Winner for August 2020 – Community Music Video for Overdose Awareness Day

In February 2020, our community came together for a Night of Music dedicated to individuals who use or have used substances and their allies. This Night of Music featured Pittsburgh rapper “Colicchie” who writes about his lived experience with addiction, mental health challenges, street living, etc. When Colicchie came to KW in February, our community worked alongside him at a Songwriting workshop where we developed our own song as a way to explain our experiences with the ongoing overdose epidemic. Writing alongside an individual with lived experience allowed individuals to feel heard and begin looking at how music can be used as a voice to externalize pain, release difficult emotions, and form supportive connections with others.

In the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have seen an increase in drug poisoning and overdoses. Many supports that our street population usually access are closed or limited, and many individuals are using alone and in unsafe conditions. Our community is trying to follow all COVID-19 Precautions while also still promoting the harm-reduction message of “you are not alone, you are loved, we see you and we want you to be safe.”

One way we hope to deliver this message of compassionate harm-reduction is by creating a Music Video for the song written with Colicchie. Colicchie has volunteered to send in a video clip from Pittsburgh to be part of the video. Our community members would be featured in the video in any creative form they feel most comfortable (ex. playing guitar, singing, drawing, etc.) Each individual will be filmed one at a time, with the footage being compiled to create a Community Music Video. This music video would be shown at several community service locations (Emergency Shelters, Soup Kitchens, etc.) on Overdose Awareness Day (August 31st) as a way to acknowledge the beautiful lives we have lost and celebrate the beautiful people we walk alongside today.

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Winner for May 2020 – Maison Verte

Maison Verte

Their project is a partnership between Maison Verte & The Working Centre’s Market Garden. They are building a controlled growing environment in a donated shipping container – to be able to grow nutritious fresh greens at a low cost, locally, every day of the year. This project will have 4 potential benefits:
1 – Selling leafy greens or fruit will provide revenue for the Market Garden CSA outside of the summer season.
2 – Training and Skill building will be offered to locals enrolled in the employment program (this knowledge can also be used to grow food in their own homes)
3 – Provide more options for healthy & affordable produce to the community
4 – If the model is successful, we will be able to replicate and scale to other community garden

They will be using the money in their research project for The Working Centre Market Garden. They currently have two shipping containers but not enough funds to buy the tools to build out the indoor garden. Tools include hardware to build the platform such as a motor supply, sensors, insulation, seeds, soil, racks, and ventilation.

Check our their progress at http://mverte.ca

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Winner for January 2020 – Aramba Social Night!

 

Aramba Social Night is a drop in program for member of the community to connect, have fun and stay active all at the same time!  They meet once a month on a Friday at Rockway Centre.  There are family games, snacks, beverages and 30 minutes of Aramba.  See their Facebook page for upcoming dates.   Congratulations!  They’re what makes our community awesome!

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Winner for November 2019: Friends 4 Kindness


Last year Nicole asked for cards for her daughter who was sad she wasn’t getting typical Grade 12 milestones because she’s disabled. The request went viral and she received hundreds of messages from parents saying their kids were alone too. She held An Unbirthday Party and invited all kids who have never been to a birthday party. The response was huge so she created the registered non profit Friends 4 Kindness.
They want to host an unbirthday party in Kitchener in August of 2020. They will host a free event for all kids who don’t get invited to birthday parties and struggle with friendships. They provide an event that shows kids that they are loved and that they matter. Many of the kids don’t have any friends and spend the summer with their families- they give them a positive space event that allows them to interact and build relationships with other children! They also mail lots and lots of birthday cards to the kids on their actual birthday! For more information check out their website or Facebook page.

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Winner for September 2019: The A-Team Waterloo Region

The A-Team Waterloo Region is a monthly peer support group for adult individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – Level 1. The group is run by individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, with assistance from our volunteer facilitator. Our primary goal has always been to create a safe and welcoming environment to meet fellow adults with Asperger’s Syndrome (or ASD – level 1), discuss topics of interest, share experiences, and embrace our neurological diversity. A formal diagnosis is not required to participate, and the group is open to individuals 18+ years.

They would like to be able to pay facilitators for their time and efforts in running and organizing meetings. Having a reliable, effective facilitator(s) is essential as our group continues to grow. Funds would enable the purchase of a proper website domain, and give them flexibility in securing guest speakers. They could also use the money to enhance our participants’ experience (e.g. providing a handbook of topics covered to be shared within our group, and hopefully the larger ASD community).

A-Team Waterloo Region

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Winner for July 2019: Change is in the Bag/All Things Preserved

This project’s goal is to reduce the use of single use plastic produce bags – the kind that people use many of at the grocery store – to cut down on valuable resources wasted in their production, to eliminate the burden on our recycling system, to keep unnecessary items out of our landfill, and to protect our waterways and wildlife.

I want to replace these with a sustainable alternative, by making and giving away mesh produce bags made from nearly 100% upcycled materials – previously-loved lace and sheer curtains and tablecloths, and drawstrings made from upcycled tshirt yarn. The bonus is that this process also keeps unwanted textiles out of our overburdened landfill.

I will be organizing a Making Day, where volunteers come together to make mesh produce bags, then insert a note explaining this environmental issue, then distribute them for free to the public.

I already make this item as part of my business, so I can easily streamline the production of these produce bags on a larger scale. We will have volunteers to cut, sew, and stuff bags then hand them out at various locations throughout KW.

Each reusable bag can be used hundreds of times, so the environmental savings are huge, and the pride of people making earth-friendly choices is immeasurable.

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Winner for May 2019: Summer Circus Park Jam

We will transform the space next to the gazebo on the island in Victoria Park into an open area of circus arts exploration. Aerial silks and rings will hang from the large tree in the middle of the area with safety mats underneath (we have previously put both of these up with much success). Gym mats will cover part of the grass, offering opportunity for acrobatic exploration, yoga and movement arts. Circus props such as juggling equipment, hula hoops, unicycles and numerous other types of circus props (i.e. poi, staffs, fans) would also be available to explore. A slackline might also be suspended between 2 trees. A chalkboard welcome sign explaining and encouraging curious exploration and play for the public will welcome passerbys. The chalkboard will also list specific circus skill classes that would run weekly (i.e. an intro to hula hooping class or learning a three ball juggling cascade). Music will also play from a Bluetooth speaker throughout the evening and blankets would be available for lounging and relaxing, along with healthy vegan snacks available for everyone (i.e. fruits, granola bars). Once the sun goes down, the area would be lit by battery powered LED strands and fairy lights, and there will be ambient music until the park closes for the night.

Given the wide skill and range of circus props we have available, our project offers opportunity for anyone, of any age to come, explore and potentially pick up a new skill among a group of supportive like-minded individuals. From a 68 year old couple walking by deciding to try their hand at learning a beginner juggling trick, to young children picking up hula hoops and spinning around, to differently abled people being assisted through their first acrobatic yoga moves, supported by a team of spotters, there is plentiful opportunity for individuals, families and people of all walks of life to engage in safe play.

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Winner for March 2019: KW May Day 2019

Congratulations to KW MAY DAY 2019!

From the event page:

Join us in the park and in the streets!

Wednesday, May 1st, 4:30 pm
Victoria Park clock tower
Potluck, performances, speeches, activities. Family friendly.
March to follow at 7 pm

Join us Wednesday, May 1st for our second annual May Day community gathering, to shake off the icy winds of winter, celebrate the coming of spring, and remember once again what it means to be resilient, radical, and rejuvenated!  Let’s gather to share our stories, our grief and our joy, and to reimagine and remember what we want and need in this world!

In this space we can feast, create, dance, celebrate, and resist, while we continue to build connections with ourselves, one another, and the land.

Our goal is to create an event that is inclusive and free to everyone; grounded in mutual aid, voluntary participation, and personal/collective autonomy, without authority. We’re dreaming up a fierce, fun, family friendly event, with diverse activities and a potluck in the park, followed by a most marvelous march. Let’s put our dreams into action together!

 

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Winner for November 2018: Lucas and his Luka-Koras


Update:
The instruments were delivered to House of Friendship Day Treatment centre on Friday, where Lucas demonstrated the instruments for several of the employees. He felt having both instruments at House of Friendship was best because of the interactive nature of having 2 players play together and also given that the instruments will be used more frequently and be better taken care of in this location.

They will be available to sign out by anyone who works at House of Friendship to use at any of the programs. Courtney Harris, the music therapist who works at several of the shelters and day treatment centre will be using them on a fairly regular basis.

At the supportive housing program Coffee House on May 7, Lucas will be bringing a bunch of koras and other instruments for participants to use.

Thank you for making this dream come true!

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Winner for May 2018: Lena and Beecuz

Congratulations to Lena and her organization Beecuz!

Beecuz is a youth-led organization that seeks to develop a future generation of passionate, confident and compassionate people by inspiring critical and creative thinking through education, awareness and design.

We believe that everyone has an inherent talent, an authentic personality and the potential to succeed, even if it comes in a unique form. Beecuz uses education, awareness and design to provoke thought and discussion around current social standards while establishing self-efficacy and self-compassion.

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