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Canadian North donates $21,000 to Arctic Children and Youth Foundation

Last week, Inuit-owned airline Canadian North announced a $21,000 donation to the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation (ACYF).
Cindy Twerdin, left, and Elaine Uppahuak-Prusky pose with a $21,000 cheque at a June 21 press conference in Iqaluit. Twerdin is Canadian North’s VP of government and community relations, while Uppahuak-Prusky is the chair of the board for the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation. Photo courtesy of Canadian North.

Last week, Inuit-owned airline Canadian North announced a $21,000 donation to the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation (ACYF).

The airline’s donation was revealed at a June 21 press conference at the foundation’s Umingmak Centre in Iqaluit.

“It’s important to Canadian North to help support the communities that we serve,” said Cindy Twerdin, associate vice-president of government and community relations at Canadian North. “These are the communities that our customers, passengers and employees live in.

“We are dedicated to supporting Inuit and Indigenous businesses and charities,” she added. “We continue to strive to increase prosperity in the North and we feel this starts with our children.”

Funds for Canadian North’s donation were raised at the company’s annual charity Christmas program last December, when corporate clients were invited to make contributions in exchange for airline ticket certificates.

“Every year we choose a different charity,” Twerdin said, explaining how ACYF was chosen. “The selection was made by a committee who discussed different charities to choose from.

“This charity is close to Canadian North’s heart, as protecting and supporting our youth and children is imperative to a growing and strong community.”

ACYF was created in 2003 by Mary Simon, who now serves as Canada’s Governor General, and Senator Landon Pearson. The foundation works to improve the lives of children and youth in the Canadian Arctic.

“With support from donors like Canadian North, we can fund programming and services for our communities’ children and youth,” ACYF executive director Sarah Clark said at the press conference.

ACYF’s Umingmak Centre, a child advocacy centre, has been open since 2019, and “has supported upwards of 100 clients every year” in the time since, according to Clark.

“The team works with RCMP, community social services workers, and the [Department of] Health to support clients after a disclosure of abuse,” she said. “The centre also provides counselling and collaborates with relevant stakeholders to advocate for the best care possible for our children.

“This summer we are starting a cabin and tent program to provide more outdoor, culturally relevant activities during our time with clients,” said Clark. “We have hired an Inuk family wellness counsellor to provide support to caregivers as we are moving towards supporting families.”

ACYF also operates a program called Qupanuaq Services, which works to support families as they apply for the Inuit Child First Initiative, a federal initiative that aims to provide Inuit young people with government-funded health, social and educational support.

The program commenced in 2020, and has served more than 1,600 children and youth since then.

Both the Umingmak Centre and Qupanuaq Services program predominantly serve the Qikiqtaaluk region.

“We are based out of Iqaluit but hope to develop further into communities as capacity and need allow,” said Clark. “We thank Canadian North and the representatives here for their generous donation and look forward to future collaborations to support our communities.”

About the Author: Tom Taylor

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