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Regina, March 7, 2012 – Aboriginal young people involved in street life will have access to culturally based programming and support, thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada. This was announced today by Tom Lukiwski, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament (Regina–Lumsden–Lake Centre), on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
Funding will support the Street Worker’s Advocacy Project (SWAP), for its “Reclaiming Our Spirit” project, which aims to provide support and improve the skills, abilities, and well-being of Aboriginal young people formerly or currently involved in prostitution.“Our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians to invest in important organizations like SWAP, which provide culturally relevant community-based activities,” said Minister Moore. “By investing in this project, we are ensuring that Aboriginal young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
“SWAP provides Aboriginal young people with opportunities to connect with their culture, which provides them with positive alternatives to their current lifestyle,” said Mr. Lukiwski. “I’m proud that our Government is investing in our young people and providing them with a greater chance of success in the future.”
“Our youth program fills a critical void in the community by offering culturally based programming and support to an extremely disadvantaged and disengaged group of Aboriginal youth,” said Barb Lawrence, Executive Director of SWAP. “We are deeply appreciative of the support from the Government of Canada, which ensures that sexually exploited Aboriginal youth in our community are not forgotten and overlooked.”
Since 1994, SWAP’s mission has been to create a healthy and safe environment, provide support services, and work with those who are or have been affected by street prostitution. This in turn leads participants towards healthier lifestyles and healing.
The Government of Canada has provided funding of $142,820 through the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Program. This initiative provides Aboriginal young people aged 10 to 24, living in urban settings across Canada, with programming that incorporates Aboriginal values, cultures, and traditional practices in projects and activities designed to improve their social, economic, and personal prospects and to strengthen their cultural identity.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages
Francine D. Lefebvre
Director of Regional Communications
Prairies and Northern Region
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