Mirela’s story

Your gift means more support for people in need, close to home.

People like Mirela, who looked for help at a neighbourhood family centre after her dad died.

“I went looking for guidance…initially for my mental health and depression because my dad passed away.”

Mirela

Mirela

Mirela got help at NorWest Co-op Community Health – a United Way-supported neighbourhood family centre – and built strength into her life.

“They have taught me, like, ‘you can do this, you can do whatever you put your heart into.’”

Today Mirela volunteers through the family centre at a food centre that teaches nutrition to families in her Blake Gardens community, and at a low-cost fruit and veggie market that provides an option for low-income families to get healthy foods.

It makes her proud to be contributing to her community and fostering better health among her neighbours.

“It builds the community stronger, absolutely. A healthy community is a happy community…we’re not just community, we are family.”

The generosity of Winnipeggers like you help keep the doors open at 24 neighbourhood family centres across Winnipeg for people like Mirela and her neighbours.

Thank you.

Youth Day of Caring 2016

Winnipeg youth show they care at 15 agencies.

More than 100 Winnipeg high school students gathered at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre at Win Gardner Place and boarded busses for the annual United Way Youth Day of Caring.

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The students gave their time and sweat equity to make improvements at 15 different agencies around Winnipeg on Friday.

Before they departed they heard about the work of their host, Ma Mawi, from Lorenda Nepinak, a Home Visitor with the Families First Program. She had some parting words of wisdom for the young volunteers.

“Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.”

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At the North End Women’s Centre several students wielded bags and pickers to clean garbage from the centres yards.

The United Way agency partner provides a multitude of services including counselling, drop-in, addictions recovery and transitional housing.

North End Women's Centre's Marissa Rykiss talks to youth before they start work.

North End Women’s Centre’s Marissa Rykiss talks to youth before they start work.

“Thank you so much, we really appreciate it,” Marissa Rykiss, a parent-child coordinator at the centre told the youth before they started cleaning up the garden and yards around their buildings.

Cleaning up around the North End Women's Centre

Cleaning up around the North End Women’s Centre

“It’s really inspiring to see the youth doing it, we all want a more beautiful Winnipeg,” she said.

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At Dufferin School Community Garden students placed and filled new raised garden beds and prepared existing ones for planting. The garden is used by newcomers that have been helped through Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM).

Jim Beckta, Greening Coordinator with IRCOM, said the students are helping meet the demand for more gardening space for newcomers.

“It’s wonderful. It’s very helpful,” said Jim.

Student EJ had some trouble hoisting a full wheelbarrow into a new garden bed, but thankfully was not hurt.

Youth helped prepare garden beds for newcomers at the Dufferin School Community Garden

Youth helped prepare garden beds for newcomers at the Dufferin School Community Garden

“I feel glad. I feel happy. It’s for them,” EJ said of his day volunteering.

At Graffiti Art Programming students from Elmwood High School painted the outside walls black to get them ready for more artwork by youth involved in the agency’s art programs.

“I feel honoured that I get to do this, I appreciate that my teacher asked me to.” said Denise Cal Ortiz.

Resetting a canvas on Graffiti Art Programming's building.

Resetting a canvas on Graffiti Art Programming’s building.

Jessie Canard, a summer administrative assistant at Graffiti Art, said she hopes more youth learn about their free art programming.

“It’s really awesome to have these youth come down here as a lot of them haven’t been here before. And it’s awesome to have the help.”

Corey Mohr, Community Development Coordinator at NorWest Co-op Community Health’s Gilbert Park Resource Centre, said the students from Gray Academy of Jewish Education who spent two hours sweating in one of their community gardens were thanked by some area residents.

Teacher Marcelo Mohadeb (left) and his students from Gray Academy of Jewish Education with NorWest Community Development Coordinator Corey Mohr.

Teacher Marcelo Mohadeb (left) and his students from Gray Academy of Jewish Education with NorWest Community Development Coordinator Corey Mohr.

“That’s powerful. That’s what I like to see, that people are appreciative.”

Student Ilan Jacobowitz said people like himself are often unfamiliar with communities like Gilbert Park – Manitoba’s largest social housing complex with 1,100 residents.

“It’s nice to see organizations like United Way and resource centres like (NorWest) helping out in communities,” said Ilan, who believes involving youth in the community plants a seed which will grow into more participation and volunteering in the future.

Fellow student Philip Roshkevsky seemed to confirm Ilan’s hypothesis, saying he was proud to be helping and that it makes him “want to do more.”

After a morning helping at agencies the students talked about what community means to them.

They re-fueled with lunch generously donated by Santa Lucia Pizza before heading out again for walking tours of Winnipeg’s North End community led by members of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO).

Youth United Day of Caring volunteers and AYO members outside Ma Mawi at Win Gardner Place.

Youth United Day of Caring volunteers and AYO members outside Ma Mawi at Win Gardner Place.

Look for photos of the day on social media under hashtags #ydoc2016 and #YouthUnitedWpg and learn more about Youth United online.

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Mom beats isolation through volunteering at her neighbourhood family centre.

April 10 to 16 is National Volunteer Week and we are sharing stories from just a few of the thousands of volunteers who work with United Way and our agency partners. Thank you to all volunteers, you grow love!

Manilyn Janzen has only missed two volunteer shifts at the Blake Gardens Resource Centre Fruit and Veggie Market in the past year.

One of those was five days after her son Lukas was born, but she still showed up to show him off to her friends and neighbours.

Manilyn Janzen, with 5-day-old Lukas, has gained skills and left isolation behind through her volunteer work.

Manilyn Janzen, with 5-day-old Lukas, has gained skills and left isolation behind through her volunteer work.

“I always came to the resource centre for the Fruit & Veggie Market anyway, and one day they needed help,” said Manilyn of how she started volunteering.

The volunteer work helped the 26-year-old single mom of (now) two boys get out of her apartment in the Blake Gardens housing complex and meet people.

“I was isolated. Before I did not know anyone after a year of living here, and now everyone is like, ‘hi Manilyn.’”

Caprice Kehler, community facilitator at NorWest Co-op Community Health which operates the resource centre, says about 30 people take advantage of the market each week. She said the market requires three volunteers and one staff member to operate.

NorWest, a United Way agency partner, is embracing volunteerism and what it means to the community.

“Through United Way we now have a volunteer training program, and since it started I’d say we now have about eight really dedicated volunteers at Blake Gardens,” said Caprice.

Manilyn is an example of how volunteering can impact a person’s life in positive ways, Caprice said.

“I’ve seen Manilyn’s self-confidence increase and her isolation decrease. And she’s a very hard worker – she could run that market by herself.”

Manilyn says she has also gained many useful skills, making her more valuable to employers.

“If you have volunteering on your resume it helps you. People who are hiring, they like to see that you are not lazy – that you like working.”

10 years of Caring

Women get a special day at NorWest Co-op Community Health.

The 10th anniversary of the Women’s Day of Caring at NorWest Co-op Community Health’s resource centre on Alexander Ave. was hosted by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) on Tuesday.

SuperFUNtasticEvent provided photos to each of the ladies with their fresh cuts.

SuperFUNtasticEvent provided photos to each of the ladies with their fresh cuts.

Almost 50 smiling women socialized and enjoyed free haircuts, manicures, and lunch at the United Way agency partner. They chose from clothing, shoes, and books, and came away with gift bags of jewelry, toiletries and cosmetics.

Students from Scientific Marvel Beauty School volunteered their skills.

Students from Scientific Marvel Beauty School volunteered their skills.

“It’s really great to give them a day where they’re pampered and have someone take care of them,” said NorWest Community Development Coordinator Elizabete Halprin.

Some of the women live isolated lives, Elizabete said. They may be alone or single parents living on a low income, or going through issues stemming from abuse or trauma.

Yvonne Clements thinks she may have missed just one Women’s Day of Caring in 10 years.

Yvonne Clements says the Day of Caring is a chance for women to connect.

Yvonne Clements says the Day of Caring is a chance for women to connect.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Yvonne, tucking into a sandwich and veggies after her haircut.

“It’s time for women to be pampered. They might not have had their hair done for years, seriously, and it’s a chance to get new clothes for free.”

Yvonne said residents in her Blake Gardens housing complex “don’t really socialize, so this is a chance to get to know each other.”

“This is the one big social event.”

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As in past years, Scientific Marvel Beauty School students – 19 of them – were on hand to provide the free haircuts and manicures.

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Scientific Marvel Esthetics Instructor Romona Boeve said the day is about more than “making someone pretty.”

“It’s a connection. You’re making a connection with a person and talking to them.”

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Jan Morowski of the WRHA, which had seven volunteers helping out, said making personal connections is a wonderful part of the event.

“They connect through this as neighbours and become friends.”

WRHA provided clothing and shoes through an employee drive – enough for each woman to leave with multiple bags full.

The ladies got to choose a new book provided by Frontier College, which also provided children’s books for the prize baskets.

All the women took home gift bags, and 15 lucky winners also got prize baskets.

All the women took home gift bags, and 15 lucky winners also got prize baskets.

“We support United Way and Day of Caring,” said Frontier College Community Coordinator Karen Ste. Marie.

“Literacy happens at every level. There’s always an opportunity to learn, and women who use NorWest can be lifelong learners, right?”

France Croteau picked out a book that resonated with her.

France Croteau picked out a book that resonated with her.

France Croteau passed on the fiction for Flat Out Rock – Ten Great Bands of the 60s. She said she attended Woodstock in 1974 as an 11-year-old girl and remembers “dancing with my mum and dad.”

Learn more about United Way Days of Caring online or contact Day of Caring manager Hillary at 204-924-4273 or hgair@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca.

9-day-old Annabelle was not interested in a manicure. Maybe next year!

9-day-old Annabelle was not interested in a manicure. Maybe next year!

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!

Great start, Winnipeg!

Not even halfway into United Way of Winnipeg’s 2011 campaign, would you believe Winnipeggers have already raised 51% of our goal?

Already at 51% of our goal!

It’s true and it’s largely because several businesses and organizations throughout the city have already completed their workplace campaigns and made their donations. We refer to these early birds as Pacesetters because they give us momentum and set a great example.

On October 7, 2011, we paid tribute to our Pacesetters during United Way’s Report Session One at the Globe Cinema in Portage Place. United Way volunteers, staff and supporters were also treated to a preview on progress toward our 2011 fundraising goal of $19.7 million.

Filmmaker, GenNext member and emcee Adam Smoluk introduced us to Caprice Kehler, a community outreach worker at Nor’West Co-op Community Health. In turn, Caprice introduced us to John Seymour, a young man with huge potential thanks to the support and encouragement he received from the United Way agency partner.

“John’s story is a great example of how our gifts to United Way are opening doors to a brighter future,” said Edward Kennedy, president & CEO of The North West Company and United Way’s 2011 campaign chair.


In his best impression of agent Maxwell Smart from the ’60’s classic comedy Get Smart, and with help from United Way sponsored executives or agents of change, Edward revealed that Winnipeggers have already raised more than $10 million.

“It’s a great start,” said Edward, who encouraged Winnipeggers to keep up the good work. “Because in the end, it would be a shame to have to say ‘we missed it by that much.'”