BRITAINEA YOUNG

Winner of the Sana Elache Community Engagement Award 2019

After working in the oil sands industry, Britainea chose to return to school in 2017 to obtain her Bachelor of Education degree and pursue her life-long goal of becoming a teacher. In addition to this goal, she knew she wanted to become more involved in the community that has been so good to her and her family over the last 15 years. Britainea felt that a great place to start her community engagement would be within her own school.

 

During ‘Welcome Day’ in her first semester, Britainea joined the Education Students’ Association (ESA) Local 9, which continued throughout her first three years. This 2019-20 school year marks her 3rd term overall and her 2nd term serving as President and Chair. Britainea’s participation in the ESA allowed her to build key relationships that lead her to be selected to several other service positions, including a Student Governor on the Students’ Association of Keyano College, a Student Representative on the Academic Council of Keyano College, a Student Representative on the Keyano College Board of Governors (BOG), and a Student Representative on the BOG’s Governance and Human Resources committee. In addition to her service in her school, Britainea also was a Director on the Board of Directors for Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta, an association that she admires deeply for their work with female youths in the Wood Buffalo region.

 

Britainea has also served as a mentor to and advocate for her peers. She regularly advises her fellow students on a variety of matters including portfolio development, class schedules, conflict resolution, and more. Moreover, Britainea has put on two seminars for Education students. One seminar focused on encouraging their participation in both paid and volunteer opportunities within the school districts and the other focused on writing strong scholarship applications.

 

Moreover, through her work in the aforementioned associations, Britainea has paved paths for others through her leadership by striving for equitable access and opportunity. In terms of equitable access, Britainea worked and raised funds to bring fellow Education students from Fort Chipewyan onto main campus for professional development and mentorship opportunities. In terms of equitable opportunity, Britainea advocated for and successfully carried a motion on Academic Council to ensure that a senior-level English Indigenous Children’s Literature course for the University Studies program at Keyano College was developed and delivered by an Indigenous instructor. Like the instructors and staff that I’ve learned from at Keyano College, I believe in decolonizing education and making space for Indigenous instructors facilitates a diverse, inclusive academic experience. More recently, Britainea continues this work by being a part of meetings with college executives and students to ensure that–despite ongoing educational cuts–inclusion remains at the forefront of the conversation.

Britainea is deeply invested in carving out new paths for the betterment of herself and her peers She will continue to build bridges both as a future teacher and as an active citizen in her community. She takes inspiration from Sana Elache, whom she learned about last year when she heard about the award for the first time. Britainea feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have been selected for her legacy award. Sana’s undeniably positive impact on the Wood Buffalo community and the people that knew her motivates Britainea to carry forward her legacy in her work. She is very touched and honoured by the award and will use her platform to maintain Sana’s continuing legacy. Britainea gives her thanks to the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo for recognizing her potential.

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