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A Welcoming Place for New Canadians

Published November 02, 2015 17:48

Source http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/lance/correspondent/A-welcoming-place-for-new-Canadians--339565042.html

By: Brian Mayes — St. Vital City Councillor Ward Report

Victor Mager School is a remarkable place.

Located on Beliveau Road near numerous Manitoba Housing sites and high-rise apartment blocks, the school hosts many children who are newly arrived in Canada. Principal Karen Magnuson told me that the school has a turnover rate of about 40 per cent each year, as kids move in and out of the area. The Boys and Girls Club has established a partnership with the school, offering daily programming outside of school hours for kids ages six to 18. However, the school’s outreach efforts were limited by its outdated community kitchen and community meeting room.

Earlier this year, I was pleased to approve a grant of $10,000 to help with renovating the kitchen, which was described as "extremely dated" in the school’s application. This upgrade included removing and replacing existing cabinets, replacing countertops, new flooring, and updating the plumbing, electrical system and paint. In a great example of different levels of government working together, the Louis Riel School Division also approved funding for the kitchen project, and the federal government announced $37,000 in funding for the community meeting room renovations on July 31.

Victor Mager offers a breakfast for learning program, a family centre and a community liaison worker who works to support the diverse needs of all families. The school has become a key part of the newcomer experience in the Beliveau area, and the school’s leadership team impressed me with their commitment to the renovation project and the school’s diverse student population.

But one of the great things about St. Vital is the way in which the old and new work together, and how a school named for a member of one of St. Vital’s founding families has become a welcoming space for many new Canadians.

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