Vancouver Island University

“Aboriginal Mentorship Program—Community Cousins” Grant


The Foundation awarded Vancouver Island University (VIU) a three-year grant in May, 2011 to support the design and implementation of a tri-mentoring program (Students/Alumni/Elders) for the benefit of its Aboriginal student body. Located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, VIU is a comprehensive, publicly-funded institution that offers trades, college and university programs. The Community Cousins Aboriginal Mentorship Program was developed under the guidance of the Office of Aboriginal Education to reduce barriers to participation and enhance completion rates of Aboriginal learners while promoting ties to the local community. It was inspired by the Outreach Mentorship Program which the Foundation also supported from 2008 to 2010. The grant has led to the elaboration of a Community Cousins Aboriginal Mentorship Program—Training Manual to guide other organizations wishing to implement this type of intervention. The document includes the materials used to prepare Aboriginal mentors who will participate in the university’s tri-mentoring initiative for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students. Much of the content is exercised-based to promote self-reflection throughout the mentoring training process. Completing the exercises provides insight into the mentoring process as well as the importance of self-awareness and appropriate communication in a mentoring relationship.

Vancouver Island University is pleased to share its Community Cousins Aboriginal Mentorship Program—Training Manual with other educational institutions across the country looking to create their own tri-mentoring program to support Indigenous pupils and build ties to their local community. Please visit the following site for more information: