Volunteers needed to help spread poverty awareness.

United Way Winnipeg needs volunteers for the Living on the Edge: Taking a Look at Poverty simulation.

Are you looking for a unique experience that allows you to learn more about important issues in Winnipeg?

Volunteers at a poverty simulation.Simulation volunteers act as agency, business and servicerepresentatives throughout the duration of a Living on the Edge poverty simulation.

Volunteer requirements:

    • No preparation, previous knowledge or other experience needed.
    • Each simulation requires approximately 3.5 hours, most often during the day

This is a great opportunity to help educate others on the realities of poverty while you develop and enhance your own interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills.

To learn more, please contact United Way
at 204-477-5360 or lote@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

What is Living on the Edge?

Living on the Edge is a unique experience designed to provide a glimpse into what it might be like to live on a low income trying to survive from month to month. Participants are placed in different households, each with a story that describes their financial situation. The simulation is divided into four simulated weeks. Following the simulation, participants and volunteers debrief the experience and learn more about the role United Way Winnipeg plays in addressing poverty.

Volunteers are integral to the poverty simulation experience. As participants go through the month they visit and utilize a number of community services and resources such as the bank, grocery store, social service office, and family resource centre. Volunteers serve as the staffers of these different community service and resource offices, helping guide participants throughout the experience of the poverty simulation.

United Way holds 50th AGM

United Way of Winnipeg’s 50th Annual General Meeting was held on Friday, June 19 at United Way’s Main Street building.

United Way's 50th Annual Report is now available.

United Way’s 50th Annual Report is now available.

The Annual Report, with the vintage 1965 United Way logo on the red cover, was distributed to AGM attendees. The logo overlays a photo of United Way founders announcing the organization’s creation 50 years ago.

Board Chair Herb Peters gave an overview of the 49th AGM minutes, which were approved, and Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee Stefan Kristjanson presented the Treasurer’s Report. Audited financial statements are included in the Annual Report.

United Way board chair Herb Peters addresses the 50th Annual General Meeting.

United Way board chair Herb Peters addresses the 50th Annual General Meeting.

“Thanks to an annual grant for fundraising and administrative expenses from the Province of Manitoba, every dollar raised in the Annual Campaign goes directly to making a difference in our community,” said Kristjanson.

“United Way invested $16.7 million in 98 community organizations that support our areas of focus and $3.4 million in United Way community programs and partnerships,” in 2014-15.

Retiring board member Ayn Wilcox, who has served the United Way in multiple capacities since 2000 and is the current chair of the Steering Committee for the 50th anniversary, provided the Nominating Committee report.

She presented a nomination slate of 15 people, all of whom were elected – existing board members Jodene Baker, Cynthia Foreman, Reid Hartry, Jan Sanderson, Stefan Kristjanson, Herb Peters, Kevin Rebeck; and new board members Joan Hardy, Isha Khan, Nadia Kidwai, Angie Hutchinson, Brian O’Leary, BJ Reid, Gloria Spence, and Kelvin Shepherd.

Retired from the board are Marc Arnal, Angie Bruce, Lindy Choy, Janice Malo, Karen Dyck, Christine Cyr, Sam Pellettieri, and Ayn Wilcox.

United Way President & CEO Connie Walker mingles with guests before the AGM

United Way President & CEO Connie Walker mingles with guests before the AGM

The AGM was followed by a board meeting which saw the election of Herb Peters, chairperson; Marilyn McLaren, chairperson-elect and senior vice-chairperson; BJ Reid, vice-chairperson, Resource Development; Jodene Baker, vice-chairperson, Community Investment; Stefan Kristjanson, vice-chairperson, Finance and Administration and treasurer; Grant Shaw, vice-chairperson, Marketing and Communication; Cynthia Foreman, co-chair, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council; Barbara Palace Churchill, honorary solicitor; Kelvin Shepherd, Campaign Chair.

Awards recognizing community leadership were presented to 2014 Campaign Chair and board member Sandra Oakley, board member and chair of the Resource Development Committee Doug Finkbeiner, Ayn Wilcox, and Christine Cyr, who served on the board since 2009 and the Aboriginal Relations Council from 2008-15 including five years as chair.

Christine Cyr receives an award from Herb Peters recognizing her community leadership

Christine Cyr receives an award from Herb Peters recognizing her community leadership

Afterwards Herb Peters talked about the Winnipeg Wednesdays held this June to celebrate United Way’s 50th anniversary.

Winnipeggers pledged almost 1,700 acts of kindness online for Conscious Kindness on June 4, and on June 10 hundreds took part in Red Table meals to have important discussions about Winnipeg’s future.

Winnipeggers came through in a big way on June 17 with over $30,000 in crowdfunding for 18 important projects at Winnipeg family resource centres as part of the Make It Happen campaign.

Nine projects were fully-funded, and the remaining nine Make It Happen projects will continue accepting funds at EveryDayMagic.ca until they are fully-funded. 

“This has been a month of experiencing the great generosity of our city,” Peters said.

“Next Wednesday (June 24) we will celebrate this generosity of Winnipeggers at our concert at The Forks. The concert features much of Winnipeg’s finest talent, and we’re excited to share the evening with as many Winnipeggers as possible.”

The free concert, billed One Night for Winnipeg, will feature performances by JD Edwards Band, JP Hoe, Mitch Dorge (formerly of The Crash Test Dummies), Sweet Alibi, The Lytics, The Noble Thiefs, and The Treble. Ace Burpee and Rosanna Deerchild are hosting.

The Annual Report is now available online. Hardcopies are available at United Way’s offices, 580 Main Street, or phone 204-477-5360 or email info@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca to receive one by mail.


What does a better Winnipeg look like?

It’s Red Table Day—a day to come together and talk over a meal about how we can make Winnipeg better!

Today United Way is asking Winnipeggers to “start a conversation that matters” with four questions that explore opinions and ideas for a better Winnipeg while breaking bread with co-workers, friends and family.

Beautiful Winnipeg.

Photo by Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press.

The initiative, called Red Tables, is part of Winnipeg Wednesdays—United Way’s 50th anniversary celebration happening throughout June.

“There’s an old saying that goes ‘You have a dollar and I have a dollar. If we trade, we’re no better off. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we trade, now we each have two ideas and are both the richer for it,’” says Ayn Wilcox, past board chair of United Way of Winnipeg and current chair of its 50th anniversary steering committee.

For generations now, through adversity and opportunity, Winnipeggers have believed in the power of coming together to share ideas. It is a concept that forges connections, enriches understanding, deepens trust and encourages cooperation.

It also a belief held by local leader Michael Redhead Champagne. For more than three years he has been making room for conversations about peace, non-violence, community, and the sacred value of youth every Friday at Meet Me at the Bell Tower.

Meet Me At The Bell Tower

Michael Champagne brings people together to talk about a better Winnipeg at Meet Me at the Bell Tower every Friday at 6 p.m. Photo by Greg Littlejohn.

“Bell Tower encourages conversation and creates a space to hear from people who are often silent. We discuss the issues in our neighbourhood, and share ideas on how we can improve them.”

Champagne says the approach is having an impact. “You can feel the camaraderie, the sense of neighbours looking out for each other. It builds confidence, and the belief that together we can create the community we want to live in.”

The concept of sharing ideas and knowledge is at the core of United Way of Winnipeg.

“Winnipeggers had a vision for a better Winnipeg, and when they came together to share their ideas on how to make that happen it led to the creation of  United Way of Winnipeg in 1965,” says Wilcox. “United Way is an organization driven by the vision and ideas of Winnipeggers with many different perspectives and experiences. Red Tables is a way to celebrate this and encourage more voices to join the conversation.”

Participants in Red Tables are also invited to share their ideas and perspectives afterwards with United Way, who will provide a report back to the community later in 2015.

Peg releases annual well-being report; Winnipeg improving in many key areas.

Peg releases Our City: A Peg report on Winnipeg's well being.

Today Peg released its first annual Winnipeg well-being report, Our City: A Peg report on Winnipeg’s well-being (PDF).

It outlines how we’re doing on 16 key indicators, and the good news is Winnipeg is improving on the majority.

Peg Winnipeg Well-Being Overview

Winnipeggers have been making many improvements, from increased high school graduation rates and more disposable income to environmental successes like using less water, recycling more and more rides on the bus.

Areas where Winnipeg is declining include rate of children in care, the condition of our dwellings, lower voter turnout, less volunteerism and escalating diabetes.

There’s been no change in readiness to learn—the skills children need upon entering kindergarten that go a long way towards future success. Up to 40% of Winnipeg children are entering school not ready to be thereImproving readiness to learn is one of the goals of our involvement in the Early Childhood Development Innovation Fund.

While caring about our city is important, caring alone is not enough to make change. It’s also important to measure and report on how we are doing.

Measuring and reporting on economic, social and environmental issues can help us rally and work together toward an even stronger Winnipeg. Measurement encourages us to ask questions, to seek innovation, to drive results, and to celebrate progress.

What it’s really like to live in poverty in Manitoba.

Poverty can be an abstract concept. We may sense it’s a root cause of problems in our city, but without direct experience with the challenges people living in poverty face, it can be tough to relate.

Listening to the stories of poverty can open our eyes to the struggles people face as they navigate life on low incomes.

United Way’s Living on the Edge Poverty Simulation is one way people can get closer to the experience of living in poverty. Participating in an experiential simulation moves the concept from an intellectual one to a more emotional understanding.

United Way Winnipeg Poverty Simulation

Volunteer participants experience putting food on the table by using a mock food bank in a Living On The Edge poverty simulation.

There are “aha” moments where you—whether as donors, as Winnipeggers, as policy makers, or as the family, neighbours and friends of people living in poverty—realize the barriers that poverty erects. The power of participating in a simulation lies in the solidarity it creates, as we recognize our commonalities and break down “us and them” thinking.

If your workplace or organization is interested in hosting a poverty simulation, please contact us. It takes just a few hours, but the transformational effects may last a lifetime.

Living on the Edge Poverty Simulation.

A poverty simulation participant balances his budget while taking care of his “child.”