Education and Experience Applied to Give Back

Published June 13, 2018 14:13


Twelve inner-city youth have had a significant change in their lives after successfully graduating a college program that will shape their future to become successful social workers.

On May 24, these 12 students of the Youth Recreation Activity Worker Program, a program delivered as a partnership between the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg and Red River College, celebrated their graduation and dedication to make life better for themselves and others. The celebration took place at RRC Princess Campus located at 160 Princess St.

The YRAW is a certificate program that provides formal education training, work experience, and life skills development that will prepare students to work with children and youth, for free. They take 16 students between the ages of 18 and 29, most of them who come from the inner city and want to get an education but face many barriers such as lack of financial means or needing child care for their children.

The program runs from September to May and students have the opportunity to continue into the second of RRC’s Youth and Child Care program and gain a diploma.

They learn to deliver positive recreational opportunities to children and youth and are empowered to use their personal experiences in the process.

There’s no cost whatsoever for the students, tuition and books are covered, and they even get a participant incentive, said BGCW director of employment services Randy Wagner.

“We would get a lot of applications from people who have university and college education, but this program was created to give those who have those life experiences and combine that with the education component and get them working,” Wagner explained.

“They understand a lot of these issues and the problems and things that many of the children and youth are going through.

“There’s a lot of self-learning in the program, they take a full course, they learn how to be role models, learn how to be understanding of children and youth and the things they go through, much of the same as many of them have gone through.”

Students engage in a full course-load from Monday to Friday with hands-on learning.

They get training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and non-violent crisis intervention training, and even have the opportunity to get their driver’s licence.

The success rate is high, Wagner said.

There have been over 100 graduating students from the program since its inception 16 years ago. Of these 100 students, close to 100 per cent are either employed or continuing with their education. The program is funded by the Province of Manitoba, CAHRD, and the City of Winnipeg’s Indigenous youth strategy, Oshki Annishinabe Nigaaniwak.

Some students choose to transfer their credits to the Youth and Child Care program at RRC or the Inner City Social Work program at the University of Manitoba and even go as far as getting their master’s degree.

BGCW also hires some of their graduates to work with them running programs and activity centres, while others enter the child care field.

“It opens up quite a few doors,” Wagner added. “When they come out of the program they are better people, better parents and they can give back something to the community.”

YRAW have already started recruiting for next September. For more information contact Wagner at 204-982-4943 or go to career-exploration/youth-recreationactivity- worker-program

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