Students launch 18th annual Many Hands project

Many Hands

Stephanie Leheta, Canadian Tire Bank’s manager of workforce and vendor management (third from right) presents a $5,000 donation to the Many Hands committee. Canadian Tire Bank is the founding and lead sponsor of the Many Hands project.

 Niagara College kicked off its 18th annual Many Hands project January 16, with a special ceremony at Strive Niagara in Welland.

Strive Niagara is a non-profit, social service organization that provides child care, outreach and other resources and support for young families in need who are pursuing an education.

Niagara College students and faculty were joined by Strive Niagara staff and clients, as well as local dignitaries to mark the launch of this year’s student-driven renovation initiative run by the Event Management (Graduate Certificate) and Renovation Technician programs. Event Management students plan and execute five fundraising events throughout the academic year to raise money for the recipient while the Renovation Technician students renovate the site over the winter months, from January to April.

“Many Hands has become a very special project, because it combines hands-on instruction and experience for our students with important lessons in community service,” said Christine Blane, professor and program coordinator, Niagara College’s Event Management program. “Our students are very excited about the opportunity to work with Strive Niagara to improve its facilities and enhance the agency’s ability to serve families in our community.”

Over the next three months the Strive Niagara building will undergo a range of renovations to physically improve the facility. Some of the improvements include: changes to the existing reception area, main entry corridor, a new waiting area and new flooring in the childcare area. Areas of the building will receive new paint, lighting, ceiling and floor tiles. The project is scheduled to be complete by April 18, 2015.

Strive Niagara executive director Sandy Toth said her agency’s selection for the Many Hands project was great news, and spoke about how this unique initiative aligns with the one of the main messages Strive shares with its clients.

“At Strive we encourage young moms to build relationships; they build relationships with their children, they build relationships with their peers, with the teachers, with the staff here at Strive,” she said. “And this Many Hands project is about building relationships.”

For mayor Frank Campion, the Many Hands project is nothing new. As the father of an Event Management graduate, he’s familiar with the initiative, which he described as a “fantastic” partnership. He said he’s very pleased to see it come to Welland, and assist such an essential community organization.

“It’s very important for our community and for Niagara as a whole, to have these types of services that help people get an education,” he said.

Canadian Tire Bank – the lead and founding sponsor of Many Hands – kicked off this year’s project with a $5,000 donation.

Stephanie Leheta, Canadian Tire Bank’s manager of workforce and vendor management, said the company is “thrilled” to be involved once again, and emphasized the significance of the Many Hands project.

“The value and contribution that you make goes beyond helping your community,” she said. “It really brings together the spirit of giving, learning and building into one initiative.”

This year’s Many Hands project will also be funded by a series of fundraising events organized and executed by the Event Management students. The upcoming events include: a League of Legends gaming tournament, a ball hockey tournament, an upscale country evening, a children’s enchanted fairytale afternoon, and an event designed to break the World Record of Largest Dessert Party. For details and links to these events and the Many Hands Project, go to

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