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Seven Oaks School Division
Community Begins Here
May 30, 2024
School Day 1
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Manitoba's Northern Communities Water Shortage

Water-short fundraising efforts gather steam

*Groups raising money for waterless northern Manitoba community

A North End daycare centre is hoping to make a splash by raising funds to help aboriginal families in northern Manitoba. Splash Child Enrichment Centre — which has a pair of North End locations at 232 McKenzie Ave. and 363 McGregor St. — is partnering with a group of area businesses, schools and non-profit agencies to collect money and materials for 1,400 reserve households that have no running water. Tara Richliwski, assistant director of Splash, said staff and parents at the centre were inspired to do something after reading a recent series in the Winnipeg Free Press about the lack of running water in Manitoba’s Island Lakes region. “It was the media attention given to Island Lakes that got us thinking about combining the efforts of both the school age and daycare programs,” she said. What began as a small random act of kindness quickly began to snowball. And what was originally conceived of as a small endeavour quickly grew in scope — and began attracting the attention of other community groups, such as staff and students at Maples Collegiate. It was the idea helping other Manitobans in need that interested Bernadine Thompson, an education assistant and student teacher at the north Winnipeg high school. “I thought that something should be done for Manitobans in need. When I heard about Splash’s endeavour I thought it was a good idea to combine forces,” she said. The collegiate has since begun operating a weekly crafts for the community program for students and staff to work on knitting and bead projects for a craft sale next spring. While a date has not yet been set, Thompson said organizers are hoping to stage the sale next February. “We want to have our donations up there prior to the winter roads melting,” she said. Thompson said monies raised will be used to purchase water bottles, shampoo and other personal hygiene items that will eventually be shipped to northern communities. Thompson said the story of Island Lakes has also engaged students at Forest Park School in West Kildonan. Students at the school have been drafting letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan urging them to do something about the lack of running water. Richliwski said the group’s efforts are already having an impact here at home. “There is a stigma in the North End that youth don’t care. But they do,” she said. “Some areas in north Winnipeg may not be the most affluent but they can help others with less


Rob Brown
The Times - Canstar News
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