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
She’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 →
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 204.632.2589.
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 →
A 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).
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 →
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 email@example.com.
Six clients from the Main Street Project — many of whom have gone long stretches without clean clothes or a roof over their heads — will walk the runway in their very own custom-made suits this week, as part of a fundraiser organized by a pair of Red River College students.
The Runway to Change project, organized by Creative Communications students Madelaine Lapointe (above, left) and Ashley Tokaruk (right), seeks to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people in Winnipeg, and to end the stigma associated with living in poverty.
The evening fashion show, which takes place at 6:30pm on Thu., Feb. 2, at the Fort Garry Hotel, is part of a self-led project undertaken by Lapointe and Tokaruk as part of their studies. Over 200 guests — including Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and RRC honorary diploma recipient Ace Burpee — are expected to attend, with all proceeds raised going directly to the Main Street Project.
"It's been amazing to have had the opportunity to do a project like [this]," says Lapointe. "Coming into the Creative Communications program, I never thought I'd be doing a project of this scale, but the hard work has — and is — paying off. Seeing the smiles on the clients' faces at Main Street Project is a direct result of our helping to make a difference in the community."
As for the first-time models taking part in the event, Lapointe says they're equally proud, knowing the funds raised will benefit not only themselves, but also their friends at the shelter.
A number of local designers and stores have made or donated suits for clients to wear during the show (and to keep afterwards), including EPH Apparel, Lennard Taylor, Bellabalas, Topshop, Topman, Danali, Hush Collection, Margot + Maude, and Stylebar.
Leane Funk is using her good taste to fight hunger.
Funk, a professional server and Red River College Continuing Education student, is one of the foodies behind the Winnipeg Supper Club, a regularly occurring secret dinner event.
On Sat., Feb. 25, the Winnipeg Supper Club is teaming up with Winnipeg Harvest to present Harvest Homegrown, a not-so secret, collaborative dinner event. Harvest Homegrown will take place at Winnipeg Harvest (1085 Winnipeg Ave.) and will feature local food prepared by Deseo chef Jordan Carlson and MasterChef Canada runner-up Jeremy Senaris, both of whom are Red River College graduates.
Harvest Homegrown will raise money for Winnipeg Harvest and its hunger-fighting initiatives.
“It just so happened that six months ago, David Northcott (Winnipeg Harvest executive director) ended up at a table I was serving and we just started chatting,” says Funk. “I mentioned who I was and he had heard of (Winnipeg Supper Club). One thing led to another and we discussed starting something together. Then I went and met with Colleen McVarish (Harvest development manager) and now we’re doing a dinner.”
Funk is excited for dinner guests to see Carlson and Senaris in action.
“I thought with their contrasting cooking styles they would be a good collaboration,” she says. “It’s a pretty open kitchen and we have a chef’s table that is available for purchase for a group of 10. It’s available at a bit of a premium but they’ll be front row, watching the chefs and being served by Jeremy and Jordan.” Read More →
In the spirit of the holidays, RRC students and staff are encouraged to bring a canned food item with them while enjoying the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Choir as they perform carols at the Roblin Centre Student Food Bank this Thu., Dec. 1. The event will be held in the Roblin Centre atrium from noon to 1:00pm.
Overseen by the Red River College Students’ Association, the food bank allows students to help other students. RRC receives donated food and household items from Winnipeg Harvest and 30 community food banks held throughout the school year. Those goods are stored in a trailer on campus; every two weeks, they're packaged and distributed to RRC students who have applied for assistance.
“Our Student Food Bank helps feed hundreds of RRC students and their families,” says RRCSA President Adam Taplin. “As students, we often have to decide between a night of studying or an extra shift at work to ensure we get a healthy meal. It’s only through the wonderful generosity of students, staff and the local community that we are able to restock the shelves and continue to provide food hampers year after year.”
This year will mark the first time the WPS Choir has performed at the food drive. When the choir first formed in 1974, it was only supposed to be for one year, in celebration of the City of Winnipeg’s centennial. More than 40 years later, the choir is still going strong, representing a link between the WPS and the community. Every year, the group performs free of charge at over 15 different venues and functions as a community service.
“We’re so excited to bring our group and holiday renditions to Red River College for the first time ever,” says Ron Smolik, Winnipeg Police Service and choir member. “Not only do we get to perform at one of the busiest campuses in downtown Winnipeg, but we get to do it while supporting a great cause.”