Winner for June 2021 – Midtown Radio – Community Stories Project

Midtown Radio is a community driven radio station that is focused on diversifying the voices heard on radio in Kitchener-Waterloo. They”re growing very quickly in both creators as well as listenership. Midtown Radio has a number of ways for ordinary folks in the community to get involved. They’re looking to set up a permanent recording station in their studio at 44 Gaukel, so that anyone in the community can record without worrying about technology barriers.

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Winner for April 2021 – Red Raccoon Bike Rescue

Congratulations Red Raccoon Bike Rescue, who are a volunteer run group aiming to provide free bike repairs to everyone who needs them.

The $1,000 will help them buy 4 sets of their own tools and bike repair stands to better help the KW community.

Bikes are awesome!

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Winner for February 2021 – Belong Together

Belong Together is a tile based project created as a response to connections lost and communities fragmented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its goal is to remind us that, even apart, we’re each an integral piece of the puzzle.

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Winner for November 2020 – Respect Our Sacred Space Zine, in support of O;se Kenhionhata:tie

O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back camp was set up in Victoria Park park for the summer of 2020 before moving to Waterloo Park for the winter. The goal is to create a Zine to educate about the camp and its purpose both for settlers and Indigenous youth. Along with amplifying the art and written works done by the Indigenous youth and others that participated. It will talk to the individuals that participated and continue to stand for the continuation of this created safe space. These voices are often lost and I wish to showcase them. The project will become a zine both in print and digital in hopes of reaching as many people as possible.
The camp provides a safe space for Two Spirit, Indigequeer, LGBTQI+ Indigenous individuals and youth. The want is for people to see its importance and the work that it is doing in anti racism and community building.
The zine will be in colour and approximately 25 pages long.

The funding will be used to pay the youth and contributors to the Zine for their emotional labor and works of art. The remainder of the funding will go to the printing costs of approximately 50 to 75 zines .

The money received from the sale of the Zines would go 100% to the Camp so they can continue their important work.

Order your copy of the Zine here:

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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

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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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