Biidaaban Academic Support

Biidaaban Academic Support (BAS) is a tutoring program for Indigenous youth with a focus on mathematics and literacy. Nipissing University student volunteers offer?one-on-one support online for youth in local schools.?

Program Dates

October?2020?to March 2021.

Schedules are adapted to student needs and tutor availability.?

Program Locations (schools)

Schools to be announced shortly.

Become a Tutor

Open to all Nipissing University students.?On average, students tutor for 1-3 hours per week throughout the school year. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives offers free professional development?and cultural safety training for interested tutors.?Tutoring is offered online and takes place October 2020?to March 2021. Schedules are flexible and vary based on student availability.?

Register as a tutor??

Contact Carrie Demers, Student Placement Coordinator in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, at

You will be invited to:?

    1. Book an interview
    2. Provide a copy of a valid Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC)
    3. Attend mandatory* training the week?of?September 28?to October 2nd, 2020, which focuses on cultural safety and professional development. See "Tutor Training" tab.
    4. *(If you have attended our training in years past, you are not required to attend, although you are certainly welcome to join us. Every year offers very different training content.)?

    Community impact

    In order for us to measure the impact of tutoring supports for Indigenous youth and tutors, it is important for tutors to record their work by submitting tutoring reports online.?Submit Tutor Report

    Benefits of becoming a Tutor

    Support Community

    • Connect with real people, share in?their experiences, learn from them
    • Provide human resources where?there is a need
    • Enhance?social awareness and sense of responsibility
    • Get to know your community beyond the campus

    Professional Development

    • Meet people and network
    • Learn from experience??
    • Develop skills and broaden?knowledge (critical thinking,?problem-solving, leadership,?communication)

    Personal Growth

    • Gain perspective
    • Assess your strengths, motivations and passions
    • Increase?understanding of concepts learned in class
    • Get to know yourself in different contexts and in relation to others


    The Office of Indigenous Initiatives?recognizes the volunteer work of students in community and provides certification. We also recognize the work by offering incentives including access to free professional development workshops throughout the school year.?

    Tutor Training

    We offer a series of free workshops, tailored specifically for interested tutors. This training takes place synchronously* the week of September 28th to October 2nd. Register with Carrie Demers, Student Placement Coordinator, at, for more information and for links to join workshops virtually.

    Training Schedule

    Monday, September 28th

    • 10am - 12pm / Medicine Wheel Wellness
    • 1:30pm - 3pm / Reconciliation and Racism?

    Tuesday, September 29th

    • 9am - 10:30am / Setting Healthy Boundaries??
    • 1pm - 2:30pm / Nurturing Effective Self-Learners -?Helping Students Not Need Us!

    Wednesday, September 30th

    • 10am - 11:30am / Part 1 - How to Animate Virtual Programming For Maximum Student Engagement - Building Rapport with Indigenous Children (ages 5-12)
    • 1pm - 2:30pm / Part 2 - How to Animate Virtual Programming For Maximum Student Engagement - Building Rapport with Indigenous Youth (ages 13-18)

    Thursday, October 1st

    • 10am - 11am / Using the Rumie App?- Breaking Down Barriers of?Distance Learning
    • 1pm - 1:30pm / Question Period - Duty to Report (A?Duty to Report?video will be posted September 28th and remain available for viewing prior to this Question Period)

    Friday, October 2nd?

    • 1pm - 2:30pm / Sexual Violence Prevention Training (limited space)

    *Session recordings will be available for some?workshops, not all, should students join the program after that week and want?to receive the training. A half hour is added after each live session to allow for questions and discussion. Recorded sessions will not record the question?and discussion component of the workshop. We highly encourage students to participate in the live sessions to have the opportunity to engage with workshop hosts and others in attendance.??

    Workshop descriptions?and presenter biographies

    Asynchronous workshops

    Duty to Report

    Marcella Nabigon Guerin, Spirit name Mukwa Kwe (Bear Woman) belongs to the (Maang N’dodem) Loon Clan. She has over 20 years experience working with Indigenous, children, families and communities. She is an alumni of the Indigenous SSW program at Canadore College and possess a BSW from Ryerson University and an MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University in the Indigenous Field of Study. Marcella is also a Registered Social Worker. She is a wholistic Indigenous practitioner and believes in using Indigenous healing modalities, cultural practices, ceremonies, teachings and medicines as a means of healing and helping people to restore balance in their lives. Marcella is also bilingual and speaks French and English. Marcella enjoys travelling, cooking, spending time with her family, playing golf and being out on the water.

    Synchronous workshops

    Medicine Wheel?Wellness

    About the host:?Dorothy Beaucage-Kennedy is an Ojibway Elder residing on Nipissing First Nation. Dot lives her life as an Anishnabe Kwe using the Seven Grandfather teachings. She is very knowledgeable in the Ojibway traditions and has supported Indigenous post-secondary students, youth, and families in her work through sharing circles and ceremony.

    Reconciliation and Racism

    Description: All Canadian governments and most of this country's citizens have expressed support for the findings and 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- a seven-year inquiry designed to redress the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and improve the relationship between Canadians and Indigenous Peoples. Canadians must know the Truth of their country's past before they can build Reconciliation in the future.

    About the host: Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation. At various times in his life he has been the publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, communications director for the Assembly of First Nations and Union of Ontario Indians, adjunct professor of Indigenous Studies on the Laurentian University campus, and a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Maurice lives in North Bay, and currently serves on the board of the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre and as a member of Nipissing University's Indigenous Council on Education.

    Setting Healthy Boundaries

    Description: This session will begin with an overview of what boundaries are, beginning more generally then moving to more specific professional boundaries. You will learn tips and tricks on how to set and maintain boundaries in a way that fits with both your own personal values and the expectations of your workplace. Boundaries can be difficult to implement and maintain, so we’ll talk about some of the personal limits as well as external barriers so that you can plan for them and be supported accordingly. Lastly, we’ll do some brief practice in communicating boundaries and you’ll leave with an individualized boundary plan so that you can continue checking in with yourself beyond today’s session.

    About the host: Danielle Morrow, MSc, RP, RMFT Registered Psychotherapist, Student Counselling ServicesDanielle loves the outdoors and is on the lake any chance she gets! Born and raised in North Bay, she feels very grateful and honoured to live and work on the territory of Nipissing First Nations. She is said to be talkative, easy-going, and friendly – mixing in humour whenever she can! She is passionate about collaborating with students to find ways that will enhance their wellness in a way that fits for them!

    Nurturing Effective Self-Learners -?Helping Students Not Need Us!

    Description:?This session will help to identify what skills students need to improve their self-learning skills, and what you can do to help nurture these skills. Discussion topics include goal-setting, effective praise, developing concentration skills, feedback, and learning from mistakes. We’ve all seen success when we teach students new concepts, but this session aims to help students realize successes as they learn the next concept tomorrow all on their own.

    About the host: Geoff Brown is a certified Kumon Instructor running the North Bay Kumon Centre since 2008. Kumon is the largest supplemental education program with over four million students worldwide and aims to develop self-learning skills with its math or reading curricula. Students begin studying at their own individual level regardless of age and advance at their own pace. Geoff also attained his MEd from Nipissing University where he focused his studies on motivation and self-efficacy in education.

    How to Animate Virtual Programming For Maximum Student Engagement?(Part 1 and 2)?

    Description:?In this age of Covid-19, people have turned en masse to virtual platforms to help stay connected with their students, their communities and the wider world. Sometimes (as students will tell you) this is done very poorly and only occasionally "really well". The aim of this workshop series is to help participants discover some of the essential secrets for engineering and hosting engaging programming online. Your Trainer for this experience has worked with Teachers, Professors and other professionals for over 2 decades to help them package their materials and messages in a way that truly garners people's attention and helps them to more powerful retain and recall what was shared. Participants will learn about how to engineer powerful "pattern interrupts"; how to generate energy and excitement and how to help people "shift" into the most powerful gears for learning across what many perceive to be a very challenging virtual medium. Each of the two sessions will introduce hands-on, experiential activities that students can then replicate on their own, but will also examine the underpinning strategies that make those activities so effective. The goal of these sessions most optimally is to help people to experience some engaging ways of sharing information while also teaching them some of the basic design principles for engineering their own activities in the future. A portion of the curriculum will be dedicated to exploring some of the variations in approach for the different audiences along the spectrum of K-12.

    About the host: Tony Cox is a pathfinder and provocative thought leader who has prided himself on consistently taking the “road less traveled” in his Life. His presentations powerfully motivate audiences to consider how they can choose to make bold and liberating choices in their own lives and to consistently move in the direction of their dreams. He is an Entrepreneur and expert Trainer who speaks animatedly about Leadership, Innovation, Bravery, Artful Communication and the importance of re-defining personal Success. He is a seasoned facilitator and regular presenter at education conferences, Universities and national gatherings. His style is highly interactive and his stories garnered from decades of experience in the wilderness, conflict zones, classrooms and board rooms are inescapably captivating. He deftly connects the D.N.A. of his stories with important life lessons that resonate powerfully with audiences everywhere.

    Using the?Rumie App?- Breaking Down Barriers of?Distance Learning

    Description: Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 60% of adolescents faced barriers to quality learning and 54% of adults lacked skills training to adapt to a changing job market. Now the need is greater than ever. Rumie makes learning resources available to learners for free, wherever they are. This workshop will teach participants how to access and even create tools and resources accessible through any browser or the Rumie App, online and offline.??

    About the host: Mair is Rumie’s Director of Indigenous Programs. She graduated from Nipissing University with an Honours B.A. in Criminal Justice. Mair has worked with Indigenous youth for roughly a decade in the justice system and with the Biidaaban Community Service-Learning and Wiidooktaadwin Aboriginal Mentorship programs at Nipissing University.

    Mair’s family spread?throughout Canada from Kebaowek First Nation, Quebec to her hometown of North Bay, Ontario into Victoria and Cowichan Valley, British Columbia.?Mair believes that Rumie solutions and technology will support healthy ways of living for communities, and that this will lead to positive pathways for learning.

    Duty to Report?Question Drop-In (See?Duty to Report?video which will be posted here on September 28th or learn more online prior to this session)

    Non-Profits 101

    Description:?This presentation is a quick overview/guide that will address what a non-profit organization is and the different kinds of non-profit organizations that exist. It will also touch on what you as a student may experience while completing your Community Service-Learning placement with a non-profit organization.

    About the host: Dennis Chippa, Dr. (Ltt.) Order of Ontario. Born in Sault, fifth child of seven. His more than twenty year, award winning television career involved more than fifteen years at MCTV Television in North Bay, as a reporter, anchor and editor. Following two years at Cogeco, he switched careers, moving to the AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area as an HIV Educator. For the past five years he has served as Executive Director of the Gathering Place, North Bay’s Community Soup Kitchen and food distribution center. His lengthy volunteer career included spending time coaching Special Olympics, and has also included stops with Community Living North Bay, The Youth Justice Program, the North Bay Anti-Drug Focus, and Literacy Nipissing. He is currently a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross in its disaster management team, as well as a qualified First Aid and Psychological First Aid Instructor. He has launched numerous programs, including No Thanks I’m Driving to promote designated driver programs, Alarmed for Life, which encouraged installation of smoke alarms in homes where people could not afford them, to lending support to numerous fundraising initiatives. Seven winters ago, he was one of the driving forces behind the opening of North Bay’s Warming Centre, bringing homeless individuals in from the cold during winter months. He is also the author of three children’s books, all relating to North Bay and Christmas, with all financial benefits going to Literacy Nipissing, to help adults who are having trouble with reading, writing and computer literacy. He has won regional, provincial and national awards for his television work over the years, as well as being recognized for his community leadership. In 2016, he was named to the Order of Ontario, the highest honour for volunteerism in Ontario, for his work with North Bay’s vulnerable population.

    Sexual Violence Prevention Training?- Gender 101

    Description:?Gender 101 introduces participants to discussions about gender roles, gender identity and expression. Workshop facilitators will connect our understanding of gender issues to issues of gender based violence and harassment in our communities. The workshop will provide strategies on how to recognize violence when it is happening and how to intervene. Gender 101 combines awareness with engaging activities to provide participants with opportunities to learn and put knowledge into practice.

    About the host:?"My name is Stephanie Vennard and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a Nipissing Alumni having received a B.A. honours in history and biology, as well as my Bachelor of Education. I am currently a Masters of Education student focusing on alternative learning and assessment. I am passionate about learning to become a better ally, which involves unlearning at times. I strive to help create a community of consent and prosocial bystanders at Nipissing U! Some fun things about me include that I have two cats who love to interrupt video sessions, and I am planning a wedding during the pandemic, and am loving the planning process."

    Other Training

    For tutors who complete 10 hours or more of tutoring.

    You are invited to submit requests for a variety of education related training (webinars, workshops, etc.) which could include Mental Health First Aid, ASIST, StraightTalk, SafeTalk, Tattered Teddies, First Aid and CPR, inclusive language, etc.?

    Our team will review and evaluate each submission. Approved workshops may be reimbursed in full of subsidized. Please note that funds are limited and this opportunity is available on a first come first served basis.?

    Email?Carrie Demers, Student Placement Coordinator, at, with your workshop request. If approved, students pay for the workshop ahead of time, and are reimbursed after attending the workshop.?

    Niminowaazmin (Year-end celebration)

    Niminowaazmin is the Office of Indigenous Initiatives' year-end celebration for Biidaaban youth programs including Biidaaban Youth Group and Biidaaban Academic Support,?honouring the successes of participating youth, their families, as well as our partners, tutors, student volunteers and employees.?

    Niminowaazmin is?an Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) word that means?"we are celebrating".

    Virtual activities to include traditional teachings,?cultural and artistic activities, games, and door?prizes.?

    When:?Sunday, March 28th,?2021,?1:00pm -?2:00pm?

    Where:?Online. Link to be provided closer to the date.?

    RSVP:?Contact Carrie Demers,?Student Placement Coordinator at?


    Biidaaban Academic Support?is presented in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, the Near North District School Board,?the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, and Nbisiing Secondary School at Nipissing First Nation.?

    For more information,?contact?Christine Benoit, Biidaaban Community Service-Learning Officer,?705-474-3450 x4586 /