Niagara College breaks ground for 18th annual Many Hands Project

Niagara College kicked off its 18th annual year’s Many Hands project today, with a special ceremony at Strive Niagara in Welland.

Strive Niagara is a non-profit, social service organization that provides child care, outreach and other resources and support for young families in need who are pursuing an education.

Today’s ceremony marked the official start of the project, which will provide a significant upgrade to Strive Niagara’s Welland facilities. Joining the Niagara College faculty and students involved in the project were staff and clients from Strive Niagara, along with the Mayor of Welland; Frank Campion, Dean of Business, Hospitality and Environment at Niagara College; Vivian Kinnaird, Executive Director of Strive Niagara; Sandy Toth and Stephanie Leheta, Manager of Workforce and Vendor Management at Canadian Tire Bank which has acted as lead sponsor of the Many Hands project since its inception.  Stephanie Leheta kicked off the project by providing a $5,000.00 donation that will support the renovation of Strive’s facilities, as well as a kitchen upgrade for  the Welland United Way/Big Brothers Cupboards for Kids project.

“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 that 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 StriveNiagara’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.

The Many Hands Project is a student-driven renovation initiative run by the Event Management (Graduate Certificate) and Construction Renovation Technician programs at Niagara College. The students in the Event Management program plan and execute five fundraising events throughout the academic year to raise money for the recipient. The Construction students, as a component of their academic studies, renovate the site over the winter months, from January to April.

“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.”

The Strive Niagara building will undergo a range of renovations to physically improve the facility. Some of the improvements include: changes to the existing reception area, main entry corridor, a new waiting area and new flooring in the childcare area. Areas of the building will receive new paint, lighting, ceiling and floor tiles. The project is scheduled to be complete by April 18, 2015.

Since 1998, the Many Hands Project has supported 17 not-for-profit organizations through renovation and landscaping projects, which enhance program and service delivery, and raise awareness. The agencies that benefit from the Many Hands Project are selected by the project committee, and must be not-for-profit and involved in the provision of a community-based service in the Niagara Region.

The Many Hands team relies on donations and partnerships with sponsors, as theybegin with a zero based budget. The project is supported by the Event Management students, who raise funds for the renovation through various fundraising events that they develop, coordinate, and execute throughout the year. The upcoming events include: a League of Legends gaming tournament, aball hockey tournament, an upscale country evening, a children’s enchanted fairytale afternoon, and an event designed to break the World Record of Largest Dessert Party. For details and links to these events and the Many Hands Project, go to

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


For more information, contact:

Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Niagara College
905 735-2211 ext. 7773
905 328-4101 (cell)

Christine Blane
Coordinator, Event Management Program
905-641-2252, ext. 4466

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