Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre transformed by epic week-long Day of Caring.

When Nadi Design does a Day of Caring they go big.

Last week the architectural design firm Nadi Design rallied six partner organizations for a Day of Caring which turned into a week and completely transformed the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre (FGWRC) on Ellen Street.

FGWRC's program coordinator Andrea Shnider

FGWRC’s Andrea Shnider outside the centre before the transformation.

Andrea Shnider, program coordinator at FGWRC, was only expecting a coat of paint when she signed on for a United Way Day of Caring.

“I wasn’t expecting a lot, but magic happened. I’m still in awe as I look around,” Andrea said.

“Instead of just paint, Nadi Design said ‘oh yeah, we’re going to do carpeting and landscaping and furniture and a TV.”

FGWRC on Ellen Street provides counselling for children who are healing from trauma. Two child therapists help an average caseload of 35 children who each receive about four months of therapy. Rooms dedicated to art and music therapy help with the process.

Andrea said prior to the Day (week!) of Caring the centre was dim and dark, with furniture falling apart and holes in the walls.

FGWRC reception

The reception/sitting area before the work.

“It was not super child-friendly.”

A Community Engagement Committee at Nadi – made up of interior design intern Alexandra Allen, interior designer Ashley Jull, and landscape architectural intern Danielle Loeb – chose the FGWRC project from a few options United Way gave them.

“We wanted to use our design expertise, and wanted to take it one step further and move to the outside,” said Alex.

FGWRC patio before

The patio was uneven and uninviting.

“We felt we had the ability to change the entire place.”

Alex said the important work done at the FRWRC also appealed to the team.

“It’s a space where children need to feel safe, healthy, valued and empowered. By giving them that space – where they feel good and relaxed – it helps FGWRC in supporting women and children.”

The Nadi team rallied a group of partners in the construction and renovation industries. Barkman Concrete was one of the first on board, pledging materials and labour to refurbish a shoddy-looking patio area with maintenance-free Verano paving stone.

FGWRC patio

The patio dismantling began Tuesday.

“When Danielle from Nadi approached me I was all over it,” said Anthony Militano, a commercial product consultant at Barkman.

Measuring the grade. Barkman removed 50 wheelbarrows of dirt to make room for a new base and paving stones.

Measuring the grade. Barkman removed 50 wheelbarrows of dirt to make room for a new base and paving stones.

“Something as simple as concrete adds an inherent value. It’s something so simple, but it adds beauty,” Anthony said.

FGWRC patio

Setting the new Verona pavers.

The work was hard, but the reward of helping makes it worthwhile.

“It’s rewarding knowing you’ve done some good, and also it brightens up the lives a little of the people using the centre. If you can brighten up someone’s life even in a small way it’s totally worth it,” Anthony said.

A team from Prairie Safety Surfacing applied Rubaroc – a synthetic rubber material they wet-poured onto recycled patio slabs to create a durable no-slip surface outside the centre’s front door.

FGWRC patio

Prairie Safety Surfacing does a wet-pour of a new rubber surface.

Ashley expressed gratitude to Prairie Safety Surfacing owner Dave Jones, who she said is well-known for philanthropy in the community.

Minerva Painting and Decorating did a professional two-coat paint job to most of the centre’s interior, and Future Tint & Stripe applied an opaque film to windows in three rooms to allow privacy during child counselling sessions without closing window drapes.

FGWRC painting

A professional painter from Minerva Painting and Decorating brightens up the centre.

“Counselling is hard for anyone, but for children it’s really scary. So, to come into a dark, kind of not warm area can be overwhelming. Having a space that’s now opened and bright and colourful is really great,” said Andrea.

Levey Industries donated kitchen cabinet resurfacing material, and Shaw Contract Group gave carpet tiles.

FGWRC kitchen

Alex and Ashley apply new cabinet material donated by Levey Industries.

FGWRC carpet

Laying carpet tile.

Ashley said they thought Shaw Contract Group would offer them leftover carpet inventory.

“They literally just said pick anything.”

The tiles they chose were a durable, high-quality commercial grade.

“The idea is you can pull it up and replace it or clean it if it gets dirty or stained.”

Other improvements included new closet drapes – which Alexandra sewed herself – light fixtures, furniture and shelving, toys and a TV.

FGWRC drapes

Alex and Ashley hang new drapes in the music room.

Nadi Design spent about $2,500 for materials and had as many as 12 people working on the job. Their contributing partners donated over $10,000 in materials – not including donated labour.

By Friday the finishing touches were being done, getting the centre ready for child therapy sessions that evening.

FGWRC paint

Some cool designs by Nadi Design!

Andrea was impressed with the results, and the people who made it happen.


The reception/sitting area, transformed.

“I’m blown away by the level of generosity that everyone brought to the table for what turned into a week of caring.”

Some children had already been by to see the transformation, Andrea said.

“Their faces lit up. It was like Christmas morning.”

The news made the Nadi team happy.

“When Andrea said that some of the kids had already seen it that felt really good,” said Ashley.

“To know that they actually felt good in there was really satisfying. It’s great to know that they can come to a safe and warm environment.”

FGWRC patio

Andrea (from left), Alex, Danielle and Ashley enjoy the new patio area.


A neighbourhood cat thinks the new rubberized entrance path is pretty nice.


A garden of their own.

GenNexters recently got involved in a Day of Caring to make the North End Women’s Centre (NEWC) a brighter place to be.

The Selkirk Avenue centre helps women and their families end cycles of poverty, abuse, and dependency through transitional housing, counselling and a wide variety of programs and support services.

North End Women's Centre bench.

North End Women’s Centre bench, with an important motto.

The Day of Caring involved weeding, mowing, and landscaping of the centre’s backyard and raised garden beds – an area that provides centre visitors with a tranquil space.

“The yard was full of weed and tall grasses and when it was over it wasn’t looking very good,” says Jaki Skye, health and wellness coordinator at NEWC.

GenNext Day of Caring at North End Women's Centre.

“It’s a quiet green space, especially for the women who are living in our housing.” 

One volunteer said women at the centre came outside during the work to express their gratitude at seeing the space transformed.

Jaki said herbs, spices, and fresh vegetables from the garden will be used in nutritional programming, as well as a “weekly whole foods lunch program” which provides meals for people in the community and the centre’s drop-in program. 

Working in the green space at North End Women's Centre. Working in the green space at North End Women's Centre.

“They are able to forage in the garden…they’re also able to just have a place to sit out and be in a calm space. It’s a nice, gentle energy to be sitting in.” 

Since 1984 NERC has been helping women and families with a vision of putting women in charge of their own lives and a mission to provide women with “support, knowledge, and opportunity as they move forward on their journey towards independence and healthier lifestyle.”

GenNexters will be performing Days of Caring at a variety of essential Winnipeg agencies each month. Why not learn more and to get involved?

Richardson’s GenNext volunteers creating a brighter future for Winnipeg.

Richardson International is a key contributor to the United Way through its workplace campaign. During last year’s fall campaign kick-off, Richardson employees had the privilege of hearing Paul Lacap, a member of the Board of Trustees at United Way of Winnipeg, share his experiences with the organization.

In his address, Paul introduced Richardson to United Way’s GenNext initiative, whose main goal is to encourage younger people to become involved with the United Way and help their community.

Paul’s speech inspired Richardson employees to become involved in this great initiative. With Richardson already running one of the most successful United Way workplace fundraising campaigns in Western Canada, it seemed more fitting to base its GenNext contributions on volunteering time rather than raising money.

A core committee of 14 Richardson employees was quickly formed to spearhead the initiative with the main focus on finding quarterly United Way sponsored projects which are both rewarding and enjoyable to participate in.

The first opportunity selected by Richardson’s GenNext committee was the “Rudolph Red Tag Sale and Holiday Party”, a Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Winnipeg initiative.

At this event, children who might not otherwise be able to afford presents purchase donated items from anywhere from five to 25 cents to give to parents and siblings as Christmas gifts.

Twenty Richardson volunteers helped children select and wrap gifts and assist in the making of Christmas crafts. The excitement and enjoyment from all parties involved was infectious and Richardson’s first GenNext project was a huge success.

Richardson Rudolph Red Tag

Richardson’s GenNext pod wrapping gifts for the Rudolph Red Tag sale.

Richardson has since participated in two more day of caring events – RAY’s “Coldest Night of the Year” walk raising money for homeless youth and “Painting the Playroom” at the Wolseley Family Place.

Richardson volunteers.

Raising money for and awareness of youth homelessness in Winnipeg.

Richardson employees who have volunteered for the inaugural events have had a lot of fun connecting with colleagues while making a difference in our community—the pool of engaged employees continues to grow!

Richardson Painting

Richardson volunteers painting the playroom at Wolseley Family Place.

Richardson has reached out to its sister companies, Richardson GMP and Tundra Oil & Gas, to participate in the next event this fall and challenges other companies in Winnipeg to put forth the small time commitment necessary to organize their own GenNext initiative.

A little effort goes a long way to brighten our city’s future!

The perfect match for moms and babies.

It’s a beautiful thing when an offer of help matches perfectly with a real need. The result? A perfect Day of Caring for healthy moms and babies.

United Way partner agency Pregnancy and Family Support Services (PFSS) submitted a Day of Caring request for some new flooring in their Family Resource Centre on Spence Street—a space where they host prenatal and Baby & Me classes.

The old floor—well-used carpet now nearly a decade old—wasn’t looking very clean, and was unsuitable for babies to crawl on.

The old floors at PFSS.

In a stroke of good luck, our friends at Architecture 49 asked us if we knew anyone who needs new flooring. It seems some good people at Studio Floors required installation training for premium rubber flooring made by nora, and they hoped to find somewhere to practice.

This past March the two came together and the perfect match was transformed into a clean, new space for moms and babies.

Of course, floor installation is a good time for a paint job! Enter some wonderful Day of Caring volunteers from Great-West Life and Johnston Group, who quickly stepped in to paint the trim and walls of the centre’s front entrance, food room, boardroom and hallway.

Great-West Life volunteers in action

Great-West Life volunteers in action.

A caring group from the Johnston Group outside the centre.

A caring group from the Johnston Group outside the centre.

With paint job complete, a technical trainer from nora guided Studio Floors’ professional team to install new commercial rubber flooring – all at no cost to the centre!

The team from nora and Studio Floors

The team from nora and Studio Floors.

Rhonda Cenerini, acting executive director at PFSS, is thankful for the generosity of everyone involved.

“It is amazing. It is so clean and easy to keep clean, and so bright & colourful.”

Rhonda says the impact for mothers and their babies has been very positive.

The health and cleanliness of the space is amazing. We’re very confident now allowing babies to crawl around and letting mom lay on mats on the floor.”

Pregnancy and Family Support Services, an inner-city United Way agency partner, has a mission of offering services that support pregnant women, foster family life, empower individuals and grow community. Visit them online at

A special day of (self) caring.

A United Way Day of Caring can take many forms, including a special day of pampering!

Hosted at the NorWest Co-op Community Health Centre by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the March 11 Day of Caring brightened up the lives of 39 low-income women.

Pampering took the form of a new hair style and manicures, provided courtesy of instructors and students from Scientific Marvel School of Beauty.

2015 Women's Day of Caring2015 Women's Day of Caring

The women also enjoyed jewelry and goodie bags filled with toiletries and makeup, all donated by WRHA staff. Lunch was provided by Costco, and Frontier College donated raffle baskets and books for the ladies. Volunteers from the Health Sciences Centre also helped make the day special.

2015 Women's Day of Caring

In a WRHA newsletter Jan Murowski writes that they “have had many positive comments from the ladies who attended and they truly look forward to this event every year. Thank you once again for your generosity and for making a difference in their lives!”

Jan Murowski of the WRHA signs up some of the deserving ladies pampered at the Day of Caring

Jan Murowski of the WRHA signs up some of the deserving ladies pampered at the Day of Caring


instructors and students from Scientific Marvel School of Beauty helped brighten up the lives of 39 low-income women.

instructors and students from Scientific Marvel School of Beauty helped brighten up the lives of 39 low-income women.

NorWest Co-op Community Health Centre, a United Way non-profit agency partner, engages the Inkster community in co-operative health and wellness with a vision of letting people take control of their health. Together they are helping make Winnipeg a better place for us all!