Rotary Club of Calgary started the Rotary Tom Jackson Stay In School (RTJSIS) initiative in 2012 to support Indigenous youth.  It incorporates much of the current Stay In School model, leveraging it to support Indigenous youth in particular and working with new partners and corporate Calgary. The Stay in School program was designed to encourage students from economically disadvantaged and/or dysfunctional families, who might otherwise drop out of school, to continue with their education.
 
The Rotary Tom Jackson Stay In School initiative provides mentoring and financial assistance to help Indigenous students graduate from high school.  Students in need are identified by the school system.  Mentors are allocated to each student.  Students and mentors meet regularly.  Funds are allocated on a needs-based support assessment to remove barriers, commonly used for such things as extracurricular programming, school supplies, books or sports equipment, whatever is needed to support the student.
 
Following the spring reporting period, the achievement levels of all students are carefully reviewed.  Provided students are making good progress and demonstrating a commitment to learning, new Notices of Awards are distributed together with small cash rewards beginning at $60.00 (Grade 7) rising to $150.00 (Grade 12).  Committee members make award presentations to the students to celebrate.  Students may apply for post- secondary funding anytime after completing  Grade 12.
The RTJSIS initiative is structured around the following broad areas:
  • Strategic Partnerships with other Service Clubs, not for profits, charities and corporate Canada to support Indigenous children
  • Indigenous Education and Awareness – Speaker Series
  • Mentorship
  • Identifying ways in which to partner with existing groups that are already doing great work in areas to support Indigenous youth and staying in school. (ie. Martin Family Initiative, Legacy Children’s Foundation, etc.)

Objectives

  • To partner with other Rotary Clubs, Service Clubs, external Partners and Corporate Partners for Mentors, Funders and general support in all capacities.  Corporate Partners working with Indigenous nations would be ideal.
  • To partner with elementary schools that will be able to identify children that are Indigenous, economically disadvantaged and/or in a dysfunctional home environment that might otherwise drop out of school rather than continue with their education. 
  • To serve as an incubator for a catalogue of valuable information, connections and services to create awareness and education as well as support Indigenous children to stay in school.
  • To provide effective leadership development through Mentoring programs such as The Alberta Mentoring Partnership.  Free On-line Mentoring Training (www.albertamentors.ca).  Other programs are available for a fee.
  • To actively engage in small acts of Reconciliation through our work with Indigenous students and families.