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Making a Difference in the Lives of People with Barriers

June 21, 2022

Post Contributed By: Saliou Sako, Bilingual Contract Administrator, Johnston Group | Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2020-2022

Our day started at the Social Enterprise Centre, hosted by Dr. Tyler Pearce, Executive Director, Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE), where we met with different organizations that are working out of the Social Enterprise Centre which is a collaborative space for Winnipeg based companies. We spoke with Chris from Vincent Design Inc., a Winnipeg web design, graphic design and marketing company that designs materials for organizations and companies. Vincent Design was created in 2007 to find a market for Indigenous focused designs which was lacking in the Indigenous space. Vincent Design then started connecting with communities and initiatives that did not have access to full scale high end marketing.

Dr. Tyler Pearce then gave us a presentation on her organization LITE (Local Investment Toward Employment), which is a charitable and entrepreneurial foundation that helps raise money and create jobs for the community. LITE gives grants to community organizations in Winnipeg’s poorest neighbourhoods to create job experiences that can vary in length and time. These funds also help community organizations engage their community members.

Next, we met with BUILD which is a social enterprise non-profit contractor and a training program for people who face barriers to employment. Some barriers to employment include having a criminal history, no child care for single mothers, or dealing with CFS agencies. BUILD seeks a Winnipeg where bills in low-income housing are affordable and where the residents who live in this housing have gainful, family-supporting employment.

After our lunch at Feast Cafe Bistro, we visited Mother Earth Recycling which is a 100% indigenously owned and operated social enterprise providing unique and reliable recycling services, while also creating meaningful jobs and training opportunities in the community. We were given a tour of the facility where mattresses and electronics can be dropped off for recycling and a front side store is open for business where used computers and electronics can be purchased at a discounted price.

We visited the Women’s Resource Centre on 640 Ellice Avenue. The centre provides programs and services for women, gender diverse people, elders and people with mobility issues. They provide showers, washrooms, computer access, food and hygiene supplies. During the early stages of COVID, the centre was able to deliver food kits and supplies to community members who were not able to leave their home.

We finished the day at the Urban Circle Training Centre which provides culturally appropriate education and training to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women and men in Winnipeg. The centre provides certified programming that connects to both our cultural teachings and labour-market demands.

The entire day was filled with great conversations from all the different people and organizations that want to make a difference in our community. It was very inspiring to know that people in the community who face different types of barriers are able to access these organizations that can truly change their lives for the better in the short-term and long-term.