RBC contributes $30,000 to KPU Aboriginal education programs

  • Print this pagePrint

(from Left) Michael Choi, Senior Account Manager, Aboriginal Banking, RBC; Bev Poole, Senior Account Manager Commercial Financial Services, RBC; Kathleen Haggith, Dean, Academic & Career Preparation, KPU; Michael Wilson, Executive Director, Phoenix Society; Jeff Norris, Chief Advancement Officer, KPU.

For immediate release

June 21, 2013

RBC contributes $30,000 to KPU Aboriginal education programs

Metro Vancouver, BC – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is proud to announce a $30,000 gift from RBC to support Adult Aboriginal Basic Education programs offered through the Phoenix Kwantlen Learning Centre (PKLC) in Surrey, BC.

RBC’s gift supports provision of tuition-free evening Adult Basic Education classes in Math and English that have been designed to engage and inspire students through Aboriginal content. These classes meet a specific need at the centre, which is located in the downtown Whalley area of Surrey, home to the largest Aboriginal population of any city in BC.

"RBC is committed to improving the quality of life for individuals, families and communities,” said RBC donation manager Jennifer Cabeldu.  “We believe the health and wellness of local communities is of vital importance. We are proud to support Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Aboriginal outreach programs; we believe these programs will make a meaningful difference for those involved, not only by helping enhance literacy skills but also inspiring a love for learning.”

Tuition-free classes offering basic Math and English skills to adults have been offered out of the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society in Surrey for years, through partnership with KPU. However the centre has only been able to provide Aboriginal evening classes for the past seven months, with the help of additional funding. RBC’s donation will provide critical additional funding to help the program continue.

“We are so grateful for this support of the Aboriginal evening classes; we’d like to see them become a permanent program,” said Valerie Innes, who designed and teaches evening Aboriginal curriculum. “The difference it makes in the lives of these students is tremendous, and visible day by day. Their goals grow as their skills grow – they’re able to see goals they didn’t see as realistic before.”

The Aboriginal evening classes offer education from basic literacy to English and Math 12 credits required for post-secondary enrolment. Individual assessment and teaching plans, one-on-one tutoring, and continued consultation and engagement of Aboriginal Elders and community members aim to instill confidence, self-esteem and a sense of community to position students to successfully pursue their future goals.

“As a polytechnic university that believes in open access, we feel programs like these are critical to a healthy society,” said Chief Advancement Officer at KPU, Jeff Norris. “On behalf of KPU we wholeheartedly thank RBC Foundation for recognizing this need and offering their support.”

KPU has partnered with the Phoenix Society since 2006, offering Basic Education classes to enhance the transformational opportunity provided through the centre’s other services: substance misuse and awareness education, transitional housing, individual and group counseling, relapse prevention skills, access to employment services, among others. 

KPU has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for more than 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and Academic & Career Preparation. Over 17,500 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


For more information about KPU, contact:

Joanne Saunders
Director, Communications and Marketing Services
Tel: 604.599.2888