Knowles Centre continues evolving

Longstanding local organization adapting to changing times

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This article was published 09/10/2020 (782 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

An organization that has been a part of North Kildonan for more than a century is working to build greater connections with the community at large.
On Oct. 7, the Knowles Centre, located at 2065 Henderson Hwy., unveiled a new street sign featuring its new logo and updated branding.
“There’s a lot of traffic past Knowles,” noted Dr. Michael Burdz, Knowles Centre’s CEO, after unveiling the new sign. “Many people probably didn’t even realize we were here.”
The sign, which replaces an old wooden sign which Burdz described as “lacking visibility,” was paid for by an anonymous donation.
In 2019, Knowles redesigned its logo, which was the first step of an organizational overhaul. 
“Agencies are always told to never become stagnant,” Burdz said. “We took that as an opportunity to freshen everything up.”
Rebranding was also seen as way to engage with the community at large.
“It’s exciting, something new,” said board chair Ihor Wenger. “We want to be a part of the community, and have the community be involved in what we do.”
Formed in 1907 as a home for boys, Knowles Centre now acts as a community-based, non-profit social service agency for children, adolescents and young adults facing difficult times in their lives.
“We’re here to help strengthen the community,” Wenger said.
The Knowles Centre operates six core programs for: group care treatment; treatment foster care; supported advancement to independent living; a day treatment program; a sexual abuse treatment program; and Moving Forward, a therapeutic counselling program for young people living in care, and their families and caregivers.
The centre also runs four supported programs, including a camp in the Whiteshell; the Biimautaziiwin Indigenous Cultural Program; a culinary arts program; and a recreation program that brings participants to events throughout the city.
Currently, the Knowles Centre is hoping community members can step up to help it continue delivering its services. 
“We’re actively looking for new foster parents,” Burdz said. “We have a lot of parents who have been with us for a long time and who are retiring. Now we need to recruit a new cohort.”
The Knowles Centre’s board of directors is also in need of some new recruits, with many longtime volunteers looking to retire.
“We’re a non-profit, so we rely on our board of directors to provide guidance,” Burdz said. “We’d like to see more people from the northeast part of the city submit their resumes for consideration.”
Moving forward, Burdz said that Knowles will be looking to invest in major renovations of its facilities.
“We’re always upgrading our facilities, but to do a substantial upgrade will require a capital campaign,” Burdz said. “We’re working towards that.”
Those interested in applying for either foster parent or board member positions should contact the Knowles Centre at 204-339-1951. For more information, visit www.knowlescentre.org

An organization that has been a part of North Kildonan for more than a century is working to build greater connections with the community at large.

On Oct. 7, the Knowles Centre, located at 2065 Henderson Hwy., unveiled a new street sign featuring its new logo and updated branding.

Sheldon Birnie Board chair Ihor Wenger (left) and CEO Michael Burdz pose next to the Knowles Centre’s new sign, which was unveiled on Oct. 7 at 2065 Henderson Hwy. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

“There’s a lot of traffic past Knowles,” noted Dr. Michael Burdz, Knowles Centre’s CEO, after unveiling the new sign. “Many people probably didn’t even realize we were here.”

The sign, which replaces an old wooden sign which Burdz described as “lacking visibility,” was paid for by an anonymous donation.

In 2019, Knowles redesigned its logo, which was the first step of an organizational overhaul. 

“Agencies are always told to never become stagnant,” Burdz said. “We took that as an opportunity to freshen everything up.”

Rebranding was also seen as way to engage with the community at large.

“It’s exciting, something new,” said board chair Ihor Wenger. “We want to be a part of the community, and have the community be involved in what we do.”

Formed in 1907 as a home for boys, Knowles Centre now acts as a community-based, non-profit social service agency for children, adolescents and young adults facing difficult times in their lives.

“We’re here to help strengthen the community,” Wenger said.

The Knowles Centre operates six core programs for: group care treatment; treatment foster care; supported advancement to independent living; a day treatment program; a sexual abuse treatment program; and Moving Forward, a therapeutic counselling program for young people living in care, and their families and caregivers.

The centre also runs four supported programs, including a camp in the Whiteshell; the Biimautaziiwin Indigenous Cultural Program; a culinary arts program; and a recreation program that brings participants to events throughout the city.

Sheldon Birnie Knowles Centre CEO Michael Burdz looks on as a new sign, featuring Knowles Centre’s new logo and branding, was unveiled on Oct. 7 at 2065 Henderson Hwy. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Currently, the Knowles Centre is hoping community members can step up to help it continue delivering its services. 

“We’re actively looking for new foster parents,” Burdz said. “We have a lot of parents who have been with us for a long time and who are retiring. Now we need to recruit a new cohort.”

The Knowles Centre’s board of directors is also in need of some new recruits, with many longtime volunteers looking to retire.

“We’re a non-profit, so we rely on our board of directors to provide guidance,” Burdz said. “We’d like to see more people from the northeast part of the city submit their resumes for consideration.”

Moving forward, Burdz said that Knowles will be looking to invest in major renovations of its facilities.

“We’re always upgrading our facilities, but to do a substantial upgrade will require a capital campaign,” Burdz said. “We’re working towards that.”

Those interested in applying for either foster parent or board member positions should contact the Knowles Centre at 204-339-1951. For more information, visit www.knowlescentre.org

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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