Community Outreach

Pathway program lays foundation for solid futures in construction

October 18, 2017

Pathway Program to Construction Skills students (second cohort)Today, students in Red River College’s Pathway Program to Construction Skills provided a helping — and skilled — set of hands during a Habitat for Humanity build that doubled as their introduction to practical training.

The students are refugee newcomers to Manitoba who enrolled in the program to enhance their English skills and gain practical experience, with an eye on securing full-time employment in the construction sector once they’ve completed their training.

Many participants took up residence in Manitoba after being forced to flee their homes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. Though some had to leave almost everything behind, they brought with them their experience in construction and the skilled trades. Now they’re hoping to put those skills to good use as they begin their new lives in Canada.

“Most of us can’t even begin to imagine moving across the world to a new place where we speak a different language, and not being able to pursue employment in a career or industry we’ve spent our lives working towards,” says Stuart Schwartz, Program Manager at RRC’s Language Training Centre. “But this is a reality for many.”

“Other students may not have previous experience, but [they] have the desire to learn. This program aims to bridge the gap and remove the language barrier by providing students with the essential language training, technical skills and experience they need to gain employment working in Manitoba’s construction sector.” Read More →

Ready, set, grow: RRC rises to Winnipeg Harvest’s Grow-a-Row challenge

September 28, 2017

Re driver College potato harvest

One potato, two potato, three potato, four — that and a few hundred pounds more were dug up from Red River College’s community garden today and donated to Winnipeg Harvest in support of the corporate Grow-A-Row challenge.

Staff and students at the College have spent all summer tending to the spuds (and carrots and onions), which will now go to feed families in need.

“Once again, Red River College is proud to support Winnipeg Harvest, and this year we are pleased to donate nearly 3,000 pounds of vegetables from our garden to Winnipeg families,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“I want to thank the staff and students who volunteer their time to tend to the garden, and our grounds and Sustainability teams who champion this community initiative within the College. I’d also like to congratulate the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the corporate partners [including Pegasus Publications] who have taken part in this important project to ensure that no one in our community goes hungry.”

Dating back several years, RRC’s involvement with Grow-A-Row is currently championed by Gord McLeod, pavement and grounds supervisor, and Sara MacArthur, director of Sustainability. The College’s garden — a 30’ x 60’ plot of land — has become a community initiative encouraging involvement from both staff and students, who tend and harvest it on a volunteer basis.

The food grown in the garden supports not only the greater community, but also the College’s food bank, organized by the RRC Students’ Association.

The Grow-A-Row initiative, meanwhile, first blossomed back in 1986, when Winnipeg residents Ron and Eunice O’Donovan produced more potatoes in their backyard garden than they could consume. Their donations were so well received by Winnipeg Harvest that the couple encouraged friends and neighbours to also donate surplus produce.

Since then, Grow-A-Row has yielded more than 3.7 million of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Red River College pulls together for United Way Winnipeg

September 15, 2017

2017 United Way Winnipeg Plane PullRed River College’s Stevenson Campus was again the proud facility sponsor for the 14th United Way Winnipeg Plane Pull — providing the hangar and volunteers for the annual fundraiser, which doubled as the launch of this year’s United Way Annual Giving Campaign.

Nearly 2,000 people joined together Friday to pull 80,000 pounds of plane, while raising money to provide essential supports directly to kids and families in Winnipeg. But the heavy lifting for this event begins long before the first teams get their hands on the rope.

“In order for an event of this magnitude to take off smoothly, it’s all hands on deck,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “As the facility sponsors, our instructors and staff at the Stevenson Campus are involved in the planning nearly a year in advance — from scheduling classes and program training around the event date, to providing volunteers and working around the clock the day before to clear the hangar and have it set up and ready for participants.”

The 55,000-square foot training facility is home to RRC’s aviation and aerospace programs – making it the ideal location for the Plane Pull each year.

“We’re excited to be back on Stevenson Aviation’s tarmac, which is generously provided by Red River College, pulling together for a better Winnipeg,” says Colin Ryan, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director at BMO Nesbitt Burns, and United Way Winnipeg’s 2017 Campaign Chair.

“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.” Read More →

Application status: RRC launches new web app for campus community

September 5, 2017

RRC Life (Red River College web app)Want to know what’s going on around campus? Need a tool to help promote your event to the College community? Starting this fall, there’s an app for that!

Red River College has launched a mobile-friendly, device agnostic web app called RRC Lifewith features unlike those of other college and university apps. Instead of focusing on schedules, grades, links to class sites and other commonly used tools (all of which are available to students through the rrc.ca login), RRC Life is designed to help members of the RRC community — including students, staff and alumni — better engage with College life.

Much of the RRC Life app was conceptualized and developed by our very own students. The College’s Marketing and Web Presence team started the initiative by partnering with Business Information Technology (BIT) students on a curriculum-based project to design and develop a fully functioning web app for the College community.

“We’re very proud of the relationship our faculty and students have developed with our colleagues in Marketing and Web Presence,” says Haider Al-Saidi, Chair, Applied Computer Education (ACE). “Students gain most when they work on real-world problems and solutions, and it’s extra special to be able to do that for your school and fellow students.”

The app — which has a mobile-first design but works on all devices — can be used to access an RRC social media aggregator, an interactive campus maps utility, and a campus-specific user-generated events stream. Staying true to RRC’s brand, the app also allows user to access a real-time stream of job postings for students and grads.

“The goal of the app is simply to increase the quality of life at RRC by informing and engaging our audiences on whatever connected device they happen to have at their fingertips,” says Christian Robin, RRC’s Director of Marketing and Web Presence. “The version that’s out now was completed with help from one of our alumni, Paul Everton (BIT, 2007). The app has an API that will allow us to continue to work with students to test and build out additional functionality, and eventually launch native apps for iOS and Android devices.”

Use the free app today at rrclife.ca.

College welcomes third arrival under Student Refugee Program sponsorship

August 25, 2017

Yves Ngendahimna, Tariq Ajam and Wasim Alkabani, August 2017For the third year in a row, members of RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) Local Committee were on hand to welcome their latest sponsored arrival — former Syrian resident Tariq Ajam — as he touched down in Winnipeg.

Ajam is the third student to arrive in Canada under a sponsorship with the SRP, an initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

He studied engineering in Syria until 2012, when continued instability in the region prompted him to move to Jordan. There, he completed his course credit hours and started work on his thesis, before applying for an SRP sponsorship so he could enrol in RRC’s Applied Accounting program.

“As an engineer, I always think something related to business might help me to find a good opportunity in life, such as administration or management,” says Ajam, who’ll stay at RRC’s student residence while attending classes downtown. “I really do not want to lose another chance in my life to achieve what I am dreaming of.”

Ajam was greeted at the airport yesterday by a lively delegation from RRC, including Yves Ngendahimna and Wasim Alkabani (shown above, with Ajam in centre), the first and second students to be sponsored under the SRP.

All three students made their way to Canada with help from not only committee members and the larger WUSC network, but also donors such as Albert El Tassi, Scotiabank, and the RRC Students’ Association, whose support and financial contributions make the program possible.

Recently, Scotiabank made a five-year, $100,000 pledge to support the program at RRC, and also established three individual awards worth $1,000 each to support domestic students pursuing careers in the financial services industry.

To join the SRP Local Committee, contact Lauren Konrad, Student Integration Coordinator, at 204.631.3345.

Hospitality students provide Winnipeg welcome to visiting athletes at Canada Summer Games

July 31, 2017

Winta Lakew and Terrance Luk (at left), with Summer Games volunteersAs thousands of athletes and spectators descend on Winnipeg for the 2017 Canada Summer Games, a group of Red River College students will be on hand to show them some of our trademark hospitality.

The five students — all of whom are completing the final stages of RRC’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program — are volunteering as team leads overseeing the set-up and operations of the Athletes’ Village at the University of Manitoba.

Their work at the Village will help them fulfill the final co-op term required to complete the second year of their program, in which all five are majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

They first became involved with the Summer Games back in February, when instructor Krista Mask invited Jordon Lanthier, chair of accommodations for the event, to speak to her Rooms Management class about volunteer opportunities.

Mask says the students were immediately enthused, noting the Summer Games experience is perfect for those making their first forays into the industry.

“Many of my students have no work experience when they come to [RRC],” she explains. “And how do you build a resume without having had any paid positions?”

“This is a great opportunity, for them and their resumes — not only do they get to network with different people from all over, it’s also a huge boon in terms of tourism. And without volunteers, these types of events just don’t happen.” Read More →

Indigenous and inner-city youth score thanks to RRC partnership with True North

July 27, 2017

Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement CentreA set of hockey sticks used by members of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose have been given new life at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC), where they’ll be used by local youths dreaming of becoming the next Mark Scheifele or Jocelyne Larocque.

The sticks, which were damaged or broken during game play last season, were donated to Red River College by True North Sports and Entertainment, and repaired to nearly-new quality by students in RRC’s Aerospace Manufacturing program.

As part of the program’s curriculum, the students fixed the sticks using a variety of composite materials, then delivered them to WASAC, which since 1999 has been providing Indigenous and inner-city youth with access to sport and leisure activities.

“The kids and staff at WASAC really represent the spirit of community, and we are thrilled to provide them with this new equipment,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “This project is a fantastic training opportunity for our students, who are learning to work with different composite materials, and as a bonus we are able to provide the younger generation of Winnipeg’s youth with opportunities to grow through sport.”

Vogt was joined at WASAC by RRC instructor Terry Morris (who led the project along with Chris Marek), to present the 18 sticks to WASAC participants, and join them in a game of hockey.

“We are humbled and excited to be recipients of NHL hockey sticks,” says WASAC Kids Camp coordinator Kate Doer. “These sticks were given to our children at summer camp and I know they’ll create many special road hockey memories as the kids imagine themselves as their hockey heroes.” Read More →

College shares Indigenous culture with kids from Early Childhood Education Centre

June 21, 2017

National Aboriginal Day at RRC

As part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations across Canada, Red River College invited a group from its Early Childhood Education Centre to learn more about Indigenous culture through a unique morning experience.

The children were hosted by members of RRC’s Indigenous Student Support & Community Relations team, who read to them from David Courchene Jr.’s book, The Seven Teachings, and taught them about traditional drumming with help from wellness counsellor Sherry Gott.

“It was an honour and a privilege to share the Seven Scared Teachings with the children from our daycare centre here on campus as part of the ongoing process for reconciliation,” says Gott. “Reconciliation is about action and understanding, and this was a great opportunity to share that knowledge with our next seven generations, in a respectful, supportive environment.

Observed on June 21 (the summer solstice), National Aboriginal Day is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First NationsInuit and Métis peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

For generations, many Indigenous Peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

A number of events and activities are taking place throughout Winnipeg to mark National Aboriginal Day, including:

The above activities are free of charge, and open to all audiences.

BIT instructor honoured for efforts to promote government transparency and public education

June 15, 2017

Canadian Open Data Awards winners, 2017

A Red River College instructor has received national recognition for his work creating online resources that promote government transparency and accountability.

Kyle Geske, a Business Information Technology instructor at RRC, was in Edmonton this week to pick up an Open Data for Democracy Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit.

He accepted the award on behalf of Open Democracy Manitoba (ODM), a citizen-run community organization that helps educate voters by empowering them to understand the roles and visions of their elected representatives, in order to create a more accountable and respectful democracy.

Geske (shown above in front row, third from left) co-founded ODM with fellow BIT instructor Jody Gillis in 2010; he now serves as its executive director and oversees operations alongside RRC grad Ken Harasym (Digital Media Design, 2006).

Since its inception, OMD has launched two election portals — WinnipegElection.ca and ManitobaElection.ca — that have allowed hundreds of thousands of voters to research their candidates and learn about local democratic processes.

The sites feature ward/constituency maps and statistics, historical information about past elections, candidate profiles and social media links, and links to media coverage of candidates and election issues.

ODM’s latest project, WinnipegElected.ca, was launched last November to provide Winnipeg residents with easy access to city council decisions on reports, motions and bylaws.

WinnipegElected.ca was developed in partnership with the City Clerk’s office; with only a few tweaks, ODM was able to update the city’s existing record-keeping processes, allowing council decisions to be posted on the city’s open data portal.

In addition to the Open Data for Democracy Award, ODM has been recognized previously by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the City of Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman, and a host of national and local journalists and media outlets.

Photo credit: City of Edmonton

Instructor recognized for full-circle approach to students facing barriers

May 30, 2017

Kerry Coulter, Red River CollegeShe’s spent her entire career working with at-risk children and youth.

But in her current role as an instructor for Red River College’s Youth Recreation Activity Worker program, Kerry Coulter gets to re-connect with many of those same kids as they prepare to make a similar difference in the lives of others.

“My students are youth with multiple barriers, so often times they’re kids I used to work with, but now they’re all grown up and seeking access to post-secondary [education], and a supportive environment in which to be successful,” says Coulter.

“It’s full circle. These students want to go back and be helpers in their own communities … They grow up, come to college, and are trained and educated in how to be helpers themselves.”

The recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence, Coulter has been a Youth Rec instructor since 2002. Before that, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba (and later, a Masters degree in Education from Central Michigan University), and worked for a number of child and youth care organizations, including Child and Family Services and adolescent treatment centre New Directions.

Each year, the College’s Youth Rec program trains 16 participants — many of whom face socio-economic barriers themselves — to work with inner city youth as recreational leaders. Graduates of the program often find jobs with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (a program partner) and other inner city youth agencies, or as childhood educators and teachers’ aides. Read More →

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