Yellowknife could become a much safer place in the near future thanks to a pilot project that is teaching life-saving skills to Indigenous youth. Jaylon Atagootak, a Grade 12 student at St. Patrick High School, participated in the project along with other Indigenous youth from across Canada.
It is hoped participants will pass on their knowledge to others to help spread first aid skills to remote communities.
“I feel like people in the smaller communities don’t know much about CPR and first aid and that it can save lives, It’s one of my goals to teach others,” said Atagootak, after he arrived back home.
Atagootak learned about the course from a guidance counsellor. He had no background in first aid.
“I never had any prior experience in first aid so they were generous enough to take me down two days before (the program started) to get trained,” said Atagootak.
Once he was caught up, Atagootak was joined by other young Indigenous people from Ontario, Manitoba and Labrador for five days of training with St. John Ambulance.
He still needs additional training to become a certified first aid teacher. In order to attain certification, he will need to complete a number of supervised courses.
Atagootak hopes to get in contact with the NWT chapter of Saint John’s Ambulance in the near future to continue with his training.
Another option that is available for Atagootak is to travel back down south with the program on a second trip to Ottawa in order to speed up the process.
“They said we can go back down to Ottawa and they will pay for everything,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity.”