Two local women are leading a campaign to help support the youth in Attawapiskat. Natalie Cloutier and her mom, Carole Yelle, are collecting items that may not be considered necessities, but are still helpful to the community. Cloutier says they have been collecting everything from sports gear, to journals, to hygiene products. She says having access to basic items is something a lot of people take for granted, since we are able to go to stores in town. Cloutier says even having the dollar store is lucky. But, when you go to to a remote fly-in community, like Attawapiskat, there is no access to the dollar store. And, Cloutier says even if they do have these items for sale somewhere, they are so expensive that they aren’t considered necessities.
Cloutier says the idea for the initiative was born out of the suicide epidemic at the fly-in community. She says teen suicide is on the rise as it is. Then, when you put kids in an isolated situation where there is limited access to mental health services, the numbers almost double. Cloutier says one way to help supply the community is with these items. She says they’ll lessen the burden of monthly expenses and will help boost self-esteem.
Cloutier says they have decided to send up physical items instead of cash, saying it’s not about the money. She says money isn’t going to save a teen’s life. Any cash that is being donated to their cause goes toward the purchase of items.
Their project has an official logging system, and Cloutier says she is in contact with the youth counsel in Attawapiskat. She says that way everything will be provided to the counsel to make sure the system is legitimate. Air Creebec has agreed to ship up all of their items at no cost as soon as they’re ready to go.
To donate cash or items to the project, visit the Helping the youth in Attawapiskat Facebook page.