Free Press
Stepping up in variety of ways
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Stepping up in variety of ways

Some great news today!

Variety Manitoba, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, held its 2022 Gold Heart Gala at the RBC Convention Centre last Saturday night after a two-year hiatus. The in-person event, the largest fundraising initiative of this year for Variety, broke a record, raising over $1 million (for the first time ever) for children in Manitoba living with special needs. This is huge!

“It’s been tough the past couple of years,” said Kai Madsen, marketing specialist for Variety Manitoba. “That was a lot of fundraising money we weren’t able to get. Our donors and sponsors really came through for us this year.”

Variety is an important organization for so many Manitoba kids living with special needs and experiencing economic disadvantage.

It steps in when government, health care, and other funding ends with different programs including: a special needs program — Camp Brereton (provides the “gift of camp” to children in need); a children’s dental outreach program, and post-secondary education awards.

“Thanks to the generosity of businesses and individuals throughout Manitoba, we are on our way to meeting the needs of Variety’s children and their families,” said Variety CEO Jeff Liba.

Variety CEO Jeff Liba (left) and Louis Trepel, who was honoured with Variety’s Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gala. (Variety / Facebook)

In the next couple of years, the charity aims to double the special-needs applications it approved across Manitoba, so this record-smashing $1 million will pave a lustrous path to get there. The charity will now be one of the only charities in the province to fund private essential therapies for children. This much-needed assistance will help reduce a backlog of almost three years.

“(The funds) will go to help hundreds and hundreds of kids in the future,” Madsen said, adding Variety needs to grow to keep up with the demand of unfunded needs in Manitoba.

The money raised from the Gold Heart Gala will directly fund children across Manitoba. Well done!

Thanks to funding from the Winnipeg Foundation, the Free Press and The Narwhal have embarked on a three-year pilot project and partnership to deliver ground-breaking journalism on climate change and a growing array of environmental challenges facing our province and the planet, with J.S. Rutgers reporting! I am so excited and proud of this partnership; it couldn’t be in better hands with J.S. at the helm!

After fighting for decades to ensure Indigenous children can get the care they need, Cindy Blackstock has been given a key to the City of Winnipeg. A well-deserved honour for Blackstock, a well-known advocate for the implementation of Jordan’s Principle, which requires the federal government to ensure all First Nations children can access equitable social services. Blackstock and her colleagues launched a successful human rights challenge, which concluded the federal government had failed to implement the principle. Read Joyanne Pursaga’s full story here.

Jen Zoratti writes about Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story — a Royal Winnipeg Ballet fan favourite that returns to the Centennial Concert Hall this week. This ballet is set in the 1950s, with retro costumes, a dance vocabulary that includes jazz and tap, and themes from Richard Rodgers’ songbook as arranged for a live jazz orchestra by Winnipeg’s best-known big bandleader, Ron Paley. I can’t wait to check it out!

Shelley Cook

Shelley Cook, Columnist

Shelley Cook

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