Letter to the editor about Penticton's friendliness, small town values,

Former foster care child thanks Bashaw community

Letter to the editor

Dear editor,

I’m an Indigenous male that grew up in the foster care system and both my parents were residential school survivors. The beginning of my life was very hectic and I honestly don’t remember much about how or why we ended up in foster care but as the youngest of seven kids, I was placed in a home by myself.

That home happened to be under the care of a Jim and Jo-Anne McDonald. I was eight when I moved in. In my time spent not only with these amazing people but also with the members of the community such as my teachers, coaches and even the clerks at the grocery store, my life changed for the better.

I was terrified moving in and I can still remember crying because I missed my brother and Adam told me he wasn’t my brother, but he would do his best to be there for me and would be my brother if I wanted. That meant a lot to me. Everywhere I went in the community, I was greeted with open arms and acceptance — something I feared wasn’t going to happen, but miraculously did.

When I went to school I found friends that have stayed by my side to this day and teachers that became my mentors and role models. Every person I met along the way helped shape me into a caring, thoughtful individual and at the end of my stay at Bashaw, I was gifted the heart award from the school. That is still one of the main highlights of my life, even over graduating.

As someone that personally lived with the effects from residential schools within our own family, moving to Bashaw was an absolutely life-altering event and I’m glad I landed in such a caring community. So if the people of Bashaw want to know how they can help this issue, they already have once, and I can’t thank everyone enough who nurtured me along the way. I’m very proud to call Bashaw my hometown.

Leslie Albert,

First Nations member of Onion Lake Cree Nation, currently residing in Red Deer