10 Years On and Going Strong

by kristinm
Categories: Blog, Newswire, Prairie News

Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre Celebrates 10 Years Serving the Community


Nestled next to a park at 51 Morrow Ave in Winnipeg is The Salvation Army Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre (BMFRC). The Centre offers a range of community programming serving all age groups from children to seniors. This week the BMFRC marks 10 years of serving the community and to celebrate we’re sharing some of the success stories and highlighting some of their programs, most of which are free of charge.

Named after the late Barbara Mitchell, daughter of Garfield Weston, the BMFRC opened in 2012 with the generous help of a grant from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation to strengthen and expand the operations of two existing Salvation Army Family Centres in Winnipeg and Calgary. You can read more about the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre here.

Family Supports

The BMFRC offers a wide range of family supports including specialized programming for new Canadians. The programs include a bi-weekly food bank, healthy baby, community events like summer BBQs and holidays meals, kids club, volunteer opportunities and the English Café, where people can come and practice English in a relaxed and informal setting.

a family standing in front of a building

The Rukaj Family in front of the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre

Semir and Servete Rukaj fled the war in Kosovo in 1999. They then spent 14 years in a refugee camp, where their daughter Semira was born. In 2014, the family came to Canada for a better future. The Rukaj family landed in Winnipeg and were housed at Welcome Place where a worker helped them find an apartment in the St. Vital area. Once in the neighbourhood, their worker and translator told them about some social assistance programs in the area including the food bank at the BMFRC. The family has since participated in many of the offerings at the centre and give back by volunteering as well. Through the resources offered at the BMFRC the family have become Canadian citizens, they’ve had support navigating application processes, have made friends and Semira got her first job as a Youth Mentor at a summer camp.  They are more confident in their English skills, more sociable, feel safe and at home.

“The centre welcomes everyone in a non-judgmental environment. Everyone is very happy and friendly” say the Rukajs. “We have a place to go if we have questions or need resources. We volunteer because we want to give back for all the help we received, and because we love this place.”

For more information on Family Support Programs contact: 204-946-9153.

Children and Youth Programming

During the last ten years, opportunities to children and youth have included Cooking Classes, Sports Nights and Youth Drop-In. New in 2022 are after-school anger management programs for children and teens. Red Cap is geared towards children 8-12 years old (grades three through six) while TASK is for teenagers. The program teaches children healthy ways of dealing with their emotions as well as leadership skills. To read more about Red Cap follow this link. For more information on Children and Youth Program opportunities call 204-946-5153.

Students standing with their teacher

LEEP Students and the Program Coordinator. From L to R: Shibiyamts Shiferaw from Ethiopia, Razine Lungere from Congo, Program Coordinator Anna Glibka and Yousif Maded from Iraq.

LEEP – the Life, Employability Enhancement Program, is 16-week pre-employment course is designed for newcomers to Canada aged 15-30 who have left war-torn countries. The first six weeks of the program are spent in the classroom learning about workplace expectations, Canadian culture, communication, conflict resolution, computer skills, first aid and safety measures. In the final 10 weeks, participants spend 30 hours per week in a work experience placement that matches their skill level, experience and employment goals. Class sizes are small, with eight to 10 participants on average, so every student gets personalized attention and help reaching their individual goals. For more information about LEEP visit the website: www.leepwinnipeg.com or contact 204-297-5833.

Seniors Programming

Seniors have a place to play at the BMFRC too. Daily group activities include cooking classes, pickleball, a walking club and social and recreational outings. There are learning opportunities such as navigating new technologies like iPads and video games and presentations on topics like nutrition and healthy. The program aims to facilitate connections with socially isolated seniors. For more information contact the Seniors Program at 204-946-9152.

Seniors Playing Pickleball

Seniors Playing Pickleball

Disability Services

New to the Centre, Disability Services offers holistic, person-centred supports to people living with intellectual disabilities to be valued and contributing members of their communities, to create a life filled with opportunities, natural connections and inclusion. Supports range for day, residential and outreach to providing transportation services. For more information on these services, visit the website: www.communityventure.mb.ca or contact 204-946-9418.