CIBC Foundation Spotlight: Bow Valley College CIBC Diversity Awards
Jun. 28, 2023
Bow Valley College is Calgary’s only comprehensive community college and is committed to building an equitable, diverse, accessible, and inclusive environment for all learners where respectful engagement and human rights are characterized as fundamental pillars in achieving the shared goal of belonging.
One way Bow Valley College (BVC) is doing this is through the CIBC Diversity Awards, created by the school with the support of the CIBC Foundation. The award provides 10 recipients with $2,500 each to support their education ambitions. Curtis Blind, a student in the Addiction Studies Diploma program, is a recent recipient of the award.
“To be acknowledged for my diversity is a blessing and has given me the courage to reflect on all the ways I can continue to give back to our communities. After spending a lifetime trying to fit in, the last few years have opened my eyes to how important it is that we celebrate our multicultural society. I felt different and shame in my homelands so I left at the age of fifteen in search of belonging. I now live my life freely as a Two-Spirit person and my identity has been strengthened through my journey. Last year I attended a Pride Parade in Regina and was moved to tears to see Indigenous community leading the parade. To hear the familiar heartbeat of the drums and see Two-Spirit persons in their regalia, celebrating our unique contributions to our culture and our Queer community gave me chills and filled me with pride. In May 2023, I was gifted the Blackfoot name Ii yi kit tah pii (Courageous Person) from our BVC and Sunrise Healing Lodge Elder, Clarence Wolfleg Sr., as part of a naming and song transfer ceremony at the Iniikokaan Centre. I am humbled to be a part of this community,” says Curtis.
Curtis graduated in June 2023 and was named Valedictorian for the School of Community Studies, and is working to continue his education.
“This award will provide the financial means to apply for my membership to the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) so I can work towards becoming a Canadian Certified Indigenous Addiction Counsellor. I’ve worked at the Sunrise Healing Lodge since May 2022 and it’s been a journey of learning and continued healing. As an Indigenous person in recovery, my role has expanded to being a positive role model to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clientele. The training, education and support I received at Bow Valley College has provided me with the skills and knowledge on how to advocate for and work with these populations.”
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