College selects Strive Niagara for 18th annual Many Hands Project

Strive Niagara, a centre for young mothers and their children in Welland, has been selected as the recipient of the 18th annual Niagara College Many Hands Project.

In January 2015, students from Niagara College will begin a series of renovations for Strive Niagara, formerly Adolescent’s Family Support Services of Niagara (AFSSN). The renovations will be performed mainly by students in Niagara College’s Renovation Technician – Construction program. It is coordinated and supported by students in NC’s Event Management (Graduate Certificate) program who raise money for the project through fundraising events.

Renovations to Strive Niagara’s facilities will include improvements to its front entrance and landscaping, a reconfiguration of its reception and waiting area, a redesign of its children’s play area and storage area in the gymnasium, and the creation of more effective open work space.

“Strive Niagara’s young moms and their children will benefit from this project as it will give them a sense of security, a brighter outlook, a desire to return to and participate in the program along with taking ownership and having pride in their space,” said Sandy Toth, executive director of Strive Niagara. “Research shows that an environment which maintains organization, structure, cleanliness, and routine, along with warmth and caring, aid in the security needed by teen moms to excel in the program they are invested in.”

Toth noted that Strive Niagara’s team purpose is to provide families with high quality care and support in a warm, welcoming, secure, respectful, and home-like environment. “The Many Hands Project is going to make changes to our building will further strengthen and reflect the values and core beliefs of our agency,” she said.

Strive Niagara is a non-profit, social service organization dedicated to assisting the needy by fostering the independence of young families pursuing an education through the provision of quality childcare and other necessary supports, in an effort to help improve future opportunities for young parents and their children.

The Many Hands Project is a hands-on component of Niagara College’s Event Management Graduate Certificate program. Students are required to plan, develop, co-ordinate and execute a renovation of a local community non-profit organization. Fundraising, volunteer management, technical operations, hospitality and public relations are the responsibility of individual committees comprised of students. Since 1998, the Many Hands Project has supported 17 not-for-profit organizations through renovation and landscaping projects, which enhance program and service delivery.

“Many Hands has become a very special project, because it combines hands-on instruction and experience for our students with important lessons in community service,” said Christine Blane, professor and program coordinator, Niagara College’s Event Management program. “Our students are very excited about the opportunity to work with Strive Niagara to improve its facilities and enhance the agency’s ability to serve families in our community.”

Event Management students will support the project by running a series of fundraising events that include: an upscale country evening, a computer  gaming competition, a children’s fairy tale event, a ball hockey tournament, and an attempt at breaking a World Record for the largest dessert party.  For details about the fundraisers and the Many Hands Project visit www.niagaracollege.ca/manyhands

In addition to assisting Strive Niagara, this year’s Many Hands Project will include a minor kitchen renovation for the United Way/Big Brothers in Welland to help facilitate its Cupboards for Kids Project, which provides healthy snacks for children.

The agencies that benefit from the Many Hands Project are selected by the project committee, and must be not-for-profit, involved in the provision of a community-based service in the Niagara Region, and be willing to commit agency resources to the project

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