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Colleen Klein named BVC's Executive Advocate, Aboriginal Programming

November 3, 2006

Calgary, AB - Today at the 13th Annual Bow Valley College Premier's Scholarship Luncheon, President Sharon Carry announced the appointment of Colleen Klein as the College's Executive Advocate, Aboriginal Programming.

"Dr. Klein is a tireless volunteer who works to bring out the best in people As one of Alberta's most highly respected Métis women, she brings to us considerable experience and passion for Aboriginal Peoples," said Carry. "We value Dr. Klein's longstanding commitment to voicing the issues of the Aboriginal community. We look forward to her thoughtful guidance as BVC moves ahead with enriched programming and support for Aboriginal students."

Based on a 2001 census, 48 per cent of Aboriginal peoples aged 15 and up have less than a high school education. As a leader in adult high school upgrading programs, this Bow Valley College role is the perfect fit for Dr. Klein.

"Bow Valley College recognizes the potential in each of its students," said Klein. "My commitment is to assist and advocate in the development of a solid educational foundation that will encourage Aboriginal students to recognize and embrace their own potential and to seize opportunities that will help them realize their dreams."

Klein's appointment expands BVC's expertise and commitment to providing culturally-appropriate Aboriginal programming that responds to the changing needs of our province's workforce. This announcement is reflective of BVC's ongoing commitment to be a partner in the development of an energized and dynamic downtown Calgary and in southern Alberta's social, cultural, and economic well-being.

The Executive Advocate, Aboriginal Programming will:
● act as a bridge and liaison with Alberta's Aboriginal communities to ensure BVC is meeting their program needs through programs that will support Aboriginal people when they transition into new and existing BVC programs;
● advise and mentor BVC staff and faculty.

Private donors have contributed to support the Executive Advocate, Aboriginal Programming. The position is a one-year term with the possibility of an extension to three years. Klein, who will receive an honorarium, takes on the new role in early 2007.

The new role dovetails with BVC's existing expansion and academic plans to increase our enrolment to 20,000 students. One of the many exciting initiatives being considered as part of BVC's $134 million expansion is an Aboriginal Centre that would provide a unique space for Aboriginal students and other members of the BVC community to gather, study, and interact. Klein will assist the College in developing this Centre to ensure it meets the needs of Aboriginal students.

This input will be most welcome, states Carry. "With nearly 600 Aboriginal students, BVC is more committed than ever to expand our Aboriginal offerings as we grow our College to better serve the needs of our community. Dr. Klein's knowledge, experience and leadership will most certainly ensure BVC continues to provide Aboriginal peoples with the career training opportunities that they and all Albertans deserve."

Bow Valley College is a leader in health and business career training, adult upgrading and English as a Second Language. Each year, more than 11,000 students attend Bow Valley College at eight locations in Calgary and at more than 20 communities in southern Alberta. In its 40-year history, BVC has helped more than 250,000 students get there faster.

BACKGROUNDER - Nov. 3, 2006

Colleen Klein Biography

Supporting Bow Valley College

For many years now, Dr. Klein has been a strong public supporter of the role Bow Valley College plays in helping over 11,000 students annually to LEARN A BETTER LIVING.

Colleen and her husband Ralph Klein created an endowed scholarship for Bow Valley College students in 2003. The Ralph and Colleen Klein Scholarship of $1,600 is awarded to two full- or part-time students from any BVC department. Priority is given to single mothers with dependent children. The students must demonstrate academic excellence and the award supports financial need - assisting disadvantaged students who are in a financial need situation that is a barrier to their studies.

Supporting Aboriginal Peoples

Colleen's pride in her Métis heritage is reflected in her focus on the health and well-being of Alberta's Aboriginal communities. She has participated in Crossroads Women's Sharing Circles, the Aboriginal Health Conference and Children's Mental Health Conference, and she sits on the Board of the Awo Taan Native Women's Shelter Society. In 2003, she was inducted into Kainaakiiksi, a women's society of the Blood Tribe, and given the Blackfoot name Tanataakii, which means Wonderful Lady. She received the 2001 Esquao Circle of Honour Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women.

Supporting Her Community

Colleen Klein is an active member of Alberta's large and dedicated community of volunteers. While her role as wife of Premier Ralph Klein has given her the opportunity to support a variety of worthy causes, Colleen invests most of her time on those that contribute to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children and youth. In 2002, her efforts were recognized with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Calgary, which she humbly accepted on behalf of her fellow volunteers and the children she serves.

She recently co-chaired the Premier's Task Force on Crystal Methamphetamine. She continues to raise awareness and help reduce the incidence of Aboriginal teen suicide by prescription drug abuse. She is also a passionate advocate for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder awareness and prevention.

In addition, Colleen worked with a number of children and family service organizations, with a focus on those working to lessen the impact of high-risk behaviour and violence in children's lives. She was Honorary Chair of the Alberta Roundtable on Family Violence and Bullying and Alberta's Promise, was an active volunteer with the Alberta Children's Forum, the Southern Alberta Child and Youth Health Network, Edmonton Kids Kottage, Calgary Children's Cottage, Kids Help Phone and Parent's Help Line, Legacy Children's Foundation, Turn off the Violence, Street Teams, Avenue 15 Shelter for homeless youth, and the Canadian Diabetes Association's Camp Jean Nelson. She was a member of the Faculty of Medicine's Dean's Advisory Council at the University of Calgary, Honourary Chair of the Red Deer Hospice Society and a supporter of the Aventa Addiction Treatment Centre for Women and Calgary's Youville Women's Residence.

In addition to children's and Aboriginal community causes, Colleen has lent her support to the Canadian Liver Foundation, Special Olympics, Heritage Community Foundation and Culinary Team Alberta.

Her past volunteer activities include duties as Chair of Alberta's 100th Anniversary Strategy Committee and as a member of the team of community supporters and stakeholders that worked toward Alberta's Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act.

Colleen was born in Victoria, B.C. on November 26, 1940 and educated in B.C., Ontario and Calgary. She married Ralph Klein on July 22, 1972. They share five children, eleven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Bow Valley College currently offers the following Aboriginal programming:

Marlborough Mall Campus (dedicated Aboriginal Campus):
. Aboriginal Integrated Training Program
. Aboriginal Upgrading Program

Main Campus, Downtown Calgary:
. Aboriginal Practical Nurse Enhanced Certificate
. Aboriginal LAPS (Literacy and Parenting Skills)

Morley, Alberta
. Computer Training Chiniki First Nation
. Computer Training Wesley First Nation

Eden Valley, Alberta
. Upgrading program

Various Locations Throughout Alberta
. First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) Community Liaison Certificate Program

Media Contact
Fred Cheney
Media Relations Officer
345 - 6 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 4V1
Office: 403-410-1702
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