Biidaaban Academic Support (now virtual!)

Biidaaban Academic Support (BAS) is a tutoring program for Indigenous youth in grades 6, 7 and 8, with a focus on mathematics and literacy. Nipissing University student volunteers offer one-on-one support online for youth in local schools. 

Program Dates

November 2020 to March 2021.

Schedules are adapted to student needs and tutor availability. 

Program Locations (schools)

Schools to be announced shortly.

Become a Tutor

Open to all Nipissing University students. On average, students tutor for 1-3 hours per week throughout the school year. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives offers free professional development and cultural safety training for interested tutors. Tutoring is offered online and takes place November 2020 to March 2021. Schedules are flexible and vary based on student availability. 

Register as a tutor  

Contact Carrie Demers, Student Placement Coordinator in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, at

You will be invited to: 

    1. Book an interview
    2. Provide a copy of a valid Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC)
    3. Training: See "Tutor Training" tab (*If you have attended our training in years past, you are not required to go through training again, although you are certainly welcome to view webinars of interest to you. Every year offers very different training content.) 

    Community impact

    In order for us to measure the impact of tutoring supports for Indigenous youth and tutors, it is important for tutors to record their work by submitting tutoring reports online. Submit Tutor Report

    Benefits of becoming a Tutor

    Support Community

    • Connect with real people, share in their experiences, learn from them
    • Provide human resources where there is a need
    • Enhance social awareness and sense of responsibility
    • Get to know your community beyond the campus

    Professional Development

    • Meet people and network
    • Learn from experience  
    • Develop skills and broaden knowledge (critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, communication)

    Personal Growth

    • Gain perspective
    • Assess your strengths, motivations and passions
    • Increase understanding of concepts learned in class
    • Get to know yourself in different contexts and in relation to others


    The Office of Indigenous Initiatives recognizes the volunteer work of students in community and provides certification. We also recognize the work by offering incentives including access to free professional development workshops throughout the school year. 

    For tutors who complete 10 hours or more of tutoring: you are invited to submit requests for a variety of education related training (webinars, workshops, etc.) which could include Mental Health First Aid, ASIST, StraightTalk, SafeTalk, Tattered Teddies, First Aid and CPR, inclusive language, etc. Our team will review and evaluate each submission. Approved workshops may be reimbursed in full of subsidized. Please note that funds are limited and this opportunity is available on a first come first served basis. Email Carrie Demers, Student Placement Coordinator, at, with your workshop request. If approved, students pay for the workshop ahead of time, and are reimbursed after attending the workshop. 

    Tutor Training

    A number of free online workshops are offered to students interested in tutoring. Tutors will be asked to view a number of them prior to starting (full description of workshops below).

    Workshop descriptions and presenter biographies

    Duty to Report

    Marcella Nabigon Guerin, Spirit name Mukwa Kwe (Bear Woman) belongs to the (Maang N’dodem) Loon Clan. She has over 20 years experience working with Indigenous, children, families and communities. She is an alumni of the Indigenous SSW program at Canadore College and possess a BSW from Ryerson University and an MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University in the Indigenous Field of Study. Marcella is also a Registered Social Worker. She is a wholistic Indigenous practitioner and believes in using Indigenous healing modalities, cultural practices, ceremonies, teachings and medicines as a means of healing and helping people to restore balance in their lives. Marcella is also bilingual and speaks French and English. Marcella enjoys travelling, cooking, spending time with her family, playing golf and being out on the water.

    Medicine Wheel Wellness

    About the host: Dorothy Beaucage-Kennedy is an Ojibway Elder residing on Nipissing First Nation. Dot lives her life as an Anishnabe Kwe using the Seven Grandfather teachings. She is very knowledgeable in the Ojibway traditions and has supported Indigenous post-secondary students, youth, and families in her work through sharing circles and ceremony.

    Reconciliation and Racism

    Description: All Canadian governments and most of this country's citizens have expressed support for the findings and 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- a seven-year inquiry designed to redress the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and improve the relationship between Canadians and Indigenous Peoples. Canadians must know the Truth of their country's past before they can build Reconciliation in the future.

    About the host: Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation. At various times in his life he has been the publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, communications director for the Assembly of First Nations and Union of Ontario Indians, adjunct professor of Indigenous Studies on the Laurentian University campus, and a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Maurice lives in North Bay, and currently serves on the board of the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre and as a member of Nipissing University's Indigenous Council on Education.

    Setting Healthy Boundaries

    Description: This session will begin with an overview of what boundaries are, beginning more generally then moving to more specific professional boundaries. You will learn tips and tricks on how to set and maintain boundaries in a way that fits with both your own personal values and the expectations of your workplace. Boundaries can be difficult to implement and maintain, so we’ll talk about some of the personal limits as well as external barriers so that you can plan for them and be supported accordingly. Lastly, we’ll do some brief practice in communicating boundaries and you’ll leave with an individualized boundary plan so that you can continue checking in with yourself beyond today’s session.

    About the host: Danielle Morrow, MSc, RP, RMFT Registered Psychotherapist, Student Counselling ServicesDanielle loves the outdoors and is on the lake any chance she gets! Born and raised in North Bay, she feels very grateful and honoured to live and work on the territory of Nipissing First Nations. She is said to be talkative, easy-going, and friendly – mixing in humour whenever she can! She is passionate about collaborating with students to find ways that will enhance their wellness in a way that fits for them!

    Coping Strategies to Deal with Transition to Online Learning & Placement

    Description: Cam’s Kids Foundation, along with Psychotherapist, Joelle Anderson, are working in collaboration with Nipissing University to run a workshop on “Coping Strategies to Deal with Transitions to Online Learning and Placement”. The workshop will focus on things to know when working in placement for a not-for-profit, particularly during COVID-19, and how to manage stress and anxiety related to the adjustment of online learning. Cam’s Kids and Psychotherapist, Joelle Anderson will walk students through a number of mental health exercises, followed by an opportunity for students to ask questions they might have about their placement. Cam’s Kids is excited to bring this informative workshop to the students at Nipissing University!

    About the hosts: Vanessa Morgan is the National Coordinator for Cam’s Kids Foundation and has a BSSc from the University of Ottawa, specializing in Sociology and Psychology. She has been a part of Cam’s Kids for over five years and works alongside over 400 Ambassadors at 24 Universities and Colleges across Canada. Vanessa is passionate about reducing the stigma and raising awareness of mental health!

    Joelle Anderson, MA, RP, CCC Joelle is a Registered Psychotherapist and Certified Canadian Counsellor. Joelle is an expert on Cam’s Kids “Ask the Experts” page on, where she answers questions for free that are related to anxiety and mental health. She has been practicing since 2017, treating a variety of conditions including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders, trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance use disorder and other mental and emotional health concerns. Joelle works both with youth (11+) and adults. To learn more about Joelle, please feel free to check out or contact her at 647-880-7118 or

    Nurturing Effective Self-Learners - Helping Students Not Need Us!

    Description: This session will help to identify what skills students need to improve their self-learning skills, and what you can do to help nurture these skills. Discussion topics include goal-setting, effective praise, developing concentration skills, feedback, and learning from mistakes. We’ve all seen success when we teach students new concepts, but this session aims to help students realize successes as they learn the next concept tomorrow all on their own.

    About the host: Geoff Brown is a certified Kumon Instructor running the North Bay Kumon Centre since 2008. Kumon is the largest supplemental education program with over four million students worldwide and aims to develop self-learning skills with its math or reading curricula. Students begin studying at their own individual level regardless of age and advance at their own pace. Geoff also attained his MEd from Nipissing University where he focused his studies on motivation and self-efficacy in education.

    Using the Rumie App - Breaking Down Barriers of Distance Learning

    Description: Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 60% of adolescents faced barriers to quality learning and 54% of adults lacked skills training to adapt to a changing job market. Now the need is greater than ever. Rumie makes learning resources available to learners for free, wherever they are. This workshop will teach participants how to access and even create tools and resources accessible through any browser or the Rumie App, online and offline.  

    About the host: Mair is Rumie’s Director of Indigenous Programs. She graduated from Nipissing University with an Honours B.A. in Criminal Justice. Mair has worked with Indigenous youth for roughly a decade in the justice system and with the Biidaaban Community Service-Learning and Wiidooktaadwin Aboriginal Mentorship programs at Nipissing University.

    Mair’s family spread throughout Canada from Kebaowek First Nation, Quebec to her hometown of North Bay, Ontario into Victoria and Cowichan Valley, British Columbia. Mair believes that Rumie solutions and technology will support healthy ways of living for communities, and that this will lead to positive pathways for learning.

    Niminowaazmin (Year-end celebration)

    Niminowaazmin is the Office of Indigenous Initiatives' year-end celebration for Biidaaban youth programs including Biidaaban Youth Group and Biidaaban Academic Support, honouring the successes of participating youth, their families, as well as our partners, tutors, student volunteers and employees. 

    Niminowaazmin is an Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) word that means "we are celebrating".

    Virtual activities to include traditional teachings, cultural and artistic activities, games, and door prizes. 

    When: Sunday, March 28th, 2021, 1:30pm - 3:30pm 

    Where: Online. Link to be provided closer to the date. 

    RSVP: Contact Carrie Demers, Student Placement Coordinator at


    Biidaaban Academic Support is presented in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, the Near North District School Board, the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, and Nbisiing Secondary School at Nipissing First Nation. 

    For more information, contact Christine Benoit, Biidaaban Community Service-Learning Officer, 705-474-3450 x4586 /