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I Love First Peoples comes to Red Deer

Encouraging education among Indigenous youth

Central Albertans have an opportunity to empower indigenous children and youth to succeed through education by supporting the Red Deer Chapter of I Love First Peoples.

Founded by Josée Lusignan, of Quebec, I Love First Peoples was started in 2013 after she became aware of the need in many Indigenous communities in Canada.

The organization runs a shoe box drive so that people can send small gifts as a gesture of friendship to encourage Indigenous students to continue their education. People, schools and community groups can send a gift-filled shoe box or pack one through the online store at

Crystal Day Chief, of Big Valley, said when she found out about the program just a week ago she knew she had to start a local chapter.

“I thought it would be great for this area. I think people need to know there is a need for it and to get involved,” said Day Chief, the Red Deer chapter co-ordinator.

She has already put together three shoe boxes.

Events to distribute the shoe boxes enable I Love First Peoples to find out how best to continue to support education in each community. I Love First Peoples also support students through awards, anti-bullying initiatives, public speaking training and micro business education.

Day Chief said shoe boxes go to Indigenous communities across Canada where the need is greatest.

She said so far Central Alberta Film Festival, at 3-7476 49th Ave., has agreed to be a local drop off location for shoe boxes, and tables will be set up at Parkland Mall. For dates and times at Parkland Mall visit I Love First People (Red Deer Chapter) on Facebook.

Drop off locations have also been set up in Stettler.

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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