Meet the interns and community mentors, both current and past, who have worked with Water First. Click on an individual for a brief biography.
Jamie Lee Parenteau
Jamie Lee has enjoyed the Water First Internship and learning about the important role this position has in the community. Following the Water First Internship, she is interested in championing the need for clean water and water treatment operators in First Nations communities.
“The only time people think about where their water comes from is when they can’t drink it. They don’t realize people are working 24 hours a day, testing daily, weekly, monthly to make sure the water is good.”
“I am in this program because I thought it would be interesting, and also my community has been under a boil water advisory for a really long time. It has affected my community in a way where we were promised for a long time by the government.
I am doing this for my family and for my community to make a career out of this and pursue a good job and live a meaningful and healthy life.”
I wanted to join the program with Water First because I believe water is life and everyone should have access to clean drinking water. I always knew our First Nations People struggled with clean drinking water, and when the opportunity came up to work with Water First, I saw it as a way to one day help with the remote communities within Northern Ontario. I’ve also always cared about our Mother Earth and enjoyed helping the environment. I thought about continuing with my education in the mental health field, but I saw this as a different opportunity – to learn how and where exactly we are getting our water from and how it is being treated so it is safe to drink.
“I started this course knowing nothing but water coming out of the tap but started to take water more seriously as I learned.
In the past, water was never drinkable in my life. The pipes were old; you can’t even water plants or anything without draining the water tanks and the pumphouse. But now our reserve has a water facility plant, new pipelines, bigger water volume, and most important to me, the water is finally safe to drink. I love to see changes in my community and that’s why I’m not going anytime soon.
Why is water important? At first, water was just water to me, but I was taught that water was important to us as First Nations to protect it. Water is life, without water there is no life. And not just for us, but for the animals as well, because we do not own the water, we just use the water and protect their water.”