Four community organizations in the Northwest Territories will benefit from the second annual Field Law Community Fund Program after the winners were announced on June 9.
Field Law, a firm with operations in Yellowknife, Calgary and Edmonton, donated a total of $15,000 to various initiatives in the NWT, all of which were selected through an online voting process, followed by a jury vote.
“Building strong relationships with the communities we serve is important to us,” Jack Williams, a partner at the Yellowknife office, said in a press release. “We’re happy to be able to contribute to our communities’ needs and make a difference in the lives and future of those we live, work and interact with on a daily basis.”
This year, 84 organizations throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories applied for the contest, with 13 of those groups vying from the North.
The selections were made based on several criteria, including impact of the initiative on the community, clarity of the idea presented, novelty within the community and the number of online votes.
FOXY Peer Leader Retreat
FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) is a sexual health and peer leadership program for young women across the Northwest Territories. Its teachings are based in peer leadership and the arts.
In addition to events held throughout the year, FOXY is hosting its second Peer Leader Retreat at the Blachford Lake Lodge in July. The retreat lasts nine days and with 24 girls aged 13 through 17 attending this year, it’s set to be the biggest turnout yet.
With funding from its Field Law award, FOXY will be adding a digital element to the retreat.
The idea is to teach the girls how to use video hardware and software to share their stories.
“It’s a really tangible skill for a lot of young people in the North right now because they’re tech savvy, they know what they’re doing when it comes to creating those things, but sharing them and making them a high quality product is something that they can use some training on,” Nancy MacNeill, FOXY coordinator, said.
Lutsel K’e Community Garden
Since 2008, the Lutsel K’e Community Garden has been a place where community members can connect while working together.
“We have work parties; when we harvest, we invite everyone to the garden,” Stephanie Poole, a volunteer with the garden, said. “In the past, we would have different kinds of workshops like composting workshops. We think about preserving, we might do some workshops on that this year, canning and drying things.”
Poole said that she and her fellow volunteers hope to expand operations within the garden.
Weledeh Catholic School
For the past two years, Weledeh Catholic School students and their community members have made the school a better place by working together to improve their outdoor infrastructure. Their Field Law award money will contribute to a school-wide initiative: the Weledeh Catholic School Community Playground Project.
The project consists of three phases: replacing the primary school playground, installing an elementary school playground and building an outdoor classroom with extra green space to play in. With the second phase set to wrap up this week, fundraising efforts for the final $70,000 phase have officially begun with the awarded Field Law money.
“It’s a school playground, but where we’re located there aren’t any other playgrounds in close distances,” said the school’s principal, Simone Gessler.
“It really is a community playground and (during) non-school hours our playground is really well utilized.”
Aurora Arts Society’s Visual Arts Gallery, The Gallery on 47th St.
The Aurora Arts Society took over administration of The Gallery on 47th St. in January and, since then, has showcased several exhibitions and looks forward to showing a mix of commercial and non-commercial artists, which is where their Field Law funding will be used.
Marcus Jackson, president of the Aurora Arts Society, explained that the Aurora Arts Society and its affiliations are some of the only organizations in the NWT that offer peer-reviewed shows, necessary for a working artist’s resume if they wish to apply for certain grants.