A great day at Winnipeg’s 2017 Plane Pull & Kickoff!

by Sean Ledwich on September 15, 2017 Comments Off on A great day at Winnipeg’s 2017 Plane Pull & Kickoff!

A little rain could not dampen the spirits of generous Winnipeggers who pulled together to raise a record amount for youth mental health!

Thousands of Winnipeggers and 68 teams of pullers showed their support for our city today at the 14th Annual Plane Pull and Kickoff for United Way Winnipeg’s 2017 Campaign.

Almost $60,000 was raised by participants, a record amount (with more to come in the next week!) All the money raised will create more mental health support for youth, one of the four priority areas in United Way’s Three Years for a Better Winnipeg plan.

“Thank you for being here to show your love for our community and your dedication to pulling together for a better Winnipeg for all of us,” said Colin Ryan, United Way’s volunteer chair for the 2017 Campaign, flanked on stage by the 2017 Campaign Cabinet.

“More and more, Winnipeggers are reaching out with kindness every single day; sharing our pride and shaping a Winnipeg we can all be proud to call home.

That’s exactly the spirit of United Way, and the reason I’m so proud to be involved.

It’s all about Winnipeggers helping Winnipeggers. Because there are times in ALL our lives when we may need a little help.”

Payworks earned the Top Fundraising title.

Payworks earned the Top Fundraising title.

Payworks was the top fundraising team with an amazing $10,801 raised, while top individual fundraisers were Ken Reddig, $2,250; Dee dela Cruz, $1,775; Trevor MacHutchon, $1620; Trisha Davey, 1,534.70; and Lauren Himbeault, $1,505.

The Team Spirit award was taken down by Bell MTS.

Also note there is STILL TIME TO FUNDRAISE and win some amazing prizes! You have until Friday, September 22 at 4 p.m. to qualify for a super sweet Rocky Mountain trip. Fundraise to earn extra chances to win this incredible prize courtesy of VIA Rail and Shelter Canadian Properties Ltd.

The fastest pullers on the two planes were Richardson International, who pulled the Lockheed C-130 Hercules 20 feet in a smoking 9.15 seconds, and the 17 Wing Winnipeg 1 team who flew the Boeing 727 in 7.75 seconds. See all results below.

Wawanesa Insurance, the Presenting Sponsor for the day, fielded a spirited team in blue.

Wawanesa Insurance, the Presenting Sponsor for the day, fielded a spirited team in blue.

Congratulations to everyone and thank you for making it a great day, and a special thank you to Red River College and their Stevenson Campus for their hard work and hospitality again this year!

PLANE PULL RESULTS:

Boeing 727

17 Winnipeg Winnipeg 1 7.75
Western Marble and Tile 8.36
National Bank Financial 8.63
17 Wing Winnipeg 2 8.86
Standard Aero 8.9
Toromont Cat 9.06
Epic – Bell MTS 9.09
Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP 9.15
Canada Revenue Agency 9.15
Workers Compensation Board 9.18
Boeing 9.21
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. 9.27
Quintex 9.3
University of Winnipeg 9.36
Birchwood Credit Solution 9.36
Royal Canadian Mint 9.56
CIBC 9.57
New Flyer 9.57
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 9.66
Wellington-Altus Private Wealth 9.66
Manitoba E-Health 9.84
PCL 10.03
Motor Coach Industries 10.12
Number Ten Architectural Group 10.15
Princess Auto 1 10.18
TD Canada Trust 10.18
HUB International 10.18
Bell MTS 10.3
Johnston Group 10.39
Princess Auto 2 10.42
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 10.42
Fillmore Riley LLP 10.45
Online Business Systems 10.48
Pluri-Elles 10.53
Canad Inns 10.75
EIC Shared Services 10.78
Manulife Financial 10.81
Mantioba Blue Cross 10.87
United Way Staff 10.87
People Corporation 10.93
United Way GenNext 11
AAA Alarms 11.36
MLT Aikins 11.66
Taylor McCaffrey 11.72
The Dufresne Group 11.78
Health Sciences Centre 11.9
CNIB 12.33
Cargill Limited 12.72
Canadian Mental Health Association 13.72

Hercules C-130

Richardson International 9.15
Manitoba Hydro 9.48
Red River College 9.82
Northwest Company 10
RBC 10.51
Bold Commerce 10.6
Deloitte 10.63
MNP 10.75
Stantec 10.81
Manitoba Public Insurance 10.84
United Way Winnipeg Cabinet 11
National Leasing 11.03
Manitoba Institute for Trades and Technology 11.09
Cambrian Credit Union 11.33
United Way Agency Team 11.36
Payworks 11.45
Marymound 11.93
Color Ad Packaging 12.36
Wawanesa 12.81
Great West Life Assurance Company 13.02

 

And thank you to all the wonderful sponsors!

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Sean LedwichA great day at Winnipeg’s 2017 Plane Pull & Kickoff!

How to find affordable after-school activities.

by Sean Ledwich on September 12, 2017 Comments Off on How to find affordable after-school activities.

After-school programming benefits the whole family.

From mom-and-baby classes to post-kindergarten playdates, there’s lots of stuff for little kids to do to keep them busy and socially engaged before nap time. But once they start school, opportunities for extracurricular engagement start to drop.

“There’s a complete mismatch between the end of the school day and the end of parents’ workdays,” says Daljit Gill-Badesha, a healthy communities and children’s programs manager.

“And children in the six-to-12 age group are more vulnerable at this time than any other. Unfortunately, many kids lack opportunities to be meaningfully engaged and active after school.”

That’s a problem because “kids need after-school time to develop socially, to explore their limits and to manage peer relationships in a creative, open environment,” says Emma Sutherland, executive director at a United Way agency in that gives Indigenous and inner-city children access to recreation, food and cultural programs designed to foster healthy living, leadership and employment training.

And quality after-school programming doesn’t just benefit kids. “For some parents, especially the working poor, these few hours of childcare, where they know their kids are safe, happy and supervised, can make all the difference,” says Sutherland. “These programs also create opportunities for community bonding for parents who need a little extra social support.” Here’s how to find the best after-school programs in your area.

Ask kids for input

Gill-Badesha recommends asking kids what they want to do. “When we’re talking to kids, they’ll say, ‘We have ideas, we know what we want. You need to work with us more.’” she says. “These kids have so much potential, and they want places to act on that potential.” Just a trip to your local library can offer them an array of choices, from book and Lego clubs to homework help to games and crafts days.

Find a team

Most communities offer organized sports teams, but there are also multisport leadership programs funded by non-profit organizations, as well as programs designed to keep kids physically active available through city recreation centres, arenas and pools. “Whether it’s sports-oriented or a form of creative play, play in itself gives children opportunities that lead to mastery, which is so important for self-esteem,” says Sutherland.

Let them lead

Look for organizations that get kids involved in community leadership projects, giving them the chance to develop their leadership potential. Some great options include United Way-supported Girl Guides of Canada (three areas of Winnipeg) and Boys & Girls’ Clubs of Winnipeg. At Sutherland’s agency, programs geared toward physical literacy are led by Indigenous youth who may then progress to supervisors and, eventually, become staff members. “It’s an important opportunity for all children to see Indigenous youth in leadership positions,” says Sutherland.

Last year young people found positive mentorship, safety and support at 41 out-of-school programs offered through United Way Winnipeg-supported agencies including:

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Sean LedwichHow to find affordable after-school activities.

Generosity at 25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament

by Sean Ledwich on August 24, 2017 Comments Off on Generosity at 25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament

The 25th Annual United Way Winnipeg Golf Tournament brought more than 140 golfers on 36 teams to the beautiful Bel Acres Golf & Country Club last week.

Together they raised more than $114,000 to support United Way’s work with a network of programs and agencies that help thousands of Winnipeggers each year. This wonderful generosity brought the 25-year total for the tournament to over $1.3 million!

“On behalf of the 2017 Golf Committee, thank you all for joining us today to support United Way’s essential work in our community,” said 2017 volunteer Golf Tournament Chair Serena Brennan.

Volunteer Golf Committee Chair Serena Brennan, right, presents a cheque to Marilyn McLaren, volunteer Chair of United Way Winnipeg’s Board of Trustees.

Volunteer Golf Committee Chair Serena Brennan, right, presents a cheque to Marilyn McLaren, volunteer Chair of United Way Winnipeg’s Board of Trustees.

After golf, Dilly Knol, Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre – one of 24 United Way-supported family resource centres – talked about the work her centre does to provide support to kids and families in Winnipeg’s North End. Andrews Street has been a United Way partner for as long as the golfers have been teeing off in the annual tournament – 25 years!

Serena Brennan thanks Dilly Knol, Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre, for speaking to tournament participants about the essential role her centre plays for kids and families in the North End.

Serena Brennan thanks Dilly Knol, Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre, for speaking to tournament participants about the essential role her centre plays for kids and families in the North End.

The annual golf tournament could not happen without the effort of many fantastic volunteers and a volunteer committee that works so hard to make the day a success. Thank you!

The 2016 Golf Tournament Committee.

The 2017 Golf Tournament Committee.

The tournament also could not happen without the support of many wonderful sponsors.

A special thank you to Rogers, the Title Sponsor; MNP and CIBC, Tee Gift Sponsors; Samsung, Dinner Sponsor; The Fairmont Winnipeg, Lunch Sponsor; Birchwood Automotive Group, Putting Green Sponsor; Johnston Group, Golf Cart Sponsor, Vins Philippe Dandurand Wines, the Wine Sponsor; and thank you to ALL of our sponsors for their generous support:

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Sean LedwichGenerosity at 25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament

Celebrating our strengths and differences.

by Sean Ledwich on June 22, 2017 Comments Off on Celebrating our strengths and differences.

About 400 Winnipeggers came together on June 15 at The Forks for United Way’s Community Luncheon & AGM to recognize volunteerism and the great things we accomplish together.

Host CBC’s Marcy Markusa welcomed the, “donors, volunteers, agency partners; friends from labour, business, government and all walks of life,” in attendance, all of whom received a copy of United Way Winnipeg’s 2016-17 Annual Report.

Everyone got a copy of United Way's 2016-17 Annual Report at the Community Luncheon & AGM.

Everyone got a copy of United Way’s 2016-17 Annual Report at the Community Luncheon & AGM.

Marcy recognized how the land – Treaty One Land, homeland of the Metis Nation – “connects us to Winnipeg’s roots – to our community’s roots. It also symbolizes a space that connects us to one another, and to our dreams for a brighter future.”

Marcy Markusa talked about her love for our community, and how our differences make us strong.

Marcy Markusa talked about her love for our community, and how our differences make us strong.

“We gather at this community lunch to recognize and celebrate the difference every single one of you makes in the lives of our fellow Winnipeggers.”

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, acknowledged the amazing generosity of Winnipeggers, who gave more than $20 million last year – the first year of United Way’s community-guided three-year plan to help more kids and families in Winnipeg.

The plan has a two-fold vision, Marilyn said, “that we keep strong an existing network of services, and that we push ourselves as a community to go further to help more kids and families that need help.”

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, gave thanks to the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, gave thanks to the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

The continued generosity of United Way donors, will “keep an essential network of more than 100 agencies, partners and programs stable and available for thousands who access them on a daily basis,” while allowing United Way to advance work under the community plan to provide more mentors for kids, increase mental health supports for youth, offer more job skills and money management training, and ensure families have more neighbourhood-based support close to home through family resource centres.

Marilyn also tipped her hat to representatives from the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

“Their tireless efforts ensure that Winnipeggers who need help have somewhere to turn. They offer hope and opportunity to thousands every day. It is difficult to find the words to describe our gratitude for the difference they make in our community.”

Marilyn called volunteers – people that United Way agency partners depend upon – the foundation of all we do.

“Giving of your time and talent to make our community a better place is a special kind of gift that we can all celebrate. Volunteering builds bridges, new relationships, and new understandings. It spreads kindness and love into places where it is needed most.”

Three volunteers retiring from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees were recognized with certificates of appreciation and acknowledgement of their generous contributions – Dr. Neil Besner, Krista Boryskavich, and Dr. Jodene Baker.

Dr. Jodene Baker was one of three volunteers recognized for their contributions upon their retirement from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Jodene Baker was one of three volunteers recognized for their contributions upon their retirement from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

The day included greetings from the Honourable Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba, and His Worship Mayor Brian Bowman.

Great-West Life and James Richardson & Sons Limited and affiliated companies received the United Way Thanks a Million Award. The annual award is presented to national organizations – and their employees – whose generosity and culture of community spirit stand as an example for all of us to follow.

“Be it as a donor, volunteer, or partner, you are a very real part of changing people’s lives every day in OUR city. Our city still has challenges. We still have work we need to do, together. What is clear, though, is that Winnipeg’s foundation is strong, and it’s future full of hope.”

 

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Sean LedwichCelebrating our strengths and differences.

Winnipeg high school students show they care at 11 community agencies.

by Sean Ledwich on May 24, 2017 Comments Off on Winnipeg high school students show they care at 11 community agencies.

The annual United Way Youth Day of Caring is a chance for youth to contribute to and learn about our community.

Youth volunteers outside the MERC on Friday before leaving for their volunteer shifts.

Youth volunteers outside the MERC on Friday before leaving for their volunteer shifts.

About 120 Winnipeg high school students embarked from the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre (MERC) on Friday to volunteer at 11 area non-profit agencies for the annual United Way Youth Day of Caring.

Youth United council members Ryan, Emily, and Kelvin greeted youth with smiles and shirts.

Youth United council members Ryan, Emily, and Kelvin greeted youth with smiles and shirts.

Youth United council member Emily Kroft welcomed youth into the MERC gym with a smile and a t-shirt. The university student said the youth were excited and happy to be part of the day.

“It’s awesome for all these young people to be volunteering,” Emily said.

Youth United council member Taylor McNulty guides youth through a workshop to help them consider what they care about in their community.

Youth United council member Taylor McNulty guides youth through a workshop to help them consider what they care about in their community.

A United Way Day of Caring is an opportunity for school and workplace groups to partner with a United Way agency or other non-profit organization to lend a hand on a project that contributes to community development, renewal, and pride.

The annual Youth Day of Caring is not only a way for young people to contribute, but it’s a chance for them to learn about the important work happening at social agencies doing front-line work to make our city better every day.

After choosing volunteer projects youth took a little time for ice-breaking and introductions.

After choosing volunteer projects youth took a little time for ice-breaking and introductions.

At the West Broadway Community Organization (WBCO), a community renewal and development organization, several youth helped prepare communal growing plots in the Spirit Park Community Garden.

Youth cart the tools needed to volunteer at the Spirit Park Community Garden in West Broadway.

Youth cart the tools needed to volunteer at the Spirit Park Community Garden in West Broadway.

The garden is “vital to the community’s well-being,” said Zorya Arrow, who manages WBCO’s greenspace program and does community outreach.

WBCO's Zorya Arrow shows youth the difference between weeds and a strawberry plant.

WBCO’s Zorya Arrow shows youth the difference between weeds and a strawberry plant.

Zorya showed the youth how to weed the garden beds and explained composting before putting them to work cleaning and planting.

Youth learn about composting.

Youth learn about composting.

At WestEnd Commons youth wielded power drills to reinforce a garden box that will be used to grow food for the non-profit’s 82 residents, 42 of which are children.

Haley Morrow drives a screw to strengthen a garden box at WestEnd Commons.

Haley Morrow drives a screw to strengthen a garden box at WestEnd Commons.

“I feel privileged to get this opportunity. I’m just happy right now to be helping,” said Haley Morrow, 15, who said the Day of Caring experience has inspired her to volunteer more in her life.

Students in the community garden at WestEnd Commons.

Students in the community garden at WestEnd Commons.

John Hutton, executive director of the John Howard Society (JHS), was thrilled to have youth help clean up a basement space they will be opening up to another social agency.
“They’re great. They actually know how to clean and they’ve been enthusiastic,” said John.

Youth and JHS's John Hutton take a break for a photo.

Youth and JHS’s John Hutton take a break for a photo.

Most of the kids didn’t know about the JHS and the work the United Way agency partner does to help men successfully re-integrate into society after involvement with the criminal justice system.

“Volunteering connects kids to their community. They get a chance to say they’ve made things better, and they can learn a lot.”

At Thrive Community Support Circle youth washed windows, sorted donations and organized racks in the Thrift Shop, and helped with kids in the daycare.

The Thrift Shop is a social enterprise that supports the work of Thrive – a neighbourhood family centre and United Way agency partner that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes and monthly emergency food and baby-supply services.

Youth volunteers at Thrive.

Youth volunteers at Thrive.

Thrift Shop Coordinator Kristy Muckosky said the youth did “more work in three hours than we usually get done in two days.”

Organizing clothing racks in the Thrift Shop.

Organizing clothing racks in the Thrift Shop.

“It’s also neat to see their perspective of a place like this. You can tell that it’s eye-opening and they’re eager to help.”

Sorting donations for the Thrive Thrift Shop.

Sorting donations for the Thrive Thrift Shop.

After two hours of volunteering the youth returned on foot to the MERC gym for a lunch of pizza, generously donated by Santa Lucia Pizza. They spent the afternoon sharing their experiences and participating in workshops and presentations.

Returning to the MERC.

Returning to the MERC.

They also heard from an inspiring young woman, Lavonne Spencer, 21, who told them about growing up in the West End and attending after-school and sports programs at Spence Neighbourhood Association.

Lavonne said some people have a negative stereotype of the West End – that it’s all about drugs and gangs and crime. She used to have the same stereotype of the North End, until she spent time there and saw the truth – that it’s a strong community full of proud people and families living positive lives.

The inspiring Lavonne Spencer.

The inspiring Lavonne Spencer.

“Do not limit yourself. I challenge you to go into new communities and meet new people. See things through their eyes, and leave a legacy there,” Lavonne told the youth.

Thank you to all the youth who participated in United Way’s Youth Day of Caring 2017. Your spirit, enthusiasm, and generosity are the ingredients for thriving communities for generations to come!

Creating fertile ground for tomorrow in the community garden behind the MERC.

Creating fertile ground for tomorrow in the community garden behind the MERC.

To learn more about United Way Day of Caring volunteer opportunities contact our Community Involvement Manager at 204-924-4273 or mburgess@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca.

If you are a community organization that needs help with a project or event, please fill out a Day of Caring request form and email or fax it to Melissa at mburgess@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca or 204-453-6198

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Sean LedwichWinnipeg high school students show they care at 11 community agencies.

Amazing prizes for Plane Pull 2017!

by Sean Ledwich on May 23, 2017 Comments Off on Amazing prizes for Plane Pull 2017!

ALL online fundraisers are entered to win a week-long Rocky Mountain odyssey!

All money raised at Plane Pull goes directly towards mental health support for youth AND counts towards your workplace campaign total, but did you also know you can win some amazing prizes?! HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN WIN!!!

Grand Prize – Rocky Mountain Adventure
EVERYONE who registers online is entered to win a breathtaking odyssey to the Canadian Rockies:

  • Round trip for two people on VIA Rail between Winnipeg and Jasper courtesy of VIA Rail
  • 6 nights/7 days at the beautiful Lake Louise Inn (Queen room) courtesy of Canadian Properties Limited*

Top 5 Individual Fundraiser Prizes (choose from the following):

  • One of two prizes of $1000 in free gas from ESSO
  • A weekend BMW luxury car rental courtesy of Birchwood Automotive Group, $50 gift certificate to The Forks, one night stay at Inn at the Forks (King room, parking and breakfast for two)
  • 8 complimentary passes for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, including a special tour with CMHR CEO, John Young, one night stay at the Fairmont Hotel, $50 gift certificate to The Keg, 2 tickets to attend a Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performance of your choice
  • 2 passes to Assiniboine Park Zoo + art books & prints, Fort Whyte family membership & book, 2 VIP cards for free golf/free food for a family of 4 at Shooters Family Golf Centre, 4 free passes to Thunder Rapids

Top Team Fundraiser Prize

  • 20 tickets to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers home game and an on-field experience!

Team Steam Prize (fastest time)

  • Top team prizes to be announced – STAY TUNED!

Team Spirit (best cheer)

  • 20 free passes to the Golf Dome for a free round of mini golf

Also included in your flight:

  • Fundraise $50 to get a nifty, super handy portable phone chargers
  • Fundraise $150 to get a cozy, limited edition Plane Pull sweatshirt AND phone charger

Register your team now! Registration $300/team. Questions? Call the events team at 204-477-5360 or email events@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

*Please note the following Rocky Mountain prize conditions: VIA Rail tickets valid for two people (economy class) for return travel on any two points served by VIA Rail Canada between Winnipeg and Jasper. VIA Rail voucher expires September 15, 2018. VIA Rail tickets not valid from December 20 – January 5; Lake Louise Inn voucher excludes Easter long weekend, the period from June 15 – September 15 and December 24 – January 2. Lake Louise Inn voucher expires September 30, 2018. This prize package does not include transportation from Jasper to Lake Louise.

Thank you to all our generous sponsors…

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Sean LedwichAmazing prizes for Plane Pull 2017!

Kindness is the key

by Sean Ledwich on May 12, 2017 Comments Off on Kindness is the key

Kindness makes our community better for everyone, and on May 10 Manitobans helped spread kindness during United Way’s third annual day of Conscious Kindness.

 

Schools, workplaces, and Manitobans everywhere showed their spirit and inspiration to care about each other and themselves.

The day coincided with a proclamation by the Province of Manitoba declaring May 7-13 as Kindness Week, and with help from some friends and partners United Way served up goodies during a Kindness Drive-Thru at 580 Main Street during the morning hours.

Friends from United Way Brandon and United Way Portage Plains spread kindness through their communities, making it the first truly province-wide Conscious Kindness Day.

Psychologists from Kindness partner Winnlove.ca were on hand to spread the message that “when we are kind to each other, our relationships improve, even with strangers,” – helping us build community and social supports.

Winnlove's message about the benefits of spreading kindness was shred with people, along with a treat, at the United Way Drive Thru

Winnlove’s message about the benefits of spreading kindness was shred with people, along with a treat, at the United Way Drive Thru

Here’s just a few of the kind acts shared over social media…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindness drive-thru open now until 9-ish! Come to 580 Main St. for kindness and treats! #kindmb #gentilmb

A post shared by United Way Winnipeg (@unitedwaywpg) on

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Sean LedwichKindness is the key

Tax season brings help for Manitobans

by Sean Ledwich on February 2, 2017 Comments Off on Tax season brings help for Manitobans

Helping low-income Manitobans prepare their tax returns reaps big rewards.

The cost of income tax preparation is significant for some low-income Manitobans, but the cost of not doing their taxes can be even more significant in lost benefits and credits.

Enter Community Financial Counselling Services (CFCS) – a United Way agency partner that offers financial counselling, education and advocacy for people; especially high-risk populations facing financial challenges.

Since 2008 CFSC has worked in partnership with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to provide free income tax preparation to 10,000 Manitobans annually through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

CFCS Executive Director John Silver expressed appreciation last April to volunteers who worked preparing taxes for low-income Manitobans.

CFCS Executive Director John Silver expressed appreciation last April to volunteers who worked preparing taxes for low-income Manitobans.

“Many people can’t afford the $60 to get it done,” said John Silver, CFCS Executive Director, at their volunteer appreciation lunch last April.

John points out that people need to complete their tax return to be eligible for benefits and tax credits related to things like GST, pharmacare, disability and child care.

“It’s the same money that all of us are entitled to when we do our taxes.”

The work they do returns $20 million Winnipeggers are entitled to, John says, representing a 400-fold return on the $50,000 program cost.

The value of the service is also apparent to the CRA-registered volunteers who prepare taxes for clients.

Volunteers enjoy an appreciation lunch last April. Many will be ready to help again this February!

Volunteers enjoy an appreciation lunch last April. Many will be ready to help again this February!

“It’s written all over their faces,” said Hugo Peters, who has volunteered for over 10 years.

“People who struggle or make do with very little, they have no pretense.”

Frances Kusner, who turned 100 last April, volunteered with CVITP for 41 years. She retired this year. Thank you, Frances!

Frances Kusner, who turned 100 last April, volunteered with CVITP for 41 years. She retired this year. Thank you, Frances!

The tax preparation program is available free to all Manitobans with low income earnings. It opens at the Norquay Building on February 21st and runs 9AM to 3PM Tuesday to Friday until April 28th.

This is just one resource available to Manitobans. To find a service closest to your home, visit mb.211.ca and click on the tile for financial services.

To learn more about the CVITP specifically, or to volunteer in the program preparing taxes for low-income Manitobans, go online or call 204-989-1900.

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Sean LedwichTax season brings help for Manitobans

‘It’s all about dignity’

by Sean Ledwich on January 31, 2017 Comments Off on ‘It’s all about dignity’

Canadian Footwear helps people put a good foot forward at John Howard Society

The John Howard Society (JHS) hosted a grand opening reception for their new We Fit You Closet last week, and the reviews are in.

Canadian Footwear co-owner Brian Scharfstein cuts the ribbon on the new We Fit You Closet with help from Tania Weibe, coordinator of reintegration at JHS

Canadian Footwear co-owner Brian Scharfstein cuts the ribbon on the new We Fit You Closet with help from Tania Weibe, coordinator of reintegration at JHS

“I’m thrilled. The guys feel like they’re shopping,” said Charlie Medd, who volunteers with clients visiting the closet to get much-needed clothes and shoes to help them step back into life feeling good about themselves.

The new closet is spacious and has natural light, while the old space was dark, cramped and located inconveniently at the back of the JHS building.

The old space.

The old space.

The new We Fit You Closet.

The new We Fit You Closet.

Canadian Footwear co-owner Brian Scharfstein designed and provided paint and shelving for the clothing closet.

JHS executive director John Hutton expresses his gratitude and presents a gift to Brian Scharfstein at the opening reception.

JHS executive director John Hutton expresses his gratitude and presents a gift to Brian Scharfstein at the opening reception.

“He’s been a big supporter of the clothing closet for years,” said John Hutton, executive director of JHS, adding that Canadian Footwear provides new and donated shoes that are cleaned and fixed with new laces and insoles.

A rack of shoes in the new closet.

A rack of shoes in the new closet.

The John Howard Society, a United Way agency partner, works with men who have been involved in the criminal justice system to help them re-integrate into society.

Brian said his goal in helping design and build the new clothing closet was to return self-esteem to people starting over.

“We wanted to make it feel like a boutique – make people feel good. It’s all about dignity,” he said.

Closet volunteer Charlie Medd was all smiles!

Closet volunteer Charlie Medd was all smiles!

Closet volunteer Charlie Medd was all smiles!

Closet volunteer Charlie Medd was all smiles!

“People who require a second chance is something we support.”

The John Howard Society is always looking for donations of gently-used clothing for men, including jeans, sweaters, and work boots. If you would like to organize a United Way Collection Drive for the We Fit You Closet at your workplace, please contact doc@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca or call 204-477-5360.

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Sean Ledwich‘It’s all about dignity’

Forgotten: The Métis Residential School Experience

by Sean Ledwich on January 26, 2017 Comments Off on Forgotten: The Métis Residential School Experience

Exhibit, open to public until January 31, shines light on history of the Métis and the legacy of residential schools

People came together in our atrium for the official opening of Forgotten: The Métis Residential School Experience exhibit this week, which features three 8×7-foot panels that chart the history of Métis through to today and present the lesser-known story of Métis and residential schools. The double-sided panels of silk-screened fabric are joined by artifacts from Métis culture and the schools.

Pottery, bead work, and a fiddle bow adorn a larger-than-life portrait of a Métis family shown in the exhibit.

Pottery, bead work, and a fiddle bow adorn a larger-than-life portrait of a Métis family shown in the exhibit.

Sarah Cook, co-chair of United Way’s Council for Indigenous Relations (CIR) and a United Way board member, thanked The Legacy of Hope Foundation for developing the exhibit, as well as the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Louis Riel Institute for collaborating to present it.

Sarah Cook spoke of the long-hidden nature of the Métis residential school experience.

Sarah Cook spoke of the long-hidden nature of the Métis residential school experience.

Sarah said the exhibit shows “Métis childrens’ unique experiences of residential school students that have been long hidden.”

“As one of our Council members and member of United Way Winnipeg’s Board of Trustees, Reid Hartry, has reminded our Council – the apology offered to residential school survivors in 2008 did not include the Métis.”

Andrew Carrier, the Manitoba Métis Federation’s Minister of Métis and Residential & Day School Survivors, shared that three generations in his family, including himself, suffered abuse in residential schools.

Manitoba Métis Federation Minister Andrew Carrier shared his family's inter-generational experience of abuse at residential schools.

Manitoba Métis Federation Minister Andrew Carrier shared his family’s inter-generational experience of abuse at residential schools.

Children suffered many abuses including starvation, corporal punishment, and sexual abuse. Minister Carrier pointed out the onion and apple displayed in the exhibit – a reminder of what children had to eat to survive when food was in short supply and withheld from students.

“It does talk about being resilient. We Métis are very resilient…we’re looking towards rebuilding our foundation with hope and an understanding of our past.”

Oliver Boulette, left, and Jim Flett provided music for the reception.

Oliver Boulette, left, and Jim Flett provided music for the reception.

United Way Winnipeg President & CEO Connie Walker told those gathered that it is an honour to host the exhibit.

She said previous exhibits hosted at United Way have also helped shine a light on hard and painful truths, including We Were so Far Away: The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools and 100 Years of Loss – The Residential School System in Canada.

“We know we need to recognize the truth in our history if we are ever to forge a meaningful path of reconciliation.”

Forgotten: The Métis Residential School Experience is free and open to the public in United Way’s atrium, 580 Main Street, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday until January 31.

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Sean LedwichForgotten: The Métis Residential School Experience