Carleton University

“Indigenous Enriched Support Program” Grant


The Indigenous Enriched Support Program (IESP) supports the educational aspirations and success of Indigenous youth. Carleton University designed this program to facilitate unique opportunities for Indigenous youth to gain leadership skills. The IESP core activity is a transition year for Indigenous students entering post-secondary education. Upper-year undergraduate students who successfully completed the transition year mentor new students. The IESP also administers a mentoring program that matches Indigenous students at Carleton with dozens of Indigenous students in a local elementary and two high schools each year. The IESP now administers internships that match Carleton students with Indigenous organizations.

Over the course of the grant:

  • 178 Indigenous students have entered the IESP transition year
  • 45 Indigenous students have worked as mentors and interns.
  • 28 Carleton students have served as mentors in local elementary and high schools. Students at the local alternative high school have come to depend on the attendance of the mentors, encouraging them to come to school and participate in their lessons.
  • 10 Carleton students have served as in-class mentors to IESP transition year students. One sign of the IESP’s relevance and achievement is that Indigenous students with the prerequisites to enter directly into a bachelor’s degree choose the IESP option for its cultural supports and community building activities.
  • 7 internship placements over the life cycle of the grant have included: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; AFOA Canada; the Odawa Native Friendship Centre; an Indigenous law firm; Northern Youth Abroad; and Bioregional North America.
  • 2 coordinator positions were created for Indigenous students to manage IESP mentorship and internship opportunities. This provided valuable student leadership roles.

A few key insights from this work

At the beginning of this grant, we were only offering mentors at the high school level but as this initiative expanded, we realized that we needed to engage and encourage students at an even younger age and therefore started mentoring elementary school children. The mentorship program has now grown to serve two local high schools, including an Indigenous alternative program, and one elementary school. The implication for this growth is being able to encourage and support a larger number of Indigenous children and youth. Having mentors in elementary schools promotes building a strong foundation in Indigenous children that they can carry forward into adolescence and adulthood.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report was released in 2015, resulting in enhanced and much needed focus on the lives of Indigenous Peoples and their communities. One way the commission’s report had a particular impact on our programming is that it emphasized the importance of Indigenization within Canada’s elementary and high schools. Over the course of your grant, there has been an exponential increase in inquiries from local schools hoping to have Indigenous members of the Carleton community visit and teach lessons, as well as serve as mentors to Indigenous students K-12. We anticipate this important university-community relationship to continue in the future.


About Carleton University

Carleton University was founded by the community in 1942 to meet the needs of veterans returning from the Second World War. Since those days, it has grown to become a leading university recognized for its leadership in teaching, research, community engagement and interdisciplinary study.