E.T. gets an orchestra

National Leasing partners with The Winnipeg Boldness Project to sponsor art and culture events for Point Douglas families

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial won the 1982 Academy Award for Best Original Score, and last Sunday families were treated not just a screening of E.T. but also the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performing the iconic score as the movie played.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra played in unison with the movie E.T. playing above them on a giant screen.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra played in unison with the movie E.T. playing above them on a giant screen.

The special day for 25 kids and their family members from The Winnipeg Boldness Project was thanks to National Leasing, which sponsors many arts and cultural organizations in Winnipeg.

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Since 2014 The Winnipeg Boldness Project has worked towards innovative and parent-informed strategies to improve early childhood development and outcomes for children in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas community, which includes the North End.

This year National Leasing decided to partner with The Winnipeg Boldness Project to give families, many facing severe socio-economic challenges, access to cultural experiences.

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“Research has shown repeated exposure to arts and cultural activities from a young age often has a positive impact on a child’s path in life,” said National Leasing public relations coordinator Janet Seniuk.

Janet said National Leasing had been looking for a way to get involved with The Winnipeg Boldness Project for a while.

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“We think what they’re doing for Winnipeg families is very important.”

National Leasing’s eight sponsored events for Boldness families this year included places like FortWhyte Alive, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba Children’s Museum, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Dip-netting for marsh creatures at FortWhyte Alive.

Dip-netting for marsh creatures at FortWhyte Alive.

“It’s been really fun, interesting, and a lot of education,” says Darrin Richard, whose son Ayden, 8, and partner Miranda Pullman attended the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s screening of E.T.

Miranda, Darrin and son Ayden try out some percussion instruments backstage at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Miranda, Darrin and son Ayden try out some percussion instruments backstage at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

“They’ve been good experiences we would not have been able to do without National Leasing.”

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Darrin and Miranda are part of the Parent Advisory Group that helps guide The Winnipeg Boldness Project’s initiatives. Darrin says many of those initiatives make him and Miranda feel like their two children have opportunities equal to families living in other areas of Winnipeg.

Building cars to learn about motion at the Manitoba Children’s Museum.

Building cars to learn about motion at the Manitoba Children’s Museum.

According to a Peg indicator report 40% of children are not ready to learn when they enter kindergarten in the Point Douglas community.

“It’s finding ways to improve the North End and families there. It’s giving children opportunities…children are our future, so I’m trying to do my part,” said Darrin.

“It allows us to take the initiative.”

Caring about kids

Community effort brings new shed for daycare at PFSS

Thanks to the generous help of United Way Day of Caring volunteers, the daycare at Pregnancy & Family Support Services (PFSS) has a new shed for their toys and supplies.

The shed was a true community effort by several groups. Manitoba Public Insurance and National Leasing led the initial planning and construction of the shed, which was donated by McMunn and Yates Building Supplies. Volunteers from Home Depot joined the effort to complete the shed this past June.

National Leasing volunteers in full framing mode.

National Leasing volunteers in full framing mode.

“It’s awesome,” said PFSS executive director Rhonda Cenerini.

“Having all our stuff in there, having a place to put everything…it’s safe and our toys will last longer.”

Rhonda said it was cumbersome for staff to lug things in and out of their building when their kids played outside. Now everything’s more accessible to staff and kids, which improves the daycare experience.

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Home Depot volunteers hard at work.

In their July newsletter PFSS writes, “It was really fun for the children to watch the men work. One of the children shouted out ‘be careful’ when one of the workers was on the roof of the shed. It was so sweet when the volunteer yelled back ‘I will thanks!’ What a great sense of community.”

PFSS, a United Way agency partner, is a neighbourhood family centre that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes, and operates a thrift shop. They’ve been serving people in their West End community since 1973.

Learn more about hosting or volunteering for a United Way Day of caring online.

National Leasing's crew framed for a perfect picture.

National Leasing’s crew framed for a perfect picture.

The Home Depot volunteer team stands in front of the finished shed.

The Home Depot volunteer team stands in front of the finished shed.

 

GenNexters mix it up.

GenNext Fall Mixer brings together caring leaders.

National Leasing played host for the GenNext Fall Mixer on Thursday, and about 50 GenNexters heard about the work of United Way and a call to leadership.

“When we step down from what we do it will be your generation and you that take up the mantle,” said Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg CEO Ron Brown.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg CEO Rob Brown talks to GenNexters.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg CEO Rob Brown talks to GenNexters at National Leasing.

Ron spoke of his organization’s important work – how 10 after school sites bring positive mentorship and activities to about 2000 kids.

Without the generosity of Winnipeggers, through United Way, “about half of our organization would shut down,” Ron said.

“We have a great United Way in Winnipeg. It’s really good at what it does.”

GenNexters from National Leasing and other organizations enjoyed food and refreshments and grooved to Jamil the DJ and Mav-One spinning tracks.

GenNexters at Fall Mixer

 Jamil the DJ (right) and Mav-One (left) let Adam Smoluk take the wheel

Jamil the DJ (right) and Mav-One (left) let Adam Smoluk take the wheel.

“It’s a mixer!” said GenNext Council chair Adam Smoluk, a program manager at Film Training Manitoba.

“It’s a chance for us to get together, network, and talk about the things we’ve got planned with United Way and for the city.”

Adam was rubbing shoulders with past council chairs Paul Lacap, a director at Direct Focus, and Gurpreet Brar, director of consulting and deals at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Former United Way GenNext Council chairs Paul Lacap (left) and Gurpreet Brar flank current chair Adam Smoluk.

Former United Way GenNext Council chairs Paul Lacap (left) and Gurpreet Brar flank current chair Adam Smoluk.

“I’m still involved and excited to see more and more people getting involved,” said Paul.

“Every single one of us needs to put our passion forward and participate. There’s about 200,000 in Winnipeg in our age demo, imagine if all those people engaged in something they’re passionate about. What would the city look like after that? It would be amazing.”

National Leasing GenNext Ambassador Committee co-chair Erin Peikoff said the initial year of GenNext at the organization has been a learning experience.

National Leasing's GenNext Ambassador Committee co-chairs Erin Peikoff (left) and Jay Leslie (right) with United Way GenNext manager Dan Robinson.

National Leasing’s GenNext Ambassador Committee co-chairs Erin Peikoff (left) and Jay Leslie (right) with United Way GenNext manager Dan Robinson.

“It’s been eye-opening to get out and see some of the agencies United Way supports, and hear about what they do. It becomes much more personal.”

National Leasing GenNexters did a Day of Caring at West Broadway Youth Outreach, and also ran a collection drive and fundraising BBQ to deliver loads of summer-related items for kids to Spence Neighbourhood Association.

The mixer was the last GenNext event at National Leasing before their 2015 United Way campaign begins.

GenNext mixer

National Leasing’s Employee Campaign Chair for the coming campaign, Brent Cantafio, was impressed with the turnout.

“This is my first exposure to GenNext – my first event. It’s amazing to see how many people – younger people – are involved and enjoying it. I think it helps people grasp the importance of community and how important it is to be involved.”

Learn more about GenNext and how you can get involved here.

GenNext mixer

National Leasing’s GenNext Mixer

National Leasing's Gen Next Mixer

See how you can make a real difference for Winnipeg kids in need and show your community you care.

National Leasing’s GenNext Ambassador Committee, would like to invite you to National Leasing’s United Way GenNext Fall Mixer in support of United Way of Winnipeg.

Get tickets before it sells out!

With live music from Jamil the DJ & Mav-one, a guest speaker from Big Brothers Big Sisters, catering from Mona Lisa Ristorante, a few cocktails and great company – this event is going to be a new highlight of National Leasing’s United Way campaign season!

Please join us for an informal after party at Moxie’s Kenaston.

GenNexters bring the summer.

GenNext members at National Leasing capped off a successful donation drive with a BBQ block party on Thursday.

The drive, called Giving Kids a Summer, collected summer items like sunscreen, bug spray, hats, sunglasses, and sporting equipment gathered for distribution to inner city children and families through Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA) – a United Way partner agency.

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“When summer months come we don’t always realize that some children don’t have these things,” said GenNext member Tess Klachefsky.

Donations for National Leasing  Giving Kids a Summer drive

National Leasing’s GenNext donation drive collected items for kids at Spence Neighbourhood Association

Donation boxes were placed in the National Leasing offices, as well as those of corporate neighbours and BBQ attendees Pollard Banknote, Payworks, Canadian Western Bank and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.

Money raised from the BBQ was also slated to be used to purchase more items needed by children who attend SNA programming.

GenNext members at National Leasing

GenNext members at National Leasing

National Leasing has a strong GenNext presence, with about 15 members, and is one of the first workplaces to join United Way’s GenNext Ambassador Program.

“I think GenNext is fantastic for the city,” said Jay Leslie, a founding member of GenNext at National Leasing and an Ambassador.

“It’s an opportunity to network and an opportunity to give back.”

Jay Leslie talks about the donation drive and GenNext

Jay Leslie talks about the donation drive and GenNext

The GenNext team at National Leasing has also taken part in United Way Days of Caring, a poverty simulation to learn about the challenges faced by low income Winnipeggers, and they are planning a fall mixer.

National Leasing GenNext BBQ

GenNext BBQ at National Leasing

Dan Robinson, a GenNext manager at United Way, thanked the crowd for their support and generosity. He invited people to visit him at a table to sign up for the GenNext newsletter.

GenNext is “not about giving money, it’s more about getting engaged with peers and with the work that United Way does,” Dan said.

GenNext BBQ at National Leasing

A BBQ attendee signs up for the GenNext newsletter

United Way’s GenNext program offers young professionals an opportunity to create meaningful social change in Winnipeg while connecting with like-minded peers and having scads of fun.

GenNext BBQ at National Leasing

To learn more visit www.unitedwaywinnipeg.ca/gennext or email  gennext@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

GenNext BBQ at National Leasing

GenNext BBQ at National Leasing

National Leasing GenNext BBQ

GenNext BBQ at National Leasing