Interview with Jacob Lightning - Canada Bridges Board Director

We caught up with our new Board Director Jacob Lightning to hear more about his connection to Canada Bridges and his hopes for the work we are doing in the future!

How have you been involved with Canada Bridges?

I have been involved with Canada Bridges as - I forgot the specific name for it - but I think it was a mentee or something. I was paired up with a mentor - my mentor was Bob. But I originally joined five years, yeah, maybe five years ago.  

When I started university four years ago, I met up with Kalista in a coffee shop, and I talked a bit about my background and how I decided to pursue my degree after my mother was murdered on July 10th, 2017.

And also [being involved with Bridges] just gave me an opportunity to experience, to like just hang out, have these cool opportunities to see movies, check out Flying Squirrel or do recreational activities, something I never had the chance to do growing up as an Indigenous male from a poor background.

What is important to you about the work of Canada Bridges?

To me, the work that I find most important about Canada Bridges is their ability to give the opportunity to Indigenous families to experience recreational activities. I mentioned this earlier in the first question, but I do feel like it is important for Indigenous kids to have a sense of stability, meet up with friends, socialize in a healthy manner, especially if they're not used to experiencing recreational activities. In my own background, I grew up in poverty. It was rare, it was a once-a-year event if I'm lucky, but most of the time you're more focused on survival. And in my late teenage years, being with Canada Bridges and experiencing those things helped me decideto continue pursuing my degree and bettering my life.

Why are you involved with Canada Bridges now, and what do you hope to see for our work going forward?

Well one thing that excites me for Canada Bridges, it's just the potential to build leaders and changemakers with the Indigenous communities that are involved. One teaching that was given to me at my work was that the youth are the seeds of today, but they're the forests of tomorrow, and if we invest into them, they'll invest back into us. I feel like I'm really excited just for the possibility of Canada Bridges giving these youth, young adults, kids the opportunity to grow, to help them just have a good time and be OK with the joy in life - because I do feel like when good things happen it's easier to grow as a person.


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