The Arctic Council will be led by Canada in 2013 as the federal government commits to making Canada’s north a priority.
For Michelle Valberg, the arctic has always been a priority since she first visited the vast and beautiful lands of Nunavut. The Canadian Photographer has now made over 25 trips to Canada’s arctic in the last five years and is the founder of Project North – a non profit organization that has provided over $400,000 worth of sports equipment to youth in Nunavut communities since its inception in 2009.
“We have chosen to bring sports equipment because of the strong agreement across the country that community sport is one of the most positive forces in the lives of young people today,” said Michelle Valberg.
While visiting Inuit communities on a photography assignment, Valberg noticed children playing hockey with equipment in poor condition or no equipment at all. It was from this first sighting that Project North was born.
The initiatives of the organization have not gone unnoticed by some of the country’s most recognizable names. Mrs. Laureen Harper is the Project North’s Co-Chair and Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators is its Honourary Captain.
There has also been a lot of support from the Ottawa community as local businesses and families have donated generously to Project North’s sports equipment drives.
In October, Michelle Valberg released her first children's book entitled Ben and Nuki Discover Polar Bears with proceeds going towards Project North. It is the first book of its kind to combine educational storytelling with arctic photography that teaches children about a part of Canada that very few people get to visit.
Project North is now gearing up for a new year filled with exciting fundraising activities including a large charity hockey tournament held in Ottawa this upcoming June.
Renewing its commitment in 2013 much like our government, Michelle Valberg and Project North supporters continue to help thousands of Inuit youth in remote communities to ensure they receive the same opportunities and resources as other young Canadians.