PJs and Caring

Annual PJ Drive brings home generosity and warmth for kids.

Members of The Manitoba Chiropractors Association – 41 offices – collected over 2700 pairs of PJs as part of their annual PJ drive for United Way agencies.

The PJs were sorted and packaged last week for delivery to about 40 different agencies to help stuff stockings this holiday season.

Students from Asper School of Business' Team Toba sorted PJs into age groups.

Students from Asper School of Business’ Team Toba sorted PJs into age groups.

Volunteers from the Asper School of Business (Team Toba – JDC West) and GenNext members did two United Way Days of Caring to sort and organize the PJs for delivery.

Members of United Way’s GenNext Council also showed up on a cold night to sort and package the warm PJs for kids. It brought back happy memories for some of them.

GenNexters sort and package PJs for United Way agencies.

GenNexters sort and package PJs for United Way agencies.

“A bunch of us were talking about getting new pajamas as kids every Christmas and how nice that was. There are some families who can’t afford that,” said Diana King, chair of Community Involvement on the GenNext Council.

“And they’re all new, and some are even hand-made.”

PJs bagged and labelled for delivery to United Way agency partners.

PJs bagged and labelled for delivery to United Way agency partners.

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The drive is over now for another year, but there are still lots of opportunities for groups looking to help out in the community.

To give back through a collection drive or United Way Day of Caring contact Melissa at mburgess@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca or 204-924-4273.

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GenNext to guest host Meet Me at The Bell Tower

GenNext is honoured to be the invited guest hosts at Meet Me at The Bell Tower!

Invite your Facebook friends and come out to Selkirk Ave. and Powers St. at 6 p.m. on April 29 for Meet Me at The Bell Tower – an incredible community gathering devoted to anti-violence that has been bringing positive change to the North End and beyond for over four years!

The philosophy of MM@BT is that of the village we are all a part of – the well-being of each person adds to the well-being of us all. Come share your positivity with the village!

As invited guest host, GenNext will provide a speaker to share with the community and a gift will be presented to MM@BT.

Hope to see you there!

GenNext Rencontre Mixer

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Embrace the spirit of our coldest season! Festival du Voyageur is a Winnipeg institution! Tie on the ceinture flechee (Voyageur sash) comb out your beard and paddle down to a kitchen party mixer on Thursday, February 18 at Le Garage on Provencher!

The Festival-themed festivities beginning at 5:30 include live traditional music special guests. Come meet good people and build some new relationships!

GenNext warms 1630 little toes with a Drive-thru Boot Drive.

GenNext Drive-thru Boot Drive warms hearts and toes.

Winnipeg showed it cares about kids on Wednesday as dozens of people drove up to the GenNext Drive-thru Boot Drive to support Koats for Kids.

163 pairs of boots were donated—keeping 1630 little toes warm in WInnipeg’s frigid winter. Nearly $300 was donated through the drive-thru.

Donors dropped off boots and cash donations at United Way throughout the early morning. In return they got a sticky bun and coffee generously donated by Jonnies Sticky Buns and Grace Cafe.

Kerry LeBlanc brought in four pairs of gently-used boots. He said it was an opportunity to teach his children about giving.

“To realize how fortunate most of us are as Canadians. I have three kids at home who want for nothing, so I was like, ‘guys, come on, we can give back.’”

Dwayne Marling said he saw the event on Facebook, and also heard about it from GenNext Council Vice Chair Jane Helbrecht. Jane spoke to CBC about the drive earlier this week.

Dwayne Marling said knowing some families struggle to get winter boots was a motivation for him.

Dwayne Marling said knowing some families struggle to get winter boots was a motivation for him.

“We have a nine-year-old at home,” Dwayne said after dropping off several pairs of boys boots.

“For him, he doesn’t have to worry about keeping his toes warm, but others do.”

Dwayne smiling with his Jonnies Sticky Bun and Grace Cafe coffee.

Dwayne smiling with his Jonnies Sticky Bun and Grace Cafe coffee.

GenNext – the United Way program that provides opportunities for passionate young Winnipeggers to engage in social change within our philanthropic community – organized the boot drive to support United Way’s Koats for Kids program. Volunteers from United Way’s Youth United program also helped out.

GenNext Council member Lana Bakun, who worked the drive-thru collecting boots and handing out coffee and sticky buns, said she joined GenNext so she could help “build a stronger community.”

“I think everybody has the ability to help out in some way,” Lana said.

GenNext Council members Lana Bakun and Deanna Dowd adding to the boot bounty.

GenNext Council members Lana Bakun and Deanna Dowd adding to the boot bounty.

Deanna Dowd, co-chair of the Marketing & Communcations committee on the GenNext Council, had a smile on her face all morning as the pile of boots grew inside United Way’s atrium.

“People have been really generous,” Deanna said.

“Winnipeg weather can be bitterly cold, especially for the little ones.”

Deanna said she joined GenNext because she wanted to volunteer more. Besides learning about and helping Winnipeg’s non-profit community, GenNext gives her the chance to connect and network while building her career and resume, she said.

“It’s fun – we host a variety of events like mixers and other networking opportunities, and it’s also a funnel to the United Way and the agencies it supports.”

If you missed the Wednesday morning boot drive you can still drop off new or gently-used winter boots or make a cash donation for Koats for Kids at United Way this week.

United Way GenNext manager Dan Robinson and GenNext Council member Amanpreet Sidhu doing a boot-iful job on Main Street.

United Way GenNext manager Dan Robinson and GenNext Council member Amanpreet Sidhu doing a boot-iful job on Main Street.

GenNexters brighten the holidays for new little Winnipeggers.

The NEEDS Holiday Party was a ‘huge event!’

GenNexters helped make Christmas a little brighter for kids and families at the Newcomer Employment Education Development Services (NEEDS) Holiday Party.

The entire 13-member GenNext council volunteered serving food, escorting kids, and taking photos of Santa visits and gift-giving.

The GenNext Council team.

The GenNext Council team.

About 200 kids attended the afternoon party with family members at Hugh John MacDonald School. Arts & crafts, face painting, and a DJ added to the festivities.


The North West Company wrapped and donated 200 gifts for the party. Meghan Ward, a North West employee and GenNext Council Co-chair of Community Involvement, said it was an awesome afternoon.

She said although there were about 200 kids, the many family members made it a much larger turnout.

“It was great to be a part of such a huge event and have our whole GenNext team there. We served food and got the children organized for seeing Santa.”

Pizza - an important stable of any Holiday Party!

Pizza – an important stable of any Holiday Party!

Some children, new to Canada, were not entirely sure what the whole gift thing was about at first, Meghan said.

“Once they realized what was going on they were all excited for it.”

Go here to learn more about GenNext – a way to engage and find meaningful experiences and opportunities in your community.

Thank you to the GenNext Council for making this happen!

  • Chair – Adam Smoluk
  • Vice Chair – Jane Helbrecht
  • Chair, Governance & Recruitment – Diana King
  • Co-Chair(s), Engagement – vacancy, Amanpreet Sidhu
  • Co-Chair(s), Community Involvement – Rob Ferguson, Meghan Ward
  • Co-Chairs, Fundraising – Kayla Dickin, Lana Bakun
  • Co-Chairs, Marketing & Communications – Aaron Ingram, Deanna Dowd
  • Co-Chairs, Ambassador Program – Christine Turczyn, Jessica Rosenbaum