Focus on youth today will lead to stronger tomorrow
By Shari Narine
Lainey Blood, 26, wants to be a strong role model for youth.
“I have a very strong voice and many youth that I have worked with look up to me. I strive to be a good role model and hope I am making differences in peoples’ lives,” said the member of the Kainai First Nation, who lives in Lethbridge.
Since her nomination for a position on Cando’s National Youth Panel comes from her little sister Cara-Lee, it’s clear Blood is accomplishing her goal. Said Cara-Lee in her letter, “Lainey aims at working with youth, for the betterment of her people as a whole. She looks at ways she can give back, while participating in community activities that bring everyone together.”
Blood, who has a General Management degree from the University of Lethbridge, works with youth from Grades 7 to 12 guiding them along their career paths. Her future career plans are to start her own business and continue to work with youth in their post-secondary journeys.
“The youth are our future and as Aboriginals we need to focus more on youth today to have a stronger tomorrow,” she said.
Culture is also important to Blood, who travelled in Southeast Asia and shared her Blackfoot traditions as she learned about different cultures and religions such as Hinduism, Muslim, and Buddhism.
At home, Blood is working in partnership with the Kainai High School on an agriculture project that aims to promote agriculture as a career option for youth. One of the main goals of the project is to tie together the Blackfoot culture and traditions, while educating youth on on-reserve about agricultural opportunities.
“I feel like I have worked so hard to get to where I am and to be finally rewarded with an opportunity like this… feels amazing,” said Blood of her nomination to the National Youth Panel. “I would love to meet other youth panelists, as well as other individuals from all over Canada to share each other’s hopes and goals in life. It will be quite interesting to know what other Aboriginals are doing with their careers in life and hope to motivate each other.”
Each year Cando selects six Indigenous youth to form the National Youth Panel, a signature event at the Cando Annual National Conference which will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, from Oct. 22-25. Selections for the panel are based on their strengths, initiatives, accomplishments, entrepreneurial spirit, and participation within their communities.