Sask Polytech Outstanding Citizenship Winner hopes to bring her sober message to others

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald (L to R) Laiken Beliveau received the Outstanding Citizenship Award for the Prince Albert Campus of Sask Polytech from President Larry Rosia at the convocation ceremony at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday.

When she crossed the stage on Thursday at the Saskatchewan Polytech convocation at the Art Hauser Centre, Laiken Belliveau received more than a diploma in Mental Health and Addictions Counselling
Belliveau, who is originally from Saskatoon but attends the Prince Albert campus, also received the Outstanding Citizenship Award from Sask Polytech President Larry Rosia.
Belliveau, who has overcome addictions herself, saw the award as an accomplishment.
“It’s like a personal achievement that I never thought would happen to me,” she said. “I lived my life in addiction for many years and (went) straight down the wrong path. Receiving this award, to me, just solidifies all the hard work I’ve done to get where I am. I’m just very proud
of myself and honoured.”
Belliveau is passionate about mental health and actively participated in the Bell Let’s Talk events on campus in both 2023 and 2024. She said overcoming her own struggles led her to want to help others.
“I love to help people that have been in similar situations,” she said. “I do some community work within Saskatoon, which is my home city, just handing out supplies, whether it’s hygiene supplies or winter gloves, socks to the people that are living on the streets and kind
of like the vulnerable population, and just interacting with them, there’s so much stigma and judgment. I feel like a lot of them don’t get the kindness or time of the day from a lot of people, so I really like to just have small interactions with them to remind them that they’re
human too.”
Belliveau was in active addiction for six years before becoming sober. She started off using opiates before getting sober. However, she later began using meth, and was an IV user for about a year.
“Opiates, five years, meth a year, and I was able to—I say by the grace of Suboxone—come off opiates,” she said. “That really saved my life, and then a counselor that I met at one of them facilities I attended really put things into perspective for me and I give him kudos for just
making me realize that things can be different and that I can change.”
Belliveau said she hopes she make an impact in other lives the way that counsellor made an impact in hers.
“I would love to be able to even just give that to one person, whether that means they do one small thing in their life that makes a big impact or they go on to become a doctor, get a degree, whatever,” she said.
Belliveau currently works at the Saskatchewan Tribal Council Health Centre for her job and at the Saskatchewan Impaired Driver Treatment Centre as a casual position.
“I’m working with people that just came out of jail and are finishing like the three weeks of their center at the treatment center or people that are court ordered to do three weeks of treatment,” she said.
“It’s very skills based, which is great,” she added.
Belliveau openly shares her journey of addiction recovery, educating peers and serving as a casual outreach worker at STC Health Centre.
As far as her career, however, she’s still considering her next steps.
“I’ve been looking and kind of just applying wherever is hiring at the moment,” she said. “I don’t necessarily know whether I want to take an outreach position or a detox position. I’m just going to try and figure it out as I go and be grateful for any experience that I get.”
The 31-year-old Belliveau has been sober for five years in July. She said that she feels like she started late in life.
“But I’m young still. I have lots of time to figure it out,” she said.
“I’m grateful for the award (and) grateful for Sask Polytech. That has been a great program. It’s been a heavy workload, but it’s been worth it.”
Belliveau pointed to instructor Noelle Seidlikoski from her program as someone who really helped her along the way.
“She really challenged me and I think it really let me out of my shell and more comfortable and confident in the skills that I do have. She kind of pushed me and that just really worked for the way that I learn and I’m appreciative of it because I think I’m a better person and
counselor because of that.”
At the convocation several other awards were handed out Jennifer Bolds was the recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal for the highest average in the Prince Albert campus Adult 12 program.
Andrew Evan Kuras, a graduate of the Resource and Environmental Law diploma program, received the Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medal for the highest average at the Prince Albert campus.
Angela Letendre, a Business instructor at Prince Albert campus was honoured for her commitment to teaching. Letendre was awarded the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Teaching Award. In a special gesture to celebrate students from India, she orchestrated a Holi
festival, a traditional Hindu celebration welcoming the arrival of spring. Furthermore, Letendre has curated engaging learning experiences for her students such as the blanketexercise, an interactive educational activity that teaches the history of colonization in Canada.
Sask Polytech awarded an honorary degree in Applied Studies to Chief Tammy CookSearson of Lac La Ronge Indian Band.