Clarisa is a former participant and mentor with Kitselas Five Tier. She completed the Kitselas Community-Led Apprenticeship Development program in carpentry at the end of 2021, following which she completed her Level 2 carpentry apprenticeship.

Back in 2020, when COVID-19 hit, she decided against running for elected Band Council again. However, the idea of career change felt impossible. With children to take care of and bills to pay, she couldn’t imagine going back to school. Then, she happened to look at one of the K5T newsletters and learned about the community-led carpentry program.

She was initially motivated to take carpentry by a desire to be able to fix her own home and to build a smokehouse for her father. But carpentry became so much more for her as she soon realized the importance of building a nation from the infrastructure perspective, which added to her political perspective. “Housing is a major need in our community”, and Clarisa was delighted to be involved in finding solutions for the community.

Through the KCAD program, Clarisa loved being able to learn on Kitselas land and look out on the Skeena river from the classroom. Building on Kitselas land was a significant motivator for her and she particularly enjoyed participating in building the shop. She also appreciated the many supports provided by K5T. For instance, when her car broke down, she knew she could use the K5T shuttle service.

Clarisa has a lot of employment experience, and she has been a valuable mentor to other students coming through the program. Her goal is to help show others that career change is possible – you don’t have to know from the start what you want to do forever. In her words: “your career is for the taking for you right now.”