Many Hands on deck at Upper Deck Youth Centre

Many Hands groundbreaking

Above, from left: Event Management students Brianna wheeler, Emily Bird and Rachel Knox; CTFS vice president Dave DiFelice; Event Management students April Tyrrel (project chair); Alejandra Figueroa and Sabrina Davis; and construction student Evan Mitchenson, celebrate CTFS’s $5,000 contribution to the Many Hands project.

NC launched its 17th annual Many Hands project with a special ceremony at the Upper Deck Youth Centre in Vineland Jan. 9.

Upper Deck, which provides programs and a welcoming environment for young people, was chosen as the recipient of this year’s community renovation program, which will see its facility receive a series of upgrades that will enhance its ability to serve local youth.

“Our building is useable, and the kids love it, but I think when they see the reveal day in April, they’re going to see what they’ve been missing,” said Glen Sparks, executive director of the Upper Deck Youth Centre. “They’re going to feel valued, and they’re going to fee important. This is like Christmas Day, and we’re looking forward to all the great things that are going to happen.”

Many Hands is a practical learning component that sees students from Event Management (Graduate Certificate) and NC construction programs work together to benefit a local not-for-profit agency. The construction students have already been at work putting together designs, and they’ll complete most of the renovations under the guidance of faculty. The Event Management students will run the logistics, and plan and execute a series of fundraising events that will support the project.

NC President Dan Patterson describes Many Hands as an important student experience and  a “signature” project that raises Niagara College’s profile as a leader in applied learning.

“Another important aspect of Many Hands is the values – social responsibility, giving back, and the kind of legacy you will see in how the Upper Deck Youth Centre is being transformed,” he said. “It’s something you will always remember.”

Renovations at the Centre are now officially underway, and will include floor replacement, concrete repair, washroom updates, painting, the installation of new kitchen cabinets and counters, and the construction of a storage shed.

Event Management students will also support the project by running a series of fundraising events, including a trivia night, soup festival, fashion show, concert and “Amazing-Race”-style competition. For details on the fundraisers and the Many Hands Project, watch the project web site, or download the Niagara College Event Management App, which is available via iTunes.

Watch the project’s promotional video here.

“We’re very excited to continue to work together to reach our goal of improving the Upper Deck Youth Centre,” said April Tyrrell, a student in the Event Management (Graduate Certificate) program and  student chair of the Many Hands Project. “The Centre offers young people a safe place to grow physically, mentally and socially, and we look forward to updating the facility, allowing Upper Deck to further its programming and offer a more appealing space.”

The students’ efforts received an immediate boost, as Canadian Tire Financial Services, the founding and lead sponsor of the Many Hands project, presented a $5,000 donation toward this year’s project.

“We love tradition at Canadian Tire and this is one of our favourites, but innovation rather than tradition is what really makes an organization successful and that’s why we really love this program so much,” said Dave DiFelice, CTFS vice president of customer service and operations. “In Niagara we have needs in communities that are far greater than the resources we have available. And this approach that Niagara College takes with Many Hands is a really innovative answer to that problem.”

The results of the project will be revealed on April 12, 2014.

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