Interns Elena and Matt IMPACT Northern Youth Abroad (NYA)

Submitted 5 years ago by Dan Trepanier 

I am writing this letter in support of the YMCA Digital Skills Youth Internship Program. Through this program our organization was able to hire two interns and support them through a 16 week placement this summer. As a small charity with only four full-time staff members and limited funds, programs like YMCA  Internships are extremely beneficial as they allow us to further develop and refine our valuable programming. The summer months are our busiest time of the year and having Elena and Matt available to assist us with our initiatives during this time was a great experience.


Northern Youth Abroad (NYA) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that serves to enhance student participation and success in education, career development, and community leadership amongst youth living in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Canada’s North is one of the country’s fastest growing regions and offers great potential for continued progress in areas such as resource development, environmental protection, the arts, and eco-tourism. This growth has created new opportunities for residents to become involved in the corporate, public, and non-profit sectors. Unfortunately, many northern youth face obstacles that prevent them from taking full advantage of the benefits these opportunities provide. NYA offers two programs for northern youth, our Canadian Program and our International Program. Each operates over a ten-month period and is highlighted by a five to six week summer placement in southern Canada or Internationally. 

While we benefitted from the assistance Elena and Matt were able to provide, they both furthered their professional skills and on the job experience. The skills they developed while interning will stay with them as they continue on in their personal and professional lives. 

Elena Kataluk is an alumnus of our program and having her perspective and experience in the office proved to be a major advantage. As a NYA Program Assistant Intern @ Northern Youth Abroad Elena worked primarily in program support and alumni engagement initiatives. Being bilingual in both Inuktitut and English, she was able to help bridge language barriers through both written and verbal correspondence. At our Orientation camp, our participants looked up to her as a role model as she was able to offer her advice and guidance in how to achieve success. Since her internship concluded, Elena has returned to her home community of Coral Harbour in Nunavut and is supply teaching at the local school. We are very proud of Elena and her accomplishments. 

Our organization is in involved in the Keepers Program in the Northwest Territories. The program focuses on leadership and personal development through traditional and on the land training for youth. The program has successfully gone through a pilot stage and was at the point where it needed to have some organizational materials like applications and other operations documents created. Having had some previous experience in the Northwest Territories our second intern, Matt McNevin, was able to assist the Chair of our Board of Directors through this process. See Program Assistant Intern- Keepers Project Partnership @ Northern Youth Abroad. A highlight of his internship came when we were able to coordinate having Matt spend a few weeks in Fort Providence, NT to further coordinate with local stakeholders and help prepare for some on the land training for the youth participating in the program. Since concluding his internship Matt has begun medical school at the University of Western Ontario. 

On behalf of the NYA staff and Board of Directors, I would like to thank the YMCA of Greater Toronto for this opportunity. Their staff, lead by France, Pallavi, and Dan were professional, organized, and easy to work with. We fully support this initiative and hope to be able to participate in it again in the future. 

-Regards, Nick Pelletier Program Officer Northern Youth Abroad 

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