Meet the interns and community mentors, both current and past, who have worked with Water First. Click on an individual for a brief biography.
For Alex, the Water First Internship is a ticket out of chronic underemployment and unemployment, he hopes, and it’s work that he likes. “I enjoy learning formulas, and how to use equipment,” he said.
Alex has obtained his Water Quality Analyst and his Operator-In-Training, he is currently working part-time at the Sheshegwaning water treatment plant.
Alex Nahwegahbow obtained his Operator-In-Training certification and Water Quality Analyst certification, two goals that he set out at the start of the internship. “This is a great opportunity,” he said. “I like this work, and it’s a good job to get into.”
Armed with his OIT, WQA, and the knowledge and experience gained during the Internship, Alex is currently working as an OIT for the Ontario Clean Water Agency in Espanola ON.
“A lot of people are oblivious about the water,” says Amy Waboose. “But for our culture, water is life. It’s important, and I try to teach my son the same.”
Amy is now working full-time at the Whitefish River First Nation Water Treatment plant as a Class 1 Operator and Water Quality Analyst. She also maintains her strong connection to water by sitting as a youth representative on the Whitefish River Source Water Protection Committee.
I joined because I thought it would be a good way to contribute my energy, that it would help in wherever the internship took me, and that I would gain experience in what knowledge was being shared with me. There wasn’t necessarily a key moment, but more of a “shot in the dark” feel to how I applied. I saw the posting shared by a relative on Facebook and thought, “why not apply and get a chance to do this?”. I just graduated from high school and got my diploma after a year’s delay from Covid and was planning on being a Social Service Worker through college, but I wanted to commit 100% to this instead, and I do not regret it!
My life is and has been very intertwined with water, from the most mundane things to the most extreme. My community used to have water challenges up until a year and some months ago when the water plant was built and became operational. Compared to what I know now, I pretty much knew only a few of the basics. I knew my community had a problem with iron and manganese and possibly something with sulphur. Before the plant was up and running, there was a rotten egg smell in just about everybody’s home that came from the tap or shower. Some houses had it worse than others.
I’m doing this for anyone who has been affected by water quality not being held to the highest standard. I love helping my community the most, but I wouldn’t mind going elsewhere and sharing my knowledge and energy to help a secluded community or even just having a positive effect. I’d love to do this for every person who needs it. My only goal is to excel at whatever is presented to me.
After the program concludes, I’ll be wherever I feel is best with my newly retained knowledge and a new outlook on things. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! My favourite thing about the internship is thinking of all the possibilities that could come forth after this is done. I am more than grateful to be able to have this opportunity and this responsibility put on me and I will do my best when needed.