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The Wabshkaa Animkii Benesii (WAB) program is an afterschool that operates in collaboration with Sherbrooke Elementary School and many other community partners in Thunder Bay, Ontario. WAB works within the cultural practices of the Anishinaabe of the region and has been dreamed, fostered and nourished by Anishinaabe parents, young people and children in the school’s community. WAB offers the students, an afterschool hub, cultural experiences and teachings, field trips, crafts, games and family feasts while providing snacks and a full nutritious meal Monday to Friday during the regular school year. The program fills a crucial need in the local community, its success is rooted in the daily practices of cultural teachings and healthy traditional foods which is demonstrating an increase in successful outcomes for the students at Sherbrooke Elementary School and the surrounding communities.

In addition, participating families are finding the hours of the program support their ability to work later and provides much needed space for mothers and fathers needing extra time before the kids get home while supporting the children with a full-dinner. This is particularly helpful  who may not have the means to provide a full dinner and provides culturally relevant programming in a safe place to learn, grow and be in community.  WAB has a high participation rate that is only growing and normally hosts 25-45 children in the afterschool program, and since the program’s inception organizers have strived for there to be no costs for participating families.

Wabshkaa Animkii Benesii

Mission Statement


WAB Program Is about Creating a safe and trusting space for youth to learn and experience community based programming through Indigenous cultural teachings to break through isolation and overcome barriers as a result of the pandemic.

Wabshkaa Animkii Benesii Program Supports  


  • Runs from September 12th to June 30th following 2022/2023 School calendar year.

  • Daily after school activities at Sherbrooke school beginning from 3:20pm to 7pm every Monday to Friday.

  • We will include the students in some of the prep work for the daily suppers that will be made available, and this will add the life skill set for each student.

  • Students will be provided with daily nutritious suppers during each evening of this program.

  • Students will be provided with cultural teachings and be introduced to many aspects of traditional teachings that involve the seven Grand Father teachings, the medicine wheel, games, ceremonies, and the plants and medicines that are used in First Nations cultural practices.

  • Traditional drum making and singing

  • Traditional dancing and regalia making

  • Traditional and nutritious meal

  • Teachings and support by local elders

  • Land based teachings to be included with various trips out on the land.

  • Employment for Indigenous young people

  • A school community based in reconciliation and unlearning

  • Provide culturally appropriate services to promote a good healthy lifestyle for area First Nations children

  • Create a safe, trusting space for children to attend, gain knowledge and grow through learning cultural land-based teaching

  • Create a safe, trusting and nourishing environment for our families to promote community growth and unity

  • Physical activities including sports, recreation, and field trips which will promote a positive impact on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of our children.

For further program information and how to support or donate to this Grassroots project

Director of Program and President of WAB - Ester Maud


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