We knew from the beginning that we wanted our program to change the face of financial literacy in Canada. In brainstorming, we realized that the demographic that has the least access to financial literacy education is Aboriginal youth, and we immediately realized our calling. We were inspired to create something that would change lives, and we were inspired to break the cycle of poverty in Aboriginal communities.

What it does

The LIFE Program is a mentorship program that connects Indigenous youth with experienced and accomplished Indigenous adults. We take adults who work in banking or finance and pair them with a mentee, and create a relationship that will last a lifetime. With our carefully created curriculum, meticulous planning, and qualified mentors, we know for a fact that the LIFE program will have a lasting impact on hundreds of Indigenous youth.

How we built it

We built the LIFE program to address some of the major issues that Indigenous youth face when it comes to financial literacy- distrust of banks, and lack of access. We chose people with similar backgrounds to mentor youth to help them understand that financial institutions can be diverse and inclusive. We also designed our program to target the individuals who need it most, at the right age, through schools. We also built our program on the three core values of sustainability, accessibility, and a holistic approach. We built the website using HTML and CSS.

Challenges we ran into

With the wealth of issues presented to us during our research, we were overwhelmed with a variety of different issues that we wanted to aim to solve. We wanted to create something that addressed all of the issues we saw, but realized quickly that was not possible. We believe actually finding a concrete idea that tackled one specific issue was very tough for us. We believe now that our mentorship program effectively does this.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of everything we've accomplished over the past three days. No matter the result, the amount of work that we put into this idea makes us incredibly proud of what we've accomplished.

What we learned

We learned all about the issues facing Indigenous youth throughout our time at this hackathon. We also learned that ideas are always flexible, and there is always room for improvement. We also learned that hard work and efficient research can create great results in any project.

What's next for LIFE Program

We have already gotten in touch with Jim Miller, the leader of the RBC Royal Eagles (an organization of all Indigenous people working at RBC), to discuss partnering with them as mentees. We plan to bring this mentorship program to communities in Ontario first, and then use telecommunications technology or a wider network of mentors to spread across Canada.

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