I believe strongly in the power of citizens to affect change in their communities through direct action and volunteerism.
My own path to public life came through my time volunteering, spending years with local organizations that seek to address issues — like safety concerns, unemployment and education — that are faced in our community and beyond. With fall’s arrival, many of the groups that seek to address these issues have begun to meet once again, and this gives me a great opportunity to connect with them and further support the work that they do.
It was an honour to be invited and provide the opening remarks at the 15th AGM of the Elmwood Community Resource Centre. I spoke of the positive impact of this organization, which is currently under the direction of a committed board and executive director. Programs such as the Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement, Elmwood Youth Employment Experience Program, and Green Team, for example, are offered by the centre and run by staff and volunteers; they help newcomers and youth find and maintain real, meaningful employment in the community.
I was also pleased to attend the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation (CNRC) AGM. Dedicated to the renewal and revitalization of the Chalmers neighbourhood, I was impressed with all the programs that this provincially-funded agency provides to the community. Some of these programs are the Better Access to Groceries (BAG) program, the Youth Engagement & Skills Program, and the Together In Elmwood Parent & Child Coalition (TIE) — which offers a wide range of free workshops supporting families. Grants are also available through the corporation. The Chalmers Housing Plan, for one, offers successful applicants grants for exterior home fix-ups. The CNRC continues to work with current and former residents, businesses, service providers and supporters to benefit the Chalmers neighbourhood and Elmwood as a whole.
Finally, I enjoy attending the monthly meetings of River East Neighbourhood Network (RENN) where all the various agencies meet each month to report on what they’ve been up to and what their future plans hold.
It’s remarkable how this network of agencies works together to create real change in the community, and I thank them all for their dedication and hard work. As someone who’s proud to live in Concordia, I look forward to continuing my participation and involvement with these organizations.
As your MLA, your ideas and opinions are important to me. Feel free to call my office at 204-654-1857, or contact me by email at Matt.Wiebe@YourManitoba.ca.