Many skills, many hearts, Many Hands

Event Management students Kayla Martins, Alysha Gayed, Cathy Tamchyna, Jen Hale and Kristen Empey have been working on the Many Hands project as part of this year’s committee since fall 2012.

Students in NC’s Construction programs are ready to begin renovations to Port Cares Reach Out Centre, to be completed by mid-April 2013.


Reaching out to benefit the community through a renovation project has become an annual tradition for students enrolled in Niagara College’s Event management Graduate Certificate and Construction Studies programs.

On Jan. 11, NC staff and students as well as representatives from Port Cares and the City of Port Colborne and lead sponsor Canadian Tire Financial Services gathered to celebrate the launch of NC’s 16th annual Many Hands project. The event was held at Port Cares’ Reach Out Food Centre on Nickel St. in Port Colborne – a non-profit organization that assists the less fortunate and low-income families in Port Colborne and Wainfleet through a variety of programs and services such as a drop-in centre, food bank, food training, volunteer opportunities, east village cleanup and community garden. Port Cares was selected to be this year’s recipient of the Many Hands project.

The College’s Event Management students have been busy organizing the logistics of the renovation, and are planning five fundraisers to support the project, including a 5-km run, a Family Marketplace, Women’s Wellness, High-Socie-tea, and a trivia night. 

“Not only have we created invaluable partnerships within the communities of the Niagara region, but over the past 16 years, we have also created a strong partnership within Niagara College to bring all these projects to life,” said Event Management student Cathy Tamycha, chair of the Many Hands Committee.

While the physical renovations are just beginning, Tamycha noted how much work has already taken place behind the scenes.

“During the past four months I have learned so much about the events industry and myself,” she said

Students in the College’s Construction programs will begin working on the renovations to the facility, scheduled for completion in April 2013. They will install windows, carpets, window coverings, chair rails, a removable privacy wall, storage units and a shed, as well as paint the premises.

Jared Ferusi, second-year student of the Renovation Technician program, said he and his classmates were very excited to begin working on the project at Port Cares.

“For us, the hands-on experience gained really helps us in real world jobs and preparation for the workforce that we’ll be going out into,” he said.

Ferusi noted that his class also had the opportunity to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build in Welland last year.

“Our work here will only help to strengthen our knowledge of current construction practices,” he said. “We are lucky to have knowledgeable professors with real world experience to guide us through this job, and we look forward to beginning our work here.”

VP Academic Steve Hudson also spoke at the launch. Hudson pointed out that one of the things Niagara College prides itself on, and feels is important for students to experience, is how different program areas work together in the real world.

“This is a great example of that, all the way from how you actually fund work, which is one of the many things the Event Management students have to learn, to the Construction students figuring out how you actually renovate, design and work while the building is still occupied,” he said.

“Community leadership is an important responsibility from our perspective, for both our faculty and students,” said Hudson. “This is a great example for the students to get exposure, for the faculty to show them how to integrate their skills into the community, and just a great project for the community itself in the end because they’ve got a much better facility and product, and we’re  delighted to be able to be able to do that.”

Port Cares director Lynda Reinhart, who is also a graduate of Niagara College, said the work to be completed at Port Cares will allow it to enhance its services at 61 Nickel St. in Port Colborne, where there has been an increasing need.

“This makes a big difference to us,” she said. “On behalf of the neighbourhood residents we want to say ‘thank you’ and we look forward to working with Niagara College on this project.”

This project marks the first for Many Hands in Port Colborne. Mayor Vance Badawey commended the College on its efforts.

“Hats off to Niagara College who has really taken that extra step to ensure that those trades that the students take part in, are very much interested in and do very well in, are here in Niagara, not only contributing to our community … but also contributing overall to the future of the industry in the community,” he said. “I congratulate you for not only the project at hand, but equally as important, the partnerships – really signifying that Port Colborne and Niagara is a community that works together toward common goals.”

The fact that the students’ efforts are directed to such a worthy cause resonates with students like Tamycha.

“We are reminded every day how deserving Port Cares is of our help,” she said. “In a few short months, we expect to complete a successful renovation that will help this fantastic organization in so many ways, and cannot wait to see the final results.”


Cathy Tamycha, chair of the Many Hands Committee, speaks at the launch.

Lynda Reinhart, Port Cares, director, says the project will make a huge difference to Port Cares.

CTFS VP Corporate Services Dave DiFelice (second from left) stands with NC Event Management students (left to right) Kristen Empey, Kayla Martins, Alysha Gayed, Jen Hale and Cathy Tamchyna. Lead sponsor CTFS presented a cheque for $5,000 to NC’s Many Hands project.

Alysha Gayed and Kristen Empey paint the childrens’ hands so they can leave their handprints on the wall.

To view more event photos, visit Niagara College’s Facebook page here.



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