October 20, 2008
Winnipeggers hunting for ways to get involved in our community discovered a sea of volunteer opportunities during Red October, an event hosted by United Way’s GenNext Council on Thursday, October 16.
Close to 200 guests converged at the Exchange Event Centre in downtown Winnipeg to gain a deeper understanding of GenNext and explore meaningful ways to get beneath the surface of social challenges facing our city.
GenNext is one of United Way’s newest and fastest growing initiatives for business and community leaders aged 25 to 40 who are committed to creating opportunities for a better life for all Winnipeggers.
“These are young people who recognize that the future of Winnipeg is in our hands,” said Colin Ryan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, BMO Nesbitt Burns and GenNext Chair. “Our actions and involvement can have a substantial impact on the quality of life for our friends, family, associates and ourselves.”
“By investing time, skills, money and energy into our community and inspiring our peers to do the same, we can make a very real and lasting difference.”
The program included a presentation by West Broadway Youth Outreach co-director Ken Opaleke and former participant turned volunteer Norm McLean. A United Way agency partner, West Broadway’s after-school programming is aimed at helping at-risk children and youth succeed in school and life. Now in his second year of medical school, McLean described the profound impact West Broadway’s Homework Club has had on his life and how Opaleke’s mentorship inspired his own involvement as a homework mentor.
Afterward, guests were invited to sign up as homework mentors themselves – one of four volunteer activities showcased during the evening. Other activities included planning and hosting a children’s holiday party, supervising evening and weekend gym sports and repairing/building equipment for a skateboard and bike club – all in conjunction with a number of United Way agency partners.
A graffiti wall sponsored by United Way’s Urban Exchange initiative encouraged attendees to share their opinions and ideas on how we can create a better life for everyone in Winnipeg.
Thank you to Rogers for generously sponsoring the event and to DeLuca’s for providing the delicious appetizers and cappuccino. Thank you also to Photo Booth Rentals of Winnipeg for capturing the spirit of the evening and making a splash with “underwater” mementos. Most importantly, thank you to everyone who came out to support GenNext and who made the commitment to get more deeply involved in our community. Together, we can do so much more to effect permanent, positive change in our city than we ever could alone.