Community Outreach

Inclusion activist receives inaugural social justice memorial award

April 10, 2018

Tamika Reid, 2018Creative Communications student Tamika Reid has been named the inaugural recipient of Red River College’s new Richard Asher Webb Social Justice Activist Memorial Award — a distinction that recognizes her work writing, designing and marketing a children’s book that raises awareness of disabilities and inclusion rights.

Established in memory of Webb, an RRC alum and longtime community activist, the award is given annually to a student who demonstrates exceptional effort and/or the ability to lead, organize and engage students or members of the community in embodying the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and social justice.

It was a unanimous decision from the judging panel that Reid’s project — and her enthusiasm for creating solutions to social justice issues — made her the most deserving candidate.

“Winning this award means that my efforts in addressing the inclusion gap in children's literature area worthy cause,” says Reid (shown above, with book). “It acknowledges the stories of diverse people that need to be told.”

Reid’s book, Sweet without Sugar, is about a young girl who has autism and relies on a stuffed animal to feel comfortable. When her toy is damaged, the girl spends the day trying new things and discovers she can comfortably have fun without it. Reid’s book is part of the Literary Inclusion Project, which she founded as an initiative that responds to the intellectual disability topic gap in children’s literature.

The book also incorporates artwork of students that attend an after-school program run by the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg. Reid’s experience working with that program, and taking CreComm at RRC, helped her carve out a clear path for her professional career, where she works in communications for local non-profit organizations. Read More →

RRC hosts ‘Indspire’ students from across Canada

March 23, 2018

Indspire/Soaring conference, 2018More than 200 Indigenous high school students from across the country will visit Red River College today to tour classrooms, meet instructors and explore the many career opportunities and supports available to them, as part of this year’s Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering.

“Engaging more Indigenous students and providing more pathways to post-secondary education and training is a key priority,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“The College is charting a new path forward focused on elevating Indigenous student success, and we are creating new and enhanced programs and supports in order to recruit and retain more Indigenous students, and ensure they have the tools and wraparound supports they need in succeed and thrive.”

While at RRC (the Host College Sponsor for this year’s event), students will explore 11 program areas currently offered or in development, including Indigenous Social Enterprise, Construction Trades, Allied Health Sciences, and Civil Engineering Technology.

“We are excited to welcome high school students from coast-to-coast to our province and our school, and provide an opportunity for them to visit our campus, meet our industry-leading instructors, and interact with the many rewarding career paths and supports available to them,” says Chartrand.

Organized by Indspire, a national charity that invests in Indigenous education, the Soaring gathering provides First Nation, Inuit and Métis students with opportunities to learn about career and post-secondary education options. Gatherings are held across Canada, giving students the chance to take part in motivational career workshops, learn about financial supports, and meet some of Canada’s top employers.

Red River College shows a ‘ladle’ love at Stone Soup Fundraiser

March 13, 2018

The soup’s on at Manitoba Hydro Place this Wednesday, when Red River College Culinary Arts students will join 11 other local chefs and restaurant staff for the sixth annual Stone Soup Fundraiser supporting the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.

Chef and instructor Karl Oman, together with Culinary Arts students Sophie Thibodeau and Colin Stone, will serve up a newly created ‘Holiday Sweet Potato Turkey’ soup, a cream-based concoction packed with turkey and cranberry flavours that was prepared by 17 first-year students who are currently learning short-order cooking.

The soup will be paired with a stuffing-flavoured focaccia bread created by students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program.

“The Stone Soup Fundraiser is a great opportunity for our students to work together and to apply their learning and culinary skills to make a difference for those in need,” says Oman.

“This is just one of the many ways we work to give back to the community. Whether it’s through our work with Siloam Mission, or delivering the After-School Leaders Program for at-risk youth, we’re a community partner and we’re very proud to help encourage people to come down, try some delicious student-made soup and support such an important cause.”

The event will run from 11:15am – 1:15pm in the Hydro building’s main gallery. Judges will be present to sample all the soups and select a winner, and the public is also invited to select a favourite for the People’s Award. The cost is $10 per person, which includes samples of soup from three participating chefs or restaurants.

College expands English language training to four regional sites in Manitoba

February 2, 2018

RRC Language Training CentreOver the last year, Red River College has opened four new Language Training Centres (LTCs) throughout Manitoba, providing access to critical language skills programming for an additional 250 students.

The College’s LTC in Winnipeg, which already trains more than 1,000 newcomers every year, has recently expanded programming to Arborg, Steinbach, Thompson and Selkirk. The five-month programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The LTC s offer English Language Learning programs as well as English for Specific Purposes programs. The former focuses on competency-based programs for students developing language proficiency for further education, employment, or settlement and daily life, while the latter focuses on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market.

“We are proud that more than 60 per cent of our English as a Second Language and English for a Specific Purpose programs are linked to employment outcomes,” says Kerri Caldwell Korabelnikov, director of the Language Training Centre at RRC.

“What that means is that we’re helping our students achieve their goals and connecting them either directly with employers, or with the resources necessary to find work in their chosen careers. I know this success will continue with the expansion. The areas we have expanded in have shown they are in need of language training services for newcomers, and we’re happy to fill that need and help strengthen those communities.” Read More →

CreComm students stage 12-hour radiothon to support children and youth in need

November 23, 2017

Creative Communications Radiothon 2017A centre that provides life skills, positive role models and a safe, fun environment for kids in Winnipeg’s West Broadway community will receive new supplies and funds, thanks to students in Red River College’s Creative Communications program.

Through CreComm’s Radio course, students are hosting a 12-hour radiothon, To West Broadway and Beyond, today from 7a.m. to 7p.m., on the College’s online station, The District. The endeavour supports West Broadway Youth Outreach (WBYO), a drop-in recreational and life skills program that provides free after-school and summer activities, year-round.

“Having the ability to help local charities, while putting our students’ skills to use, is what Red River College is all about,” says RRC Radio instructor Dan Vadeboncoeur.

“We are happy to support such an amazing organization like West Broadway Youth Outreach, which helps youth in Winnipeg learn important skills like leadership, accountability and confidence.”

Throughout the day, CreComm students will be collecting donations in the atrium of The Roblin Centre at 160 Princess St. Among the items they're hoping to receive: youth bus tickets (sheets), school supplies, old video games, books, board games, toys, juice boxes, tickets to concerts or events, and for people to sign up to become WBYO volunteers.

To listen to the radiothon, visit radio.rrc.ca — or follow along with the students on Twitter at @RRCdistrict.

Business and Technology students partner with local law firm to create web app for low-income clients

November 21, 2017

BA and ACE students with Evans Family LawIt’s being billed as the “TurboTax for law,” and Red River College students are helping to bring it to the web.

Students from the College’s Business Administration program and Applied Computer Education (ACE) department have partnered with Winnipeg’s Evans Family Law Corporation, to develop an interview-based web application that allows users to access and fill out basic family law documents themselves.

In the works since last year, the app is slated to be built and brought online by RRC students sometime in 2018.

“Access to justice, particularly in family law, has been recognized as a serious issue with the legal community for some time,” says Business instructor George Allen. “It is believed the kind of technology this project is looking to implement could play an important role in addressing some of the access issues inherent in the current system.”

Allen says the project would be designed to provide Manitobans with access to court forms using intelligent documents, and to use an interview-style dialogue process for gathering client data — much like TurboTax does to complete federal and provincial tax forms.

The prospect of saving thousands of dollars in legal fees could be particularly attractive to the large number of working Canadians for whom the ability to retain a lawyer is out of reach due to costs.

“If you’re working and you’re making a certain level of income, and you have a divorce proceeding or a wills and estate issue, you won’t qualify for Legal Aid because you make too much money or you own property,” says Allen (shown above, fourth from right). “You may also be in a situation where paying $300 an hour for a lawyer is really a hardship, or even out of the question.”

“An uncontested divorce or separation is really a straightforward process that most paralegals would normally be doing under the guidance and underwriting of a lawyer. So we’re looking at taking those forms and that process and providing it at a low cost to this particular population that otherwise likely wouldn’t have access to it.”

Greg Evans, principal at Evans Family Law, says the idea is to provide some of the same services already offered at Winnipeg’s Legal Help Centre, only for an online audience.

“People are much more used to having services provided online or through online websites and applications,” says Evans (shown above, second from right). “It’s an idea that takes a look at what potentially might be the wave of the future, particularly with simple legal documents.” Read More →

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.

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