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Student Driven to Succeed in Art & Future Career in Nursing

Grade 12 student, Melba, joined our program just before the start of the pandemic thanks to the outreach work of Student Parent Support Worker, Claudette, and to Melba’s determination to graduate this year. Since joining our program, we have seen that Melba is dedicated to her studies, attending virtual tutoring and mentoring sessions regularly for homework support and to get her hours in program.

Melba with her son, Rowan, and SPSW, Claudette.

Taking on a Design Challenge

While working together, Claudette saw that Melba was also a very talented artist and sent her an opportunity from Pathways to Education Canada to design a holiday card “to show appreciation to Pathways donors, supporters, volunteer tutors, and mentors—for helping students navigate the barriers they faced this year.”

Melba took the challenge and ran with it, submitting a beautiful design of embracing hands and people working together, placed on top of the four colours of the Medicine Wheel. Her submission to Pathways to Education Canada was included as one of the designs of holiday greeting card campaign:

“My graphic art design represents helping one another and being so grateful. I showed the piece to thank the tutors for helping me. The people holding each other and helping each other means, without the donors, tutors and volunteers the program wouldn’t have gotten me this far in education. I put the medicine wheel colour for my Indigenous culture.”

Her hard work and eye for design literally paid-off after her submission to Pathways Canada caught the attention of one of our national program sponsors; the corporate donor purchased her design for use in the company’s sustainability report. It was the first sale of her art! When asked what it means for her to have sold her first piece of art, she exclaimed: “It feels great!”

Her Art Process & Purpose

Melba’s process for creating her art is mostly spontaneous. When Melba gets an idea for an art piece, she gathers photos and ideas together, and then sketches the design in her mind directly onto her canvas and just goes for it!

While Melba has gone to art classes every year, this is her first school year at Children of the Earth and she is really enjoying the art program. She is even volunteering with her art teacher this semester to get more experience.

Bringing happiness to others is what motivates her with her art. “I’ve always liked art. Ever since I was five years old. I think [I like making art] because when I’m finished, people smile when they see it.”

What’s next for Melba?

Not only is Melba an artist and a full-time student, she’s an amazing mother to a two-year old son, Rowan. She is driven and dedicated to giving Rowan a bright future.

And while Melba loves making art and will always be an artist, her ultimate goal is to become a Nurse:

“I just want to graduate and go into nursing […] so I can have a better life for my son. Being a single parent is hard, but I don’t want that to stop me from my goal of being a nurse and a known artist. And when I get my degree, I’m going to go back to my reserve, St. Theresa Point.” 

Melba is humble and selfless–with both her art and career goals revolving around giving back to her family and community–but she has a fire in her belly that is driving her to succeed.

Melba: We are looking forward to seeing you graduate and all the other accomplishments you will achieve in 2021 and beyond!

To see all the student Thank You Card entries, click here.  To check out the art of other talented youth at Children of the Earth High School, visit Omazinibii’igeg: Indigenous Artist Collective.