Keeping strong cultural and spiritual ties is important to Fleming Grad Recruiter Rebekah Rego

Fleming College’s commitment to helping every student succeed is what makes it so special to Rebekah Rego.

“Everyone here is dedicated to your success,” explains Rebekah. “Faculty and staff strive to help and want to see you succeed!”

As an Anishinaabek student, success to Rebekah means maintaining her strong cultural and spiritual ties, which is why she connected with Indigenous Student Services.

Indigenous Student Services at Fleming aims to help students transition into college by providing support, information and resources, cultural programming, and by acting as a link to the college and wider community. It quickly became Rebekah’s favourite place on campus.

“Indigenous Student Services felt like my home away from home,” shared Rebekah. “Indigenous Student Services provided me support and a safe place to strive as an Anishinaabek student. Their services include Elder visits and a medicine room.”

She added that the staff are supportive and provide cultural programming that fits everyone’s schedule to ensure events and programming are easily accessible.

Rebekah graduated this June from the Social Service Worker program with the Indigenous Perspectives Designation. She thoroughly enjoyed her Fleming experience, including the Sutherland Campus, Fleming staff, academics and the extracurricular activities she was involved in.

“I felt like I was a part of the Fleming community,” said Rebekah. “I had such amazing and meaningful experiences during my time at Fleming.”

At Fleming College, Rebekah said she was able to learn valuable skills while developing herself as a professional.

“My program helped me prepare for the working world while I also learned how to give a voice to those who cannot, be involved in community events, organize a student club and have the responsibility of being on committees,” she said.

Rebekah feels so strongly about Fleming College that she is joining the Student Recruitment team this fall as a Fleming Grad Recruiter. Rebekah will be travelling across Ontario to share information about Fleming with prospective students.

“I am really looking forward to being able to share my enthusiasm for learning and my passion for Fleming so that other potential students can see the valuable opportunity Fleming presents for their future careers,” said Rebekah. “I cannot wait to meet students across the province and share my experiences and knowledge with them.”

SSW student Rebekah Rego raises awareness through Strengthening Indigenous Allies Club

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Rebekah Rego smiles for a photo by the Tipi at Sutherland Campus.

Rebekah Rego, co-president of the Strengthening Indigenous Allies Club, is currently busy hanging red dresses around Sutherland Campus. From March 19 to 23, red dresses will be on display to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, encouraging the Fleming community to remember the women lost.

“If they don’t know about it, I hope they look into it; hopefully it makes them curious and question why this injustice is happening to our communities and to our women. If they do know about it, then I hope they feel supported,” said Rebekah on what she hopes people take away from the display. “Because of the posters, it’s already starting conversations and getting people thinking. It’s great.”

The Social Service Worker (SSW) student credits Métis multi-disciplinary artist Jaime Black for inspiring her display. The Winnipeg-based artist created The REDress Project, an installation art project that uses red dresses as a visual reminder of the crimes against Aboriginal women.

On Tuesday, March 20, Rebekah is organizing a march and candlelight vigil from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sutherland Campus main lobby. “I thought it would be great to have a night to remember and honour our women,” said Rebekah.

Rebekah reactivated Fleming’s Strengthening Indigenous Allies club with the support of her BISHKAA mentor, Tish, who previously led the group and is now co-president with Rebekah. But taking a leadership role is nothing new for Rebekah, who has been a passionate social activist since childhood, travelling with her mother (SSW program coordinator Cristine Rego) since she was 10 years old to attend conferences and movements on Indigenous issues.

In grade 10, Rebekah worked with Indigenous mentors to secure funding for a focus group to develop an Indigenous approach to respond to bullying in the Sudbury Catholic School Board. In grade 11, Rebekah participated in the Mkwa Ride-along Program with Sudbury Regional Police. And in grade 12, Rebekah was one of 20 Indigenous students chosen to attend Osgoode Hall Law School for one week to study Indigenous justice and be introduced to law school. She also co-published an article with her mother entitled Ensuring a Culturally Safe Practice in Working with Aboriginal Women.

“I’m a huge activist within the community,” said Rebekah, who said her social activist goals are awareness and reconciliation.

Since her goals are to make a difference, Rebekah said that Fleming’s SSW program seemed like the perfect fit for her. “My mom is a social worker, so I grew up and realized this is something I wanted to do—be a helping hand in the community,” she said.

Once she graduates from Fleming, Rebekah’s goal is to join the RCMP and work in northern communities.

She describes her Fleming experience as wonderful and appreciates the welcoming, positive environment. “I love the multicultural atmosphere here. It is a very inclusive environment where we’re free to do what we want,” she said. “I’ve really been supported here by my professors and peers, by Aboriginal Student Services, as well as by the Student Administrative Council.”

Social Service Worker program is the ‘whole package’ for Valedictorian Darla Cuthbertson

darla-cuthbertsonDarla Cuthbertson wanted the whole package when she decided to attend post-secondary school as a mature student.

“I really wanted my college dollars to go as far as possible in the purchase of an education,” she said. “Through life experience, I have learned to see the whole package offering. The Social Service Worker program offers a well-rounded base of skills in which to use heading out into the community; everything from computer skills, human growth philosophy, to counselling and community development.”

In addition to learning theoretical approaches, Darla appreciates the application practice she gained through group work. “This was a great period of learning for myself, as I have often depended only on the efforts and works of myself,” Darla explained. “Sharing, creating and developing space with others played a huge role in developing my sense of self and community.”

Her most memorable experiences at Fleming were the kick-off, signing the Indigenous Education Protocol, and getting Anishinaabemowin accepted as a General Elective Language Course.

“My life has been enriched through my experience at Fleming, and friendships made here – both with my peers and my professors – will continue,” said Darla. “The faculty and staff are amazing and create a real family environment. Across campus and down each corridor I was met with a friendly and helpful welcome. The diversity of students is a gift in itself and brought a cultural experience unexpected in this little, off-the-beaten-path town of Ontario.”

Darla has been selected as Valedictorian for Community Development Programs at convocation, which she feels humbled by.

“There are so many students, ones I know personally, who are smarter and more talented than I,” said Darla. “After sitting with that feeling for a few days, I allowed myself to feel honoured and to accept the good feelings that come with such a title. I am proud to be a Fleming Knight and to accept this honour to represent such an important school of learning, alongside so many students dedicated to the helping professions.”

She added, “I hope my fellow graduates leave with pride in their achievements, knowledge of their belonging, and aware of the important responsibility they now owe to their communities.”