“I can do anything I want to.” Art helps Jessica find her path in life.

Jessica’s love of art began when she was a participant at a program supported by Winnipeggers’ donations to United Way.

Today, she is employed by the same program, earning a living by making and teaching art to other young Winnipeggers.

Jessica finds her path through art.

“Once Jessie got here, she really found her path in life.”

It’s a chance for kids to express themselves in a safe, supportive environment during the critical hours after school. See how Jessica’s passion for community is her guiding light.

MPI gives Teen Stop Jeunesse some wheely big help!

The St. Vital drop-in centre is getting a little more mobile, thanks to the good folks at MPI!

The generous donation of a van by Manitoba Public Insurance will make life easier for staff and kids at Teen Stop Jeunesse.

“Usually we have to send two staff with their own vehicles for five to six kids,” said Teen Stop executive director Pat LeBlanc.

Teen Stop executive director Pat LeBlanc, left, gets the keys for a van last Friday from MPI’s Mark Grant, manager, MPI’s Physical Damage Research & Training

Teen Stop executive director Pat LeBlanc, left, gets the keys for a van last Friday from MPI’s Mark Grant, manager, MPI’s Physical Damage Research & Training.

The van ─ a 2015 Dodge Caravan SXT ─ means the United Way-supported St. Vital youth drop-in centre can take that same number of kids with a single vehicle, freeing up a staff member to do other activities with youth.

LeBlanc describes Teen Stop as a “social service centre offering education, recreation, and assistance to those in need,” adding that it serves not only children and youth, but also offers educational programs for adults and parents.

“For some of the kids who didn’t succeed in regular school and were drop-in attendees, they’re coming back here because this is the place they feel comfortable at and they’re succeeding at levels that they didn’t expect.”

LeBlanc is especially proud of two brothers who didn’t graduate from the public school system – who hardly ever attended school. After time they began attending the Teen Stop education programming, and have boasted almost perfect attendance.

“One of them graduated last year from our program, and the other will graduate at the end of January. They both have aspirations of going on to university.”

Teen Stop also offers music programming, arts & crafts, life-skills, computer lab and help with homework.

Thank you, MPI, for your generosity and for caring about our community!

Canad Inns cares about the youth in our community.

Canad Inns corporate office kicked off their company-wide United Way campaign with some inspiring words from Philipa Caplan from Macdonald Youth Services (MYS), a United Way partner agency.

Sponsored executive Katie Dubienski said the Canad Inns employees listening to Philipa were “engaged and captured” by her words.

“You can tell it’s a valuable resource for youth, especially the crisis stabilization unit. The importance of having a place to go and someone being there, it’s huge.”

United Way sponsored executive Katie Dubienski, Canad Inns Employee Campaign Chair Laura Kwiatkowski, Philipa Caplan of Macdonald Youth Services, and United Way Partnership Development Manager Rob Pierce.

United Way sponsored executive Katie Dubienski, Canad Inns Employee Campaign Chair Laura Kwiatkowski, Philipa Caplan of Macdonald Youth Services, and United Way Partnership Development Manager Rob Pierce.

MYS provides placement and support services for youth and families in Winnipeg and Manitoba.

They’re part of a network of hundreds of agencies and programs supported by your donations to United Way, and represent some of the important work being done to help Winnipeg kids be all they can be.

Canada Inns Plane Pull team is always one of the mightiest!

Canada Inns Plane Pull team is always one of the mightiest!

Canad Inns put in a great Plane Pull team for our city-wide kickoff in September, who hauled that Herc in just over 10 seconds.

Thank you, Canad Inns, for hosting us and being a big part of making Winnipeg better for us all!

Youth Agencies Alliance uses art to get 140 young Winnipeggers thinking about their futures.

The question youth hear from adults all the time is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Why don’t we ever ask, “Who do you want to be?”

This year’s Youth Agencies Alliance Annual Art Show, called “When I Grow Up,” posed exactly that question. Through an innovative series of art workshops, Winnipeg youth discovered who they want to become; the types of characteristics they want to embody and how they will demonstrate those characteristics.

They thought about who they look up to, and what kind of city we would have if everyone tried to be their best.

YAA hosted a high-energy gallery opening at Graffiti Gallery to open the show, made possible in part by donations to United Way.

Kids from all over the city came to see their artwork up on the walls of a respected gallery, filling them with a sense of accomplishment and possibility.

Youth Agency Alliance art show.

A young person who attends the West Central Community Program plans to be the kind of person who gives blood when he grows up.

A young person who attends the West Central Community Program plans to be the kind of person who gives blood when he grows up.

Melanie Wight, Minister of Children & Youth Opportunities, was excited by the positive vision the artists had for Winnipeg’s future.

“I saw many pieces that said ‘respectful, generous, kind…’. I can’t tell you how important kindness is in this world.

It just makes me happy to see so many dreams, on the wall & living in people’s hearts.

I look forward to a future with people like you in it, working to make the world a better place.”

Youth Agency Alliance art show.

Select works from “When I Grow Up” will be shown in the Manitoba Legislature’s Keystone Gallery this fall.

The excited voices and smiles of the artists show how much it matters to encourage young talent, introspection, and a bigger view of our place in our communities.

This young person plans to help his fellow Winnipeggers when he grows up.

This young person plans to help his fellow Winnipeggers when he grows up.

YAA's annual art show.

This young person who attends Spence Neighbourhood Association programs says “I want to be a teacher because teachers have a big effect on the kids, and the kids have an effect on our future.”

Calling all passionate young activists! Volunteer opportunities at United Way.

There’s a strong culture of youth activism in Winnipeg. Our young people are bright and passionate, and looking for ways to make a real difference in our city.

United Way knows how much young people can achieve, and we listen to their input through our Youth United Council.

Right now there are volunteer positions available (PDF) on the Leadership Committee, the Grant Committee, and the Council where young people can get involved in a meaningful way.

“Young people drive some of the most powerful changes in our civil society today.”

The Governor General’s Advisory Committee on Volunteerism & Philanthropy spoke to young people across Canada through their local United Ways, and they’ve just issued their final report.

The Governor General at one of several Youth Engagement Roundtables conducted across Canada. In Winnipeg, Youth United volunteers had the chance to share their thoughts on creating a smart and caring nation. Photo courtesy of the Governor General's Office.

The Governor General in Winnipeg, at one of several Youth Engagement Roundtables conducted across Canada. Youth United volunteers had the chance to share their thoughts on creating a smart and caring nation.

The report highlights the priority placed on young activists, including our past Youth United Chair Chelsea Caldwell.

“Chelsea from Winnipeg defined meaningful youth engagement as one that unlocks and reveals a person’s value, both to themselves and others.”

That’s the kind of self development we hope to offer to future youth volunteers. Please share this opportunity with people you think would benefit.

Letting young people know their actions make a difference.

Grad is in the air, and United Way volunteers have the pleasure of awarding lots of Youth United Student Community Service Awards at this time of year.

Student Community Service Award.

Participating schools choose one Grade 11 student from among the student body whose actions and volunteer spirit reflect United Way’s philosophy of creating opportunities for a better life for everyone. Award recipients are acknowledged for setting an example by volunteering, connecting with others in their community, and motivating other students to get involved.

Some schools get their awards in the fall, and we’ll award the rest of the winners then, along with a reception to congratulate and highlight these committed young people for their good work.

The award is sponsored by our friends at Great West Life.