Community Outreach

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 →

RRC students launch fundraising efforts for dental mission to Guatemala

May 5, 2017

Dental Assisting students from Red River College’s Winkler and Winnipeg campuses are again gearing up for a dental and medical mission to Guatemala, where they’ll provide free clinical care for residents of remote villages.

As part of their trip to the region, six RRC students — in partnership with Dr. John Baird, North Dakota State Medical Officer — will provide free dental care to up to 1,700 Guatemalans — many of them children and residents displaced from their homes by an earthquake.

“Past team members have personally gained a lot from their experiences, and feel fortunate to have worked with the people they encountered,” says Dental Assisting instructor Athena Wilford. “In spite of poverty and meagre living conditions, the people we met were very gracious.”

This year’s team will spend time working with children at the Shadow of His Wings orphanage in Monjas, as well as an encampment near San Marcos, where hundreds of residents affected by the earthquake are still living in tents. They’ll also provide care to up to 100 residents of a women’s prison in Xela.

The trip takes place July 9 to 20; students have already begun fundraising efforts to offset their travel costs.

Last year, graduates travelled to six different sites, where they worked alongside medical and pharmaceutical teams from Minnesota and North Dakota.

This year’s team will be comprised of Dental Assisting students Madison Smith, Carissa Lariviere, Lauren Martin, Jessica Friesen, Christopher Hiebert and Robyn Knight.

To contribute to this year’s fundraising efforts, please contact Wilford at cawilford@rrc.ca or 204.632.2589.

CreComm students to host annual telethon in support of Winnipeg Humane Society

March 17, 2017

Red River College Creative Communications students will see months of planning go to the dogs (and cats) next weekend, as they take to the airwaves in support of the Winnipeg Humane Society.

On Saturday, March 25, CreComm students will produce and host the six-hour 1001 Donations telethon, airing live on Shaw (and streaming on the WHS Facebook page) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The second-year students — representing all four streams of the CreComm program (journalism, advertising, public relations and broadcasting) — have already produced a series of pre-recorded pieces that will air during the telethon, and will also serve as technical crew and on-air talent while broadcasting live from the Humane Society’s facility on Hurst Way.

“Our students are extremely talented, and this telethon will give them a well-deserved opportunity to showcase those talents and help a great cause at the same time,” says CreComm instructor Joanne Kelly.

“We’re always looking for opportunities for students to gain real-life experience so they’ll be that much more prepared for the workforce upon graduation. This telethon also helps teach them the value of being connected to your community, and how important it is to give back.”

Red River College is a proud sponsor of the telethon, which is open to the public and will feature appearances from special guests including Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeg Blue Bomber Matthias Goossen, and CTV anchor Maralee Caruso, who adopted her dog Jack from the Humane Society. Read More →

Red River College chef joins fellow Culinary grads at International Women’s Day gala

March 15, 2017

Claire Snowball, Red River CollegeA Red River College chef was among the coterie of culinary VIPs who marked International Women’s Day by serving up a showcase of their considerable talents.

Claire Snowball (shown at left), a banquet and event sous-chef for RRC’s Food Services, was one of 11 local chefs who prepared gourmet appetizers for a “Women. Wine. Food!” event held March 8 at the Qualico Family Centre.

The event — which served as a fundraiser for the Women’s Health Clinic (WHC) in Winnipeg — was cooked up by RRC alum Kelly Cattani (Culinary Arts, 2005), now a chef at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites.

Working together with Janet Hamel, Director of Development at WHC, Cattani coordinated both the event and its all-woman line-up as a means of benefiting the community-based Clinic, which has supported women through health services, education and advocacy since 1981.

A fellow Culinary Arts grad (2011), Snowball prepared two dishes for the evening: a Dungeness crab encased en gelée and chawanmushi tartlet, and a sour cherry and dark chocolate mousse cup with bourbon whipped cream, milk crumble and raspberry dust.

“The event was a roaring success, selling out early and packing the Qualico Centre with a great crowd,” says Snowball. “It was with pride that I was able to represent Red River College, which celebrates diversity in the workforce and identifies inclusiveness as one of its core values.”

Snowball and Cattani weren’t the only RRC grads involved in the event. The lineup of chefs also included Melissa Makarenko (Resto Gare and Train Bar), Kristel Pastorin (The Grove Pub & Restaurant), Heather Porteous (Boulevard Pub & Bistro), Rachel Isaak (Loaf and Honey, Sam’s Place); Tara Podaima (Segovia Tapas Bar); and Candace Hughes (Qualico Family Centre).

College partners with province on new training program for refugees

March 7, 2017

A new program at Red River College is providing essential language and construction skills training to newcomer refugees who have arrived in Manitoba over the last year.

Announced today, the new Pathway Program to Construction Skills is one of four pilot employment projects launched recently by the Manitoba government under the Refugee Employment Development Initiative (REDI) for newcomers.

“Red River College is proud to play such an important role in supporting Manitoba’s international, immigrant and refugee community,” says Red River College president Paul Vogt. “This new program is a first in Manitoba and it will not only help our newcomer refugees develop their language and literacy skills, it will also provide them access to trades training and jobs in sectors where our partners have a need for more trained workers.”

The four-month program will help participants develop essential language skills, safety training and basic construction skills training in the areas of drywalling, masonry and flattop roofing. After completing the program, students will participate in a month-long, paid work placement to further refine their skills and gain essential on-the-job experience.

“As we’ve seen in recent months, there’s a growing need to provide support for refugees in a variety of ways, including direct employment and labour market programming,” says Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart. “We commend Red River College for its vision in developing this important program, which will link newcomers with employment opportunities and allow them to develop the skills needed to succeed in the workforce.” Read More →

Hot-button issues: RRC staffer rallies support for local Muslim community

February 9, 2017

A Red River College employee is encouraging Winnipeggers to show support for the city’s Muslim community, by literally opening their arms during a time of political turmoil.

Events and Facility Rental Coordinator Krista Michie recently hired RRC grad Kristen Masters (of Lemon Buttons) to design and produce hundreds of buttons bearing the slogan “Free Hugs for Muslims.”

She says the campaign was inspired by the current political climate, which has been further polarized in recent weeks by the attempted U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, continued debate over the plight of Syrian refugees, and a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque that left six worshippers dead.

“I was feeling sad about what’s going on in North America,” says Michie (shown). “It was my way of trying to show love, solidarity and inclusiveness.”

So far, Michie has given out more than 200 buttons, including those shared with fellow marchers at last weekend’s walk for human rights (among them, RRC President Paul Vogt).

She’s also had requests from former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan, who asked for a batch to be dropped off at his downtown eatery, and from friends and acquaintances in Brandon and Saskatchewan.

Michie currently has about 100 buttons left to distribute — either in person, or by mail — but is open to producing a second batch, if there’s demand.

So far, she hasn’t had any requests for hugs — though as the buttons point out, that’s a standing offer.

“Not too sure people will actually take me up on that,” she says. “It’s more about sending the message that Muslims are accepted here.”

To request a button, send Michie an email at kmichie@rrc.ca.

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