Community Outreach

Portage Campus recognized as chimney swift champion

May 30, 2018

RRC Chimney Swift ChampionsRed River College’s Portage Campus has a vacancy for some feathered friends.

For its efforts in restoring an old chimney to create a hospitable habitat for birds, RRC has been presented with the Swift Champion award from the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI). Over the summer of 2017, two swifts were spotted using the chimney a number of times, indicating the restoration was a success.

“We’re honoured to accept the Swift Champion award and to continue our role in protecting the chimney swifts,” says Guy Moffat, Portage Campus Manager. “It’s been amazing to see the work our facilities team has put in to restoring the chimney, and to be able to witness the swifts flying in and out of their summer home. Part of RRC’s Strategic Plan includes fostering sustainable growth – not just for the College, but for the entire province. This is just one way we contribute.”

Chimney Swift in flightThe chimney swift is a small brown bird, often described as a “cigar with wings,” that enjoys roosting and breeding in brick chimneys. The species’ population has declined significantly in Canada since the 1970s and is now listed on both the provincial and federal Species at Risk registries.

When a volunteer from MCSI noticed upgrades being made to the Portage Campus chimney in 2016, they let the College know it had been identified as a designated chimney swift habitat.

That awareness resulted in changes to the original repair plans, which would have closed off the chimney with a metal cap. Now the top of the brick chimney remains intact, with an opening that allows swifts to enter and roost. The College’s efforts also ensure toxic gases won’t collect in the nesting area. Read More →

Province to provide free access to SECD resources for early years practitioners and students

May 18, 2018

SECD ManitobaThe province will cover licensing fees to provide students and professionals across Manitoba with free access to the Science of Early Child Development (SECD), a suite of online learning resources developed by Red River College.

SECD includes regularly updated living textbooks and modules that offer current research and links to practice through a convenient online portal, accessible via computer, tablet and smartphone.

“We are making a first-of-its-kind investment in the early years fields in Manitoba to increase professional development opportunities, encourage independent study, strengthen the sectors that work with children and families, and improve the quality of services for Manitoba families,” says Families Minister Scott Fielding.

“Living textbooks are a cost-effective way to continually expand knowledge and provide educational opportunities to everyone involved in the sector.”

The province will provide $365,000 to RRC through the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government, opening up province-wide access for two living textbooks and three additional modules.

This will eliminate the license fee currently required to register, which will benefit hundreds of students and teaching staff, as well as early learning and child-care professionals, family child-care providers, teachers, public health staff, community organizations and any Manitobans interested in the impact of early experience on lifelong health and well-being. RRC will oversee the initiative and report to government on annual usage.

Read More →

Indigenous learners honoured at annual graduation pow wow

May 3, 2018

Graduation Pow Wow, 2017Staff and students at Red River College will be joined by hundreds of community members, distinguished guests, dancers and drummers tomorrow, at the annual Graduation Pow Wow celebrating the success of our Indigenous learners.

Hosted by RRC’s School of Indigenous Education, this year’s event honours more than 60 graduates from a range of College programs. It gets underway at 10am with a pipe ceremony in Room F20 (Notre Dame Campus), followed by the grand entry in the North Gym at noon, the ceremony honouring grads at 1pm, and a traditional feast at 5pm.

In addition to celebrating student success, the pow wow festivities reflect the College’s continued commitment to making education more accessible for Indigenous learners.

The College aspires to deliver excellence in Indigenous achievement through partnerships and networks, and by incorporating Indigenous knowledge, philosophies, perspectives and content into innovative and relevant programming.

“Supporting Indigenous student success by enhancing the College environment is our number one priority at Red River College, and as we continue to develop and provide more relevant programming for our Indigenous students, this annual event will continue to grow and expand,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“We look forward to continuing a lifelong relationship with each of our students and graduates.

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 →

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