Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rossbrook House

Spirit of Giving

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What they do:

Rossbrook House creates safe spaces for children, teenagers and young parents. Promoting awareness about being on the streets and providing education in the community is developed in activities for people in alternative school programs. Rossbrook offers sports, arts and snacks for young people and encourages people to get involved with their charity.

Hopes for the holidays:

Faced with the reality of hardships for teenagers on the streets, Rossbrook House tries to make the holidays enjoyable.

"We're in the Christmas season, so we've got a lot of activities underway," said Phil Chiappetta, an executive co-director of Rossbrook House. "I think that all of the Winnipeg police stations are collecting toys for the Indian Métis Friendship Centre and Rossbrook House -- it's shared for both of us."

Members of Rossbrook House will have access to tobogganing, skating and bowling trips organized by coordinators. There will also be four different Christmas parties for various age groups.

The centre was founded in 1976 as a place for young adults and it offers an alternative to the destructive environment street life encourages. Education is a priority.

"We're doing a lot of work in the ongoing access to education," said Chiappetta. "And most of that is around grants and proposals to try to get support for the program. But one of our ongoing issues is the access to education and we're doing a lot of work in developing education."

Chiappetta said one of their best programs in alternative education is called Open Roads, which helps inner-city teenagers access education by building confidence and developing writing skills based on their experiences.

People involved with the charity receive supplements with updated information, but Chiappetta encourages non-members to find information on the website.

"Or just call me or Sister Maria," said Chiappetta.

How to help:

The organization is located at 658 Ross Ave. Financial contributions help their ongoing battle to access education for inner-city teens and keeping the doors open 24/7, 365 days of the year. To contribute to Rossbrook House, please contact Phil Chiappetta or Sister Maria Vigna by telephone at (204) 949-4090. Financial gifts will also be accepted online (at http://www.rossbrookhouse.ca/donate.html).

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2010 B4

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