GenNext’s annual Summit conference explores our giving identities.

by Sean Ledwich on November 13, 2017 Comments Off on GenNext’s annual Summit conference explores our giving identities.

Almost 300 Winnipeggers committed to forging a better future for our city came together to exchange ideas and inspiration at the 2nd annual GenNext Summit – Our City: Identity at the RBC Convention Centre last month.

Emcees and GenNext Council members Jeromy Spence and Jenn Lusby welcome Summit goers.

Emcees and GenNext Council members Jeromy Spence and Jenn Lusby welcome Summit goers.

United Way Winnipeg’s GenNext includes hundreds of leaders committed to moving our community forward and giving of themselves to create meaningful social change in our city.

Keynote speakers included MaryAnn Kempe, United Way Campaign Cabinet member and Chief Human Resources Officer at Birchwood Automotive Group, and Sarah Giesbrecht, Manager at HR Services and GenNext Summit committee member, who presented a hands-on learning experience with the Define and Activate Your Impact in the Community workbook.

Sarah and MaryAnn guided Summit goers through a process of examining their passions, values, talents and inspiration to build a personal giving statement.

MaryAnn Kempe and Sarah Giesbrecht lead a workshop on defining and activating individual impact.

MaryAnn Kempe and Sarah Giesbrecht lead a workshop on defining and activating individual impact.

CBC Manitoba’s Marcy Markusa, Margorie Dowhos, and Nadia Kidwai hosted a GenNext Summit edition of CBC Asks to generate ideas about bringing our city together and explore our personal and collective legacies.

Marcy Markusa kicks off the CBC Asks session.

Marcy Markusa kicks off the CBC Asks session.

CBC's Nadia Kidwai and Bear Clan Patrol's Mitch Bourbonniere exchanging knowledge during a CBC Asks panel.

CBC’s Nadia Kidwai and Bear Clan Patrol’s Mitch Bourbonniere exchanging knowledge during a CBC Asks panel.

Dorota Blumczynska, Executive Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM), and Paul Mahon,  President and CEO of Great-West Lifeco, held a conversation titled Why We Do What We Do.

Bradley C. West truly set the stage for the Summit, providing inspiring messages and perspectives, both holistically and personally, throughout the day.

Bradley C. West

Other speakers include Derrick Coupland, a brand strategist and founder of Coupland & Company Limited, and Marc Kuly, professor at U of W and a past consultant for United Way agency partner Manitoba School Improvement Program

Passionate representatives from over a dozen United Way agency partners were also on hand to share stories and educate Summit participants about the amazing work being done in our communities, and the opportunities to contribute as volunteers.

An engagement opportunity came in the form of a Pop Up Day of Caring – the mobile form of a traditional United Way Day of Caring that provides workplaces and groups a hands-on opportunity to help out a United Way agency partner or non-profit organization with projects that contribute to local community development, renewal and pride. Summit participants assembled over 350 hygiene kits that were destined to help people in need at two United Way agencies.

Assembling hygiene kits during the Pop Up Day of Caring, which was generously supported by The North West Company.

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Sean LedwichGenNext’s annual Summit conference explores our giving identities.

The benefits of eating together

by Sean Ledwich on November 7, 2017 Comments Off on The benefits of eating together

Food security, and togetherness, has a huge effect

Imagine there was one simple thing you could do to ensure your kids ate less junk food and got better grades, your parents stayed healthier longer and you felt less stressed.

Sounds like magic, right? Actually, it’s something a bit more commonplace than that: dinner.

Though researchers aren’t sure exactly why it works, several studies have found a connection between eating a meal together and our physical and mental health. The advantages seem particularly strong for kids, who benefit from seeing healthy eating habits and positive communication modelled at the dinner table, but, according to Twyla Nichols, the coordinator of YWCA Halifax’s Food First program, we all stand to gain something when we make time to eat together.

“When you sit down and eat, you’re relaxing,” she notes. “You slow down.”

This is especially true for seniors, who tend to be at a higher risk for social isolation. Communal meals help by taking the focus off eating and placing it on conversation, community and enjoyment.

Nichols has seen some of the benefits firsthand. She hosts a Food First program complete with a free lunch at YWCA Halifax every other week for around a dozen women. It’s open to all ages, but is mainly attended by seniors. Nichols says that without the communal meal, many of these women would likely be lonely, which can have a serious impact on mental health. “A lot of them are also widows, so if they didn’t have that type of thing to do, they would be alone,” she says. (Many are also low-income, which is why she also puts together a monthly calendar with food-related activities ranging from a trip to the food bank to farmers’ market visits.)

But for most of the women in the group, the biggest benefit is social. Many have developed lasting friendships, Nichols says, which makes breaking bread together all the more important.

Learn more about how food security affects all Canadians on the Food Secure Canada website.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food security or requires emergency food, visit 211 Manitoba and click into the Food & Clothing quick link to find food assistance close to you.

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Sean LedwichThe benefits of eating together

3 ways to spend more time with seniors

by Sean Ledwich on October 24, 2017 Comments Off on 3 ways to spend more time with seniors

As we age, one of the biggest threats to our independence is social isolation.

And the need to keep seniors mentally engaged in their communities has never been greater. Kahir Lalji, the manager of a United Way donor supported-program that helps dedicated to helping senior citizens with day-to-day tasks so they can continue to live independently in their own homes, says by 2031 one in four of us will be an older adult.

“No one wants to be forced to leave their community because they can’t access the services they need,” says Lalji. “But this is something we see happening.”

That’s where the rest of us come in. Connecting with seniors provides a meaningful—and mutual—learning experience—and it doesn’t take much. “We’ve seen volunteers and clients build lasting friendships, and we’ve seen transformations in communities, too,” says Lalji. Here are three things you can do to connect:

  1. Be a good neighbour

 Lalji recommends becoming part of a “natural system of social support,” which means you’re getting involved not because it’s your job, but because you genuinely care about your neighbours. For instance, if you’re going to the grocery store, pop by to check in on a senior down the street to see if he or she could use a carton of milk. “It’s a way for neighbours to monitor the health of older adults in the community,” says Lalji.

  1. Leverage your skills

 Think about what you do best and use your skills as a way to get involved. Great at knitting? Start a club at a local seniors’ residence or community centre. If you’re an accountant, set up a financial planning clinic for older people. Using your own interests as a starting point for volunteering makes the experience more meaningful for everyone. “It’s a great opportunity to bring your understanding, knowledge and skills to the community,” says Lalji.

  1. Strike the right balance

 It’s not always about doing things for seniors; it’s about doing things with them, says Lalji. Often the best relationships start with providing a service (such as shopping, yard work, minor repairs or transportation) in order to develop a more meaningful relationship. “Providing these types of services is a place from which to build a rapport,” says Lalji. “Then it can be about having a cup of tea, playing cards or going for walks together.”

By supporting United Way Winnipeg you help older adults through agency partners like A&O: Support Services for Older Adults and Good Neighbours Active Living Centre – places that promote independence, dignity and well-being and empower older adults through programs and services that address physical, social, intellectual and spiritual needs.

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Sean Ledwich3 ways to spend more time with seniors

6 things newcomers to Canada need

by Sean Ledwich on September 26, 2017 Comments Off on 6 things newcomers to Canada need

We can all play a part helping people feel at home.

Imagine trying to do your weekly grocery shop, but the store is totally unfamiliar: you’ve never seen some of these vegetables before, you’re not sure where to find the prices on anything and your favourite brand of, well, everything is nowhere to be found. Moving to a new country has a way of turning even the most everyday tasks into struggles.

Whether it’s social customs, navigating the health-care system, finding a place to live or buying groceries, the people who come here to start new lives face the daunting task of adjusting to Canadian society quickly. (And the nearly 40,000 refugees who sought asylum here in 2016 are likely to face even bigger challenges.) But the six most common things new Canadians struggle with are far less intimidating when neighbours lend a hand. Here’s how to help.

  1. Finding community

One of the hardest parts of immigrating to a new home is leaving behind friends and loved ones. Newcomers often feel isolated because of language barriers, and building new social circles takes time. Connecting people from the same ethnic group or faith is a good path to new friends and support. Keep your eyes out for welcome events at your local community centre or consider organizing one yourself. Or volunteer with United Way partner organizations like Welcome Place (Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council Inc.), which has a plethora of settlement programs for newcomers and refugees, including one that matches refugee families with established Winnipeggers for friendship and social support.

  1. Navigating the grocery store

Grocery stores in North America can be overwhelming, but you can help a newly arrived family out by playing host on their next trip to the store. Products and food labels can be confusing to someone new to Canada, not to mention foods that are typically Canadian, such as maple syrup on pancakes. As a volunteer connected with a refugee and newcomer-serving agency (see bottom of article for a full list) you could hold an impromptu cooking class to show your new friends how unfamiliar foods are cooked and enjoyed—and ask for lessons on their food cultures in return.

  1. Learning the language

Anyone who has tried to learn a new language knows it’s a hard-won skill. But newcomers have the added challenge of needing communication skills quickly to find work and do everyday tasks like ride the bus. Connecting with people who speak the language they are trying to learn, and getting that experienced of being immersed in a new language, is a huge help.

If English or French is your first language, contact settlement agencies to volunteer as a conversation coach. Many community centres offer spaces to practice speaking skills. Added bonus: you could end up learning a new language too!

  1. Preparing for winter

Canadian snowstorms can be brutal for many newcomers who don’t have the right cold-weather clothes. Most newcomer and refugee-serving agencies have programs to outfit newly arrived families with proper gear, while United Way’s Koats for Kids program distributes winter gear through schools, daycares, and child-serving agencies throughout Winnipeg, including those that serve newcomers and refugees. Donating your new or gently-used coats, mitts, hats, scarves, boots and snow pants helps ensure youngsters stay safe.

  1. Accessing community resources

Applying for a social insurance number, opening a bank account and even getting their first library cards can be difficult for newcomers who don’t yet speak fluent English or French. Offer to help fill out the correct forms or, even better, accompany your new neighbours to the bank or Service Canada Centre.

  1. Having a hobby

Once newcomers are somewhat settled in their new home, figuring out what to do for fun becomes a higher priority on their list. “The thing they say most is ‘We don’t know what to do on the weekends,’ or ‘We have kids and we don’t know where to go,’” says a volunteer who works with newcomers. Neighbours can help by throwing a block party, or introducing newcomers to zoos, parks, museums and art galleries. And be sure to ask what newcomers used to enjoy doing for fun in their last home. You may even find a common interest to enjoy together.

The Government of Canada website offers an extensive list of newcomer service agencies in every province, with contact information and languages served.

Check with these United Way Winnipeg partner agencies for further information about services and programs supporting newcomers and refugees and help with integration and bridging the gap between the migrant experience and Canadian society:

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Sean Ledwich6 things newcomers to Canada need

A great day at Winnipeg’s 2017 Plane Pull & Kickoff!

by Sean Ledwich on September 15, 2017 Comments Off on A great day at Winnipeg’s 2017 Plane Pull & Kickoff!

A little rain could not dampen the spirits of generous Winnipeggers who pulled together to raise a record amount for youth mental health!

Thousands of Winnipeggers and 68 teams of pullers showed their support for our city today at the 14th Annual Plane Pull and Kickoff for United Way Winnipeg’s 2017 Campaign.

Almost $60,000 was raised by participants, a record amount (with more to come in the next week!) All the money raised will create more mental health support for youth, one of the four priority areas in United Way’s Three Years for a Better Winnipeg plan.

“Thank you for being here to show your love for our community and your dedication to pulling together for a better Winnipeg for all of us,” said Colin Ryan, United Way’s volunteer chair for the 2017 Campaign, flanked on stage by the 2017 Campaign Cabinet.

“More and more, Winnipeggers are reaching out with kindness every single day; sharing our pride and shaping a Winnipeg we can all be proud to call home.

That’s exactly the spirit of United Way, and the reason I’m so proud to be involved.

It’s all about Winnipeggers helping Winnipeggers. Because there are times in ALL our lives when we may need a little help.”

Payworks earned the Top Fundraising title.

Payworks earned the Top Fundraising title.

Payworks was the top fundraising team with an amazing $10,801 raised, while top individual fundraisers were Ken Reddig, $2,250; Dee dela Cruz, $1,775; Trevor MacHutchon, $1620; Trisha Davey, 1,534.70; and Lauren Himbeault, $1,505.

The Team Spirit award was taken down by Bell MTS.

Also note there is STILL TIME TO FUNDRAISE and win some amazing prizes! You have until Friday, September 22 at 4 p.m. to qualify for a super sweet Rocky Mountain trip. Fundraise to earn extra chances to win this incredible prize courtesy of VIA Rail and Shelter Canadian Properties Ltd.

The fastest pullers on the two planes were Richardson International, who pulled the Lockheed C-130 Hercules 20 feet in a smoking 9.15 seconds, and the 17 Wing Winnipeg 1 team who flew the Boeing 727 in 7.75 seconds. See all results below.

Wawanesa Insurance, the Presenting Sponsor for the day, fielded a spirited team in blue.

Wawanesa Insurance, the Presenting Sponsor for the day, fielded a spirited team in blue.

Congratulations to everyone and thank you for making it a great day, and a special thank you to Red River College and their Stevenson Campus for their hard work and hospitality again this year!

PLANE PULL RESULTS:

Boeing 727

17 Winnipeg Winnipeg 1 7.75
Western Marble and Tile 8.36
National Bank Financial 8.63
17 Wing Winnipeg 2 8.86
Standard Aero 8.9
Toromont Cat 9.06
Epic – Bell MTS 9.09
Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP 9.15
Canada Revenue Agency 9.15
Workers Compensation Board 9.18
Boeing 9.21
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. 9.27
Quintex 9.3
University of Winnipeg 9.36
Birchwood Credit Solution 9.36
Royal Canadian Mint 9.56
CIBC 9.57
New Flyer 9.57
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 9.66
Wellington-Altus Private Wealth 9.66
Manitoba E-Health 9.84
PCL 10.03
Motor Coach Industries 10.12
Number Ten Architectural Group 10.15
Princess Auto 1 10.18
TD Canada Trust 10.18
HUB International 10.18
Bell MTS 10.3
Johnston Group 10.39
Princess Auto 2 10.42
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 10.42
Fillmore Riley LLP 10.45
Online Business Systems 10.48
Pluri-Elles 10.53
Canad Inns 10.75
EIC Shared Services 10.78
Manulife Financial 10.81
Mantioba Blue Cross 10.87
United Way Staff 10.87
People Corporation 10.93
United Way GenNext 11
AAA Alarms 11.36
MLT Aikins 11.66
Taylor McCaffrey 11.72
The Dufresne Group 11.78
Health Sciences Centre 11.9
CNIB 12.33
Cargill Limited 12.72
Canadian Mental Health Association 13.72

Hercules C-130

Richardson International 9.15
Manitoba Hydro 9.48
Red River College 9.82
Northwest Company 10
RBC 10.51
Bold Commerce 10.6
Deloitte 10.63
MNP 10.75
Stantec 10.81
Manitoba Public Insurance 10.84
United Way Winnipeg Cabinet 11
National Leasing 11.03
Manitoba Institute for Trades and Technology 11.09
Cambrian Credit Union 11.33
United Way Agency Team 11.36
Payworks 11.45
Marymound 11.93
Color Ad Packaging 12.36
Wawanesa 12.81
Great West Life Assurance Company 13.02

 

And thank you to all the wonderful sponsors!

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Sean LedwichA great day at Winnipeg’s 2017 Plane Pull & Kickoff!

How to find affordable after-school activities.

by Sean Ledwich on September 12, 2017 Comments Off on How to find affordable after-school activities.

After-school programming benefits the whole family.

From mom-and-baby classes to post-kindergarten playdates, there’s lots of stuff for little kids to do to keep them busy and socially engaged before nap time. But once they start school, opportunities for extracurricular engagement start to drop.

“There’s a complete mismatch between the end of the school day and the end of parents’ workdays,” says Daljit Gill-Badesha, a healthy communities and children’s programs manager.

“And children in the six-to-12 age group are more vulnerable at this time than any other. Unfortunately, many kids lack opportunities to be meaningfully engaged and active after school.”

That’s a problem because “kids need after-school time to develop socially, to explore their limits and to manage peer relationships in a creative, open environment,” says Emma Sutherland, executive director at a United Way agency in that gives Indigenous and inner-city children access to recreation, food and cultural programs designed to foster healthy living, leadership and employment training.

And quality after-school programming doesn’t just benefit kids. “For some parents, especially the working poor, these few hours of childcare, where they know their kids are safe, happy and supervised, can make all the difference,” says Sutherland. “These programs also create opportunities for community bonding for parents who need a little extra social support.” Here’s how to find the best after-school programs in your area.

Ask kids for input

Gill-Badesha recommends asking kids what they want to do. “When we’re talking to kids, they’ll say, ‘We have ideas, we know what we want. You need to work with us more.’” she says. “These kids have so much potential, and they want places to act on that potential.” Just a trip to your local library can offer them an array of choices, from book and Lego clubs to homework help to games and crafts days.

Find a team

Most communities offer organized sports teams, but there are also multisport leadership programs funded by non-profit organizations, as well as programs designed to keep kids physically active available through city recreation centres, arenas and pools. “Whether it’s sports-oriented or a form of creative play, play in itself gives children opportunities that lead to mastery, which is so important for self-esteem,” says Sutherland.

Let them lead

Look for organizations that get kids involved in community leadership projects, giving them the chance to develop their leadership potential. Some great options include United Way-supported Girl Guides of Canada (three areas of Winnipeg) and Boys & Girls’ Clubs of Winnipeg. At Sutherland’s agency, programs geared toward physical literacy are led by Indigenous youth who may then progress to supervisors and, eventually, become staff members. “It’s an important opportunity for all children to see Indigenous youth in leadership positions,” says Sutherland.

Last year young people found positive mentorship, safety and support at 41 out-of-school programs offered through United Way Winnipeg-supported agencies including:

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Sean LedwichHow to find affordable after-school activities.

Generosity at 25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament

by Sean Ledwich on August 24, 2017 Comments Off on Generosity at 25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament

The 25th Annual United Way Winnipeg Golf Tournament brought more than 140 golfers on 36 teams to the beautiful Bel Acres Golf & Country Club last week.

Together they raised more than $114,000 to support United Way’s work with a network of programs and agencies that help thousands of Winnipeggers each year. This wonderful generosity brought the 25-year total for the tournament to over $1.3 million!

“On behalf of the 2017 Golf Committee, thank you all for joining us today to support United Way’s essential work in our community,” said 2017 volunteer Golf Tournament Chair Serena Brennan.

Volunteer Golf Committee Chair Serena Brennan, right, presents a cheque to Marilyn McLaren, volunteer Chair of United Way Winnipeg’s Board of Trustees.

Volunteer Golf Committee Chair Serena Brennan, right, presents a cheque to Marilyn McLaren, volunteer Chair of United Way Winnipeg’s Board of Trustees.

After golf, Dilly Knol, Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre – one of 24 United Way-supported family resource centres – talked about the work her centre does to provide support to kids and families in Winnipeg’s North End. Andrews Street has been a United Way partner for as long as the golfers have been teeing off in the annual tournament – 25 years!

Serena Brennan thanks Dilly Knol, Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre, for speaking to tournament participants about the essential role her centre plays for kids and families in the North End.

Serena Brennan thanks Dilly Knol, Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre, for speaking to tournament participants about the essential role her centre plays for kids and families in the North End.

The annual golf tournament could not happen without the effort of many fantastic volunteers and a volunteer committee that works so hard to make the day a success. Thank you!

The 2016 Golf Tournament Committee.

The 2017 Golf Tournament Committee.

The tournament also could not happen without the support of many wonderful sponsors.

A special thank you to Rogers, the Title Sponsor; MNP and CIBC, Tee Gift Sponsors; Samsung, Dinner Sponsor; The Fairmont Winnipeg, Lunch Sponsor; Birchwood Automotive Group, Putting Green Sponsor; Johnston Group, Golf Cart Sponsor, Vins Philippe Dandurand Wines, the Wine Sponsor; and thank you to ALL of our sponsors for their generous support:

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Sean LedwichGenerosity at 25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament

Celebrating our strengths and differences.

by Sean Ledwich on June 22, 2017 Comments Off on Celebrating our strengths and differences.

About 400 Winnipeggers came together on June 15 at The Forks for United Way’s Community Luncheon & AGM to recognize volunteerism and the great things we accomplish together.

Host CBC’s Marcy Markusa welcomed the, “donors, volunteers, agency partners; friends from labour, business, government and all walks of life,” in attendance, all of whom received a copy of United Way Winnipeg’s 2016-17 Annual Report.

Everyone got a copy of United Way's 2016-17 Annual Report at the Community Luncheon & AGM.

Everyone got a copy of United Way’s 2016-17 Annual Report at the Community Luncheon & AGM.

Marcy recognized how the land – Treaty One Land, homeland of the Metis Nation – “connects us to Winnipeg’s roots – to our community’s roots. It also symbolizes a space that connects us to one another, and to our dreams for a brighter future.”

Marcy Markusa talked about her love for our community, and how our differences make us strong.

Marcy Markusa talked about her love for our community, and how our differences make us strong.

“We gather at this community lunch to recognize and celebrate the difference every single one of you makes in the lives of our fellow Winnipeggers.”

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, acknowledged the amazing generosity of Winnipeggers, who gave more than $20 million last year – the first year of United Way’s community-guided three-year plan to help more kids and families in Winnipeg.

The plan has a two-fold vision, Marilyn said, “that we keep strong an existing network of services, and that we push ourselves as a community to go further to help more kids and families that need help.”

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, gave thanks to the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, gave thanks to the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

The continued generosity of United Way donors, will “keep an essential network of more than 100 agencies, partners and programs stable and available for thousands who access them on a daily basis,” while allowing United Way to advance work under the community plan to provide more mentors for kids, increase mental health supports for youth, offer more job skills and money management training, and ensure families have more neighbourhood-based support close to home through family resource centres.

Marilyn also tipped her hat to representatives from the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

“Their tireless efforts ensure that Winnipeggers who need help have somewhere to turn. They offer hope and opportunity to thousands every day. It is difficult to find the words to describe our gratitude for the difference they make in our community.”

Marilyn called volunteers – people that United Way agency partners depend upon – the foundation of all we do.

“Giving of your time and talent to make our community a better place is a special kind of gift that we can all celebrate. Volunteering builds bridges, new relationships, and new understandings. It spreads kindness and love into places where it is needed most.”

Three volunteers retiring from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees were recognized with certificates of appreciation and acknowledgement of their generous contributions – Dr. Neil Besner, Krista Boryskavich, and Dr. Jodene Baker.

Dr. Jodene Baker was one of three volunteers recognized for their contributions upon their retirement from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Jodene Baker was one of three volunteers recognized for their contributions upon their retirement from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

The day included greetings from the Honourable Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba, and His Worship Mayor Brian Bowman.

Great-West Life and James Richardson & Sons Limited and affiliated companies received the United Way Thanks a Million Award. The annual award is presented to national organizations – and their employees – whose generosity and culture of community spirit stand as an example for all of us to follow.

“Be it as a donor, volunteer, or partner, you are a very real part of changing people’s lives every day in OUR city. Our city still has challenges. We still have work we need to do, together. What is clear, though, is that Winnipeg’s foundation is strong, and it’s future full of hope.”

 

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Sean LedwichCelebrating our strengths and differences.

Winnipeg high school students show they care at 11 community agencies.

by Sean Ledwich on May 24, 2017 Comments Off on Winnipeg high school students show they care at 11 community agencies.

The annual United Way Youth Day of Caring is a chance for youth to contribute to and learn about our community.

Youth volunteers outside the MERC on Friday before leaving for their volunteer shifts.

Youth volunteers outside the MERC on Friday before leaving for their volunteer shifts.

About 120 Winnipeg high school students embarked from the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre (MERC) on Friday to volunteer at 11 area non-profit agencies for the annual United Way Youth Day of Caring.

Youth United council members Ryan, Emily, and Kelvin greeted youth with smiles and shirts.

Youth United council members Ryan, Emily, and Kelvin greeted youth with smiles and shirts.

Youth United council member Emily Kroft welcomed youth into the MERC gym with a smile and a t-shirt. The university student said the youth were excited and happy to be part of the day.

“It’s awesome for all these young people to be volunteering,” Emily said.

Youth United council member Taylor McNulty guides youth through a workshop to help them consider what they care about in their community.

Youth United council member Taylor McNulty guides youth through a workshop to help them consider what they care about in their community.

A United Way Day of Caring is an opportunity for school and workplace groups to partner with a United Way agency or other non-profit organization to lend a hand on a project that contributes to community development, renewal, and pride.

The annual Youth Day of Caring is not only a way for young people to contribute, but it’s a chance for them to learn about the important work happening at social agencies doing front-line work to make our city better every day.

After choosing volunteer projects youth took a little time for ice-breaking and introductions.

After choosing volunteer projects youth took a little time for ice-breaking and introductions.

At the West Broadway Community Organization (WBCO), a community renewal and development organization, several youth helped prepare communal growing plots in the Spirit Park Community Garden.

Youth cart the tools needed to volunteer at the Spirit Park Community Garden in West Broadway.

Youth cart the tools needed to volunteer at the Spirit Park Community Garden in West Broadway.

The garden is “vital to the community’s well-being,” said Zorya Arrow, who manages WBCO’s greenspace program and does community outreach.

WBCO's Zorya Arrow shows youth the difference between weeds and a strawberry plant.

WBCO’s Zorya Arrow shows youth the difference between weeds and a strawberry plant.

Zorya showed the youth how to weed the garden beds and explained composting before putting them to work cleaning and planting.

Youth learn about composting.

Youth learn about composting.

At WestEnd Commons youth wielded power drills to reinforce a garden box that will be used to grow food for the non-profit’s 82 residents, 42 of which are children.

Haley Morrow drives a screw to strengthen a garden box at WestEnd Commons.

Haley Morrow drives a screw to strengthen a garden box at WestEnd Commons.

“I feel privileged to get this opportunity. I’m just happy right now to be helping,” said Haley Morrow, 15, who said the Day of Caring experience has inspired her to volunteer more in her life.

Students in the community garden at WestEnd Commons.

Students in the community garden at WestEnd Commons.

John Hutton, executive director of the John Howard Society (JHS), was thrilled to have youth help clean up a basement space they will be opening up to another social agency.
“They’re great. They actually know how to clean and they’ve been enthusiastic,” said John.

Youth and JHS's John Hutton take a break for a photo.

Youth and JHS’s John Hutton take a break for a photo.

Most of the kids didn’t know about the JHS and the work the United Way agency partner does to help men successfully re-integrate into society after involvement with the criminal justice system.

“Volunteering connects kids to their community. They get a chance to say they’ve made things better, and they can learn a lot.”

At Thrive Community Support Circle youth washed windows, sorted donations and organized racks in the Thrift Shop, and helped with kids in the daycare.

The Thrift Shop is a social enterprise that supports the work of Thrive – a neighbourhood family centre and United Way agency partner that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes and monthly emergency food and baby-supply services.

Youth volunteers at Thrive.

Youth volunteers at Thrive.

Thrift Shop Coordinator Kristy Muckosky said the youth did “more work in three hours than we usually get done in two days.”

Organizing clothing racks in the Thrift Shop.

Organizing clothing racks in the Thrift Shop.

“It’s also neat to see their perspective of a place like this. You can tell that it’s eye-opening and they’re eager to help.”

Sorting donations for the Thrive Thrift Shop.

Sorting donations for the Thrive Thrift Shop.

After two hours of volunteering the youth returned on foot to the MERC gym for a lunch of pizza, generously donated by Santa Lucia Pizza. They spent the afternoon sharing their experiences and participating in workshops and presentations.

Returning to the MERC.

Returning to the MERC.

They also heard from an inspiring young woman, Lavonne Spencer, 21, who told them about growing up in the West End and attending after-school and sports programs at Spence Neighbourhood Association.

Lavonne said some people have a negative stereotype of the West End – that it’s all about drugs and gangs and crime. She used to have the same stereotype of the North End, until she spent time there and saw the truth – that it’s a strong community full of proud people and families living positive lives.

The inspiring Lavonne Spencer.

The inspiring Lavonne Spencer.

“Do not limit yourself. I challenge you to go into new communities and meet new people. See things through their eyes, and leave a legacy there,” Lavonne told the youth.

Thank you to all the youth who participated in United Way’s Youth Day of Caring 2017. Your spirit, enthusiasm, and generosity are the ingredients for thriving communities for generations to come!

Creating fertile ground for tomorrow in the community garden behind the MERC.

Creating fertile ground for tomorrow in the community garden behind the MERC.

To learn more about United Way Day of Caring volunteer opportunities contact our Community Involvement Manager at 204-924-4273 or mburgess@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca.

If you are a community organization that needs help with a project or event, please fill out a Day of Caring request form and email or fax it to Melissa at mburgess@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca or 204-453-6198

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Sean LedwichWinnipeg high school students show they care at 11 community agencies.

Amazing prizes for Plane Pull 2017!

by Sean Ledwich on May 23, 2017 Comments Off on Amazing prizes for Plane Pull 2017!

ALL online fundraisers are entered to win a week-long Rocky Mountain odyssey!

All money raised at Plane Pull goes directly towards mental health support for youth AND counts towards your workplace campaign total, but did you also know you can win some amazing prizes?! HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN WIN!!!

Grand Prize – Rocky Mountain Adventure
EVERYONE who registers online is entered to win a breathtaking odyssey to the Canadian Rockies:

  • Round trip for two people on VIA Rail between Winnipeg and Jasper courtesy of VIA Rail
  • 6 nights/7 days at the beautiful Lake Louise Inn (Queen room) courtesy of Canadian Properties Limited*

Top 5 Individual Fundraiser Prizes (choose from the following):

  • One of two prizes of $1000 in free gas from ESSO
  • A weekend BMW luxury car rental courtesy of Birchwood Automotive Group, $50 gift certificate to The Forks, one night stay at Inn at the Forks (King room, parking and breakfast for two)
  • 8 complimentary passes for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, including a special tour with CMHR CEO, John Young, one night stay at the Fairmont Hotel, $50 gift certificate to The Keg, 2 tickets to attend a Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performance of your choice
  • 2 passes to Assiniboine Park Zoo + art books & prints, Fort Whyte family membership & book, 2 VIP cards for free golf/free food for a family of 4 at Shooters Family Golf Centre, 4 free passes to Thunder Rapids

Top Team Fundraiser Prize

  • 20 tickets to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers home game and an on-field experience!

Team Steam Prize (fastest time)

  • Top team prizes to be announced – STAY TUNED!

Team Spirit (best cheer)

  • 20 free passes to the Golf Dome for a free round of mini golf

Also included in your flight:

  • Fundraise $50 to get a nifty, super handy portable phone chargers
  • Fundraise $150 to get a cozy, limited edition Plane Pull sweatshirt AND phone charger

Register your team now! Registration $300/team. Questions? Call the events team at 204-477-5360 or email events@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

*Please note the following Rocky Mountain prize conditions: VIA Rail tickets valid for two people (economy class) for return travel on any two points served by VIA Rail Canada between Winnipeg and Jasper. VIA Rail voucher expires September 15, 2018. VIA Rail tickets not valid from December 20 – January 5; Lake Louise Inn voucher excludes Easter long weekend, the period from June 15 – September 15 and December 24 – January 2. Lake Louise Inn voucher expires September 30, 2018. This prize package does not include transportation from Jasper to Lake Louise.

Thank you to all our generous sponsors…

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Sean LedwichAmazing prizes for Plane Pull 2017!