Essential skills project results in a youth lounge being opened at Keeseekoose First Nation

A project that grew out of an essential skills program at Keeseekoose First Nation had its official opening last week.

The Little Heaven Youth Lounge was opened on June 25.

Located in a former Yorkton Tribal Council office in the building attached to the hall and Cstore, the lounge is the result of the Essential Skills for the Workplace project conducted by Parkland College.

Among persons attending the opening were Sarah Kakakaway, the volunteer co-ordinator of the lounge and Diane Yuzicapi, the Essential Skills Facilitator with Parkland College in Yorkton.

After a barbecue and words of congratulations from Keeseekoose council members, five students of the Essential Skills program were presented with their certificates.

They were: Michael Strongquill, Franklyn Keshane, Brett Strongquill, Kimberly Strongquill and Branden Kakakaway.

Open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week with involvement of about four or five volunteers, the lounge is a place to help

Essential skills project results in a youth lounge being opened at Keeseekoose First Nation keep youths occupied and a place for them to call their own, Kakakaway explained. It is equipped
with smart television sets, pool and ping pong tables and a small concession.

The equipment was purchased from funds donated by Painted Hand Casino.

“We’re in the process of developing a program of activities,” she said.

The Essential Skills program is all about giving the students the necessary tools to go out and further their educiaton, find employment or find
a career that gives fulfillment, Yuzicapi explained.

It is sponsored by the provincial government’s Ministry of the Economy.

The program started in November and ran until June 25, she said. During that time staff worked with the students to provide them the experience of what it would be like to join the workforce.

She said that during the program there were invited guests who provided the students with work experience knowledge and representatives of various organizations acquainted the students with the types of jobs that could be available in the work world. The course held safety classes to enhance their chances of getting hired and distributed information regarding what was needed to get various
licences.

The students dealt with nine essential skills: document use, writing, reading, dealing with numbers, continuous learning, working with others, computer use, oral communication and critical thinking.

As part of the program, the students were required to conduct a project in the community and it was agreed to organize the youth centre, she said.

The students felt that this project would help enhance the youth and provide them a place in the community.

The project really brought out so many hidden talents of the students, Yuzicapi said. During a three-week work experience component to the program, the students were able to
work in a chosen field, she said. This project has really brought organizations together so that the students could benefit and become a part of the community.

Yuzicapi thanked the Yorkton Tribal Council for its financial support, the Keeseekoose First Nation and its social development worker.

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