North in Focus (NIF) is a youth-run organization, founded by Students on Ice alumni, that leads mental health promotion workshops to decrease suicide in Northern Canadian communities. The NIF experience combines peer education and anti- stigma programming with art, physical recreation, and reflection activities. In addition, NIF contributes to healthy and supportive communities by aiming to reduce stigma and connect individuals to local mental health resources.
North in Focus’ first workshop was facilitated in the community of Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik, in February 2016. This initiative, called Northern Lights, was partially funded by SOI’s Tarek and Sophie Inspiration Grant, and Polar Knowledge Canada’s POLAR Inspiration Grant, two opportunities offered exclusively to SOI alumni. NIF’s second workshop was held in Nain, Nunatsiavut, in October 2016. The Nain in Focus program engaged numerous SOI alumni as both participants and co-facilitators, including Ocean Wyatt who now sits on NIF’s Board of Advisors.
Furthermore, North in Focus participated in the first round of projects promoted on SOI’s crowd-funding platform, Polar Catalyst, and surpassed their $1000 goal. NIF now works to further the Students on Ice mandate to educate youth about the polar regions through their Ambassador Program, and also supports the personal growth of SOI alumni who participate in their mental health workshops. North in Focus is one example of the many positive actions taken by Students on Ice participants post-expedition, and this partnership sets the stage for many more!