ece wyckHeather Van WyckSubmitted by Jade Bourbonnière, MNO Education and Training Operations Coordinator

Heather Van Wyck, a self-identified Métis, was living on her own and supporting herself by working in retail. She knew that the cost of postsecondary education could present an obstacle to her goal of becoming an Early Childhood Educator, so she approached the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) to see if it could help her. She was able to obtain funding assistance through the MNO as well as help applying for many bursaries and scholarships.

She enrolled in a two-year Early Childhood Education program at Georgian College, where she was very successful in both her studies as well as in other areas of student life. She earned her First Aid/CPR Certificate. She was selected the “Classmate of the Year,” for two consecutive years, received two volunteer certificates and earned a Certificate of Professional Development at the Ontario Native Education Counselling Conference. She was nominated to attend the 2013 Annual Georgian College Leadership Conference in Barrie.

Heather was also a peer mentor through Georgian Bay Aboriginal Services, which opened many doors for her. She became a MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator. She found that this position strengthened her self-esteem and gave her the confidence to believe she is capable of achieving her goals.

At Georgian College, Heather was able to learn so much more about her Métis culture and it made her into the person she wanted to be. She enjoys teaching others about Métis culture and for two years in a row organized and facilitated Louis Riel Day at Georgian College.

Heather graduated from Georgian College in June 2015 and has accepted a position at a child care centre as a registered Early Childhood Educator. She will be educating children up to 12 years of age as part of before/after school programs.

Heather credits the financial support and other help provided by the MNO as crucial to her success.