Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have made a donation in support of locally-based, hands-on skills training and education programs. Reynolds’ & Lively’s $500,000 contribution will provide resources for more young Indigenous adults to become water treatment plant operators and environmental water science technicians, as well as engage Indigenous school-aged students in water science.
“Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right. Canada is home to over 20% of the planet’s freshwater — an abundance that’s envied around the world. There’s absolutely no reason Indigenous communities should not have access to safe, clean water. All the individuals involved, whether they are operating water systems or monitoring their local water bodies, are critical. We appreciate Water First’s focus on supporting young, Indigenous adults to become certified water operators and environmental technicians. These folks are helping to ensure sustainable access to safe, clean water locally, now and for the future. Blake and I are thrilled to support this important work,” shares Reynolds.
Water First has been in discussions with Ryan and Blake since January to share more about the organization’s approach to partnering and collaborating with Indigenous communities to help increase local water-science capacity.
“From our first conversation with Ryan, his genuine interest in supporting education and training opportunities for young Indigenous adults and youth has been clear. Many Indigenous community partners are reaching out to Water First to explore options to strengthen local technical capacity in the water field. Ryan and Blake’s tremendous support will significantly increase Water First’s ability to offer hands-on skills training to more Indigenous youth and young adults from coast to coast to coast,” said John Millar, executive director and founder at Water First. “We are proud to support the steps Indigenous communities are taking to address local water challenges independently and for the long term.”
Spencer Welling, Water First intern from Wasauksing First Nation shares, “I am doing this for myself, my family and community. It’s important to know how things are done and gives you a better appreciation for it. It’s a good career to have, which I’m sure would ease my parents’ minds knowing that. It also feels good knowing that my community will have a local water treatment operator at the plant for at least a couple decades.”