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Jocelyn Reekie

Blair McDaid

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SUMMER 2003      v34 n01 p05  
Jocelyn Reekie, a 31-year-old single mother originally from the Little Pine First Nation has been working with inner city youth as an Outreach Worker on an initiative called "First Contact" for the past two years. "First Contact" is a partnership between City of Saskatoon and Saskatoon City Police Service whose mandate is to establish relations with youth under the age of 15 who are not presently attending school. Jocelyn has gained direct knowledge of all types of barriers these youth face. Solving problems in her position has been a challenge. The success stories she has seen and the relationships made will be lasting and will have an impact on the lives of these youths for years to come. Poverty and lack of family stability can lead to many of the problems faced by the children that Jocelyn sees on a daily basis. Her work, and her 2 year old son Jaspar, has inspired her to return to school and continue the path towards life long learning.

Early in 2003 Jocelyn decided to pursue a dream that has been a part of her for years. From an early age Jocelyn has shown a natural artistic gift. She began taking classes at an early age and showed her true gifts when, at age 10, she was enrolled in an adult landscape drawing class at the Prince Albert Art Center. Jocelyn continued to make art of various mediums throughout her life. Traditional art has never been

Jocelyn Reekie


Jocelyn Reekie

Blair McDaid

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SUMMER 2003      v34 n01 p06  
Jocelyn's forte, while living in Vancouver Jocelyn studied collage and has apprenticed under various graffiti artists. One of the works she is most proud of is a work to honor her son Jaspar on his second birthday. The piece shows a horizon shining brightly; it represents the bright light that Jaspar is every day of her life.

Jocelyn can tell you about the challenge of being a single mother. Jocelyn has been lucky, she has found employment doing what she loves and has managed to find good childcare. She also has the support of friends and family. This has been crucial to Jocelyn's success as a parent. Jocelyn does not find being a single mother to be a burden, her son Jaspar has been a gift and she is already preparing to give back to him.

"I want to be an active member in an educated society, this opportunity is not for me but also for Jaspar."

The opportunity that Jocelyn is talking about is her plan this fall too pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). The fact that Jocelyn managed the task of putting together a portfolio and raise a child would send chills through the most seasoned parent. The portfolio had to consist of 12-15 pieces that show Jocelyn's skill in the non-traditional art that she loves making, but also traditional work. The work that Jocelyn submitted was creative works that communicated themes of personal interest. ACAD was impressed and Jocelyn was accepted. This was not done with out a few sleepless nights and lots of drawing late into the night. "Still life drawings are not the easiest to complete when your child wants to eat the orange that you are drawing. I usually got Jaspar to sleep and then began my work as an artist.

Going back to school with a two-year-old is a daunting task in itself; "I will be learning about being a parent at the same time as I am learning to be a better artist." Funding education is a challenge for many students. Jocelyn applied to the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation when she was accepted to ADAC. The Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private and autonomous organization with a 2.5 billion-dollar endowment to help Canadians pursue post-secondary education. There is no guarantee that an applicant will receive any funding.

This year only 931 of nearly eight thousand applicants received funding. Only 100 of these 931 applicants received the National Award.

This award is $5000 a year for 4 years to a maximum of $20,000. Jocelyn was excited and relieved when she received the news. "When you are pursuing a dream and you have put so much of yourself into getting accepted (to ACAD) and then finding a means to help pay for your schooling, that is just one less pressure in what will be an intense four years.

Youth, art and her son will be a part of Jocelyn's life for years to come. Jocelyn will not forget these important parts of her life when she begins studying in the fall. Being a role model and a mentor for many young people in Saskatoon combined with real understanding of what life is as a single aboriginal mother will bring a perspective that needs to be shown to the aboriginal community and the greater art world.

Jocelyn Reekie