Diversity and Intercultural Services Celebrates Volunteerism on Campus

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The RRC WUSC Local Committee (Student Refugee Program). Photo Credit: Digital Media Design Student, Prathamesh Madia.

On Wednesday, April 13th, members of the Diversity and Intercultural Services Department gathered to celebrate volunteerism on Campus at the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Mixer. As part of the national recognition week, the department dedicated the evening to acknowledging student and staff volunteer efforts throughout the year.

Over 100 student and staff members attended the event. Volunteers were greeted with a pink flower as a small token of appreciation. The formal part of the evening highlighted outstanding volunteers and various departmental award recipients.

In the Intercultural Mentorship Program there was lots to celebrate. Over 300 participants successfully completed the Program this year having made a world of difference: in their partner’s life and on campus contributing to a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment.

Three Awards were offered this year to 3 partnerships representative of the “mentorship spirit”: Elizabeth Glaseman and Candy Pham demonstrated a willingness to learn, a sense of adventure, and an ability to have fun that have opened them up to new experiences while sharing from their own; Leonardo Celis Borrero and Benjamin McDonald have truly stepped out of their comfort zones and enhanced their intercultural understanding in a way that transformed their lives and helped them become more comfortable with themselves and each other; Paulo Arruda and Gemma Gibb have shown a lot of genuine interest in the other person and respect towards the partnership with an attitude of exploration and discussion, a love for learning and spirit of mutual support.

In addition, four Step Out Of Your Box Awards were presented to students who have explored dimensions of diversity different from their own and produced leave-behind projects to promote diversity or benefitting their organization. Hospitality and Tourism Management students Yuan Chen and Shanshan Long have volunteered with IRCOM and consciously and constantly challenged stereotypes around issues facing the refugee community in Winnipeg. Through their work they have manifested creativity in new and unique circumstances and have contributed to building a more diverse community. Another HTM student, Star Wang, has emerged as an outstanding planner, writer and public speaker and, upon volunteering with The Great Wall Project has contributed to bringing diversity to the forefront of Winnipeg culture and arts arena. Finally, Jacqueline Dormer of the Educational Assistant Program has made a difference into the lives of Manitoba living with disabilities through her work at St Amant. She has learnt that “we are all different and we cannot be defined by our differences” and has surely left a mark on all those she has worked with.

To continue, in an effort to support refugee students and to invite to self-reflection, exploration and goal-setting that facilitate settlement and integration, the Diversity and Intercultural Services at Red River College is presenting and annual Peace Award to current students in full-time academic programs who enter Canada as refugees or refugee claimants. This year’s $1,000 Peace Award recognizes Yves Ngendahimana for his strength and determination and for demonstrating perseverance in reaching his educational goals while overcoming challenges and adapting to a new life in Canada. Coming from a personal understanding of political conflicts and the role biased and corrupt businesses play in economic downfall, Yves is committed to using the knowledge and skills he acquired in RRC’s Applied Accounting Program to start a business revolution in Africa and the world at large. He takes it one step at a time and plans to use the award to pay for his tuition for his next step which is doing Business Administration with a major in Marketing.

A small reception followed which included light refreshments and Brazilian music by Marco Castillo.

The evening was captured nicely as participants got silly and took part in a fun-filled photo booth. To view the online gallery click here.

Thank you to all volunteers who took part in our programs and services this year. Your contributions truly do make a world of a difference.