With the theme of Hope, Heart and Hands, Niagara College’s Many Hands committee has selected The Hope Centre in Welland as the recipient of the 19th annual Many Hands Project. The community-based agency is committed to creating positive opportunities for vulnerable people in the community.
Beginning in January 2016, the Hope Centre’s King Street facilities will undergo a series of renovations performed mainly by students in Niagara College’s Renovation Technician program, and coordinated, supported and funded by students in NC’s Event Management (Graduate Certificate) program.
“Many Hands has been a key element in our program for almost 20 years,” said Christine Blane, professor and program-coordinator in the Event Management program. “It provides the real-world experience that is at the heart of applied education; encourages collaboration and cooperation between different disciplines; and it enhances lives in our community.”
The Hope Centre is committed to assisting and strengthening the community by attending to the basic needs of its vulnerable citizens. Its services and supports for individuals and families struggling with poverty range from a soup kitchen, food bank and housing stabilization to providing safe places for individuals to learn and master new skills that enhance employability and build resilience.
“We at The Hope Centre are so overwhelmed with feelings of pride and gratitude for being chosen as the Many Hands recipient,” said Hope Centre executive director Mark Carl. “With the help of Niagara College and the Many Hands Project, we are moving closer to our vision of a community social service hub assisting clients in need under one roof.”
Many Hands serves as the cornerstone of the Event Management program. Students are required to plan, develop, co-ordinate and execute a renovation of a local community non-profit organization. Fundraising, volunteer management, technical operations, hospitality and public relations are the responsibility of individual committees comprised of students. Since 1998, the Many Hands Project has supported 18 not-for-profit organizations through renovation and landscaping projects, which enhance program and service delivery.
The renovations to the Hope Centre performed by Renovation Technician students will include the demolition of existing medical office space that will be reconfigured into a commercial kitchen and dining room for 60 people for the Hope Centre’s soup kitchen. To complete the scope of these renovations, the students will construct new walls, install new ceilings, lay flooring and apply paint and trim to complete the project.
Event Management students will support the project by running a series of fundraising events that include; We Got Soul – a blues and jazz experience; Messy Hands for Many Hands – a chicken wing competition; Bet on it Trivia – traditional trivia with a twist; and The Many Hands Market – a buy and do-it-yourself marketplace. For details on the fundraisers and the Many Hands Project visit www.niagaracollege.ca/manyhands
The students have also committed to supporting improvements to Sydney’s Room at the Heartland Forest Nature Experience – a wetland area in Niagara Falls that includes Carolinian forest, trails, ponds, wildlife and educational activities. Named for the founder’s granddaughter, Sydney’s room is a special accessible facility for children with disabilities.
The agencies that benefit from the Many Hands Project are selected by the project committee, and must be not-for-profit, involved in the provision of a community-based service in the Niagara Region, and be willing to commit agency resources to the project.
Pictured above: Mark Carl, executive director of the Hope Centre, addresses guests during the Many Hands Partnership Breakfast on November 4.