Riverside grade 12 student, Matilda Roberts, was determined to do something impactful with her Capstone project. Roberts created friendship bracelets to help raise awareness for aboriginal youth and mothers in the Vancouver area who are in need of help. The sale of the friendship bracelets occurred on December 6 at lunch in the Riverside Secondary foyer; all proceeds will go to the programs at Sheway, a Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family services society.

Roberts has a personal interest in this cause; her cousins are part of the foster care system in Vancouver, and her cousins’ grandfather still lives in Sechelt and is part of the band. Roberts states how important it is to not only herself but to her heritage and family to keep connected to the culture and activities of indigenous people, such as drumming, circle activities and traditional games. Roberts great, great grandma also created a newspaper for the indigenous community in Vancouver called, “The Native Voice.”

Roberts’ friendship bracelets, which are all handcrafted, have already raised 100 dollars. The materials were all paid for by Roberts who already has experience creating and making handcrafted bracelets as a hobby at home. “The thread is not too expensive at about $10, and I already had a lot at home.” It was just the time commitment of making them and the organization of the fundraising that took some more effort.

Roberts plans to create an Instagram account to advertise her fund-raising efforts and to bring awareness to the issues indigenous young mothers and youth face. Programs like Sheway Vancouver Native Health Society work to help young women who are either pregnant or taking care of a child less than 18 months old, and who have experienced or have had previous substance abuse problems. The program consists of prenatal, postnatal and infant health care, education and counseling for child development. Sheway also fulfills the basic needs, such as daily nutritious lunches and food coupons, clothes, supplements, and formulas. “We want to be able to provide a healthy start and to be able to provide support for children to reach their full potential”, according to the Sheway website.

Roberts is doing more to raise awareness and money by talking to Sheway and by hopefully becoming more involved in the programs that they are doing. “I would hope to get involved with Sheway, to get a better understanding and knowledge on how to help the Indigenous people in the Vancouver area,” said Roberts