to Edmonton to attend the University of Alberta. I am currently in my third year of a double degree in Native Studies and Secondary Education, and I decided to take a break to do community work.
When I am not working, I like to stay active playing sports and with the occasional visit to the mountains. During the summer I play softball around the province and in the winter I enjoy playing volleyball and ball hockey. Art and creativity are other important parts of my life, and I invest time into creative digital media — mostly filmmaking and photography.
I am a Resiliency Coordinator for Treaty 8. I will be working with First Nation and Metis communities in the Lesser Slave Lake Region and I am very excited to work with communities close to home.
Favourite quote: "Be the person you needed as a child..." - Unknown
Treaty 7 (Calgary/Southern Alberta)
Resiliency Coordinator - Treaty 7
Background: BA University of Calgary, double major in Communications Studies and Community Development
Hometown: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island / Cochrane, Alberta
Office: Calgary - Winsport
I'm a community builder, networker, and person most likely to be really excited about the cool things you are doing at your school! My ancestry is Irish and I grew up on Prince Edward Island. Over the past 10 years I've been blessed to work in First Nations and Métis communities across Alberta, first as a youth mentor and leadership developer with Alberta's Future Leaders and later with street-involved/homeless and gang-involved youth in Edmonton's inner city.
When I joined Ever Active Schools in 2015, I took these front-lines experiences and translated them into support for First Nations school authorities and schools and districts with many Indigenous students. My work connects schools to new resources, learning opportunities, and positive programming for their staff and students. It can also include creating new policies, student mentorship programs, culture and land-based learning, or hosting role models in the school to increase student engagement, attendance and well-being.
Provincially, my team hosts a network of First Nations School Authorities to share ideas and brainstorm solutions to common challenges, and another that connects organizations promoting healthy initiatives for youth in Indigenous communities. We also host events for teachers and students that support youth leadership, physical activity and overall well-being.
I think I have the coolest job on the planet and am so grateful to all the people who have taught, mentored and inspired me over the years to allow me to do this work! When I'm not working, I love rock climbing, hiking, dancing, and playing in the mountains.
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ― Iris Murdoch