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Youth Recreation Activity Worker program breeds communitarians

with rewarding careers The certificate program at Red River College is available to qualifying individuals at no cost

By Sherry Kaniuga K

aren Dueck has gone from serving breakfast to serving the needs of children and youth in the community – and she wouldn’t have it any

other way. Back in 2006, Dueck was working as a server in a

restaurant to help support her family. She didn’t think going back to school was an option for her, until a friend told her about the Youth Recreation Activity Worker certificate program at Red River College (RRC). “When I first heard about it, I thought it was too good

to be true,” says Dueck, whose two children were in their early teens when she entered the 10-month pro- gram, and had experience doing respite work with a child with special needs. “I had always enjoyed working with children and

youth, but it wasn’t until I heard about this program that I really thought of it as a career. To that point I was just working to work, and to put food on the table.” Designed to prepare young people to work with in-

ner-city children and youth to provide healthy recrea- tional activities, the Youth Recreation Activity Worker program is offered at no cost to qualifying students aged 18 to 29. Dueck, who was 28 at the time, took the plunge and applied. At the end of the program, she completed a summer work practicum as an activity worker with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, which partners with RRC to offer the program jointly. Te rest is history: Dueck worked her way up the lad-

der, and after just seven years is now the organization’s Assistant Director of Programs, overseeing five of the city’s 10 Clubs. As the leading youth service agency in Winnipeg, the

Boys & Girls Clubs serve about 4,500 children and youth each year, providing a safe, supportive place where they can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships, and develop confidence and life skills through a variety of free, enriched and after-school programs, Dueck explains. “When I started the program, I wasn’t sure where

it was going to lead me. It really prepares you for how much you’ll need to give of yourself in this field, and provides all the supports for you to be successful in the course and later on, working in the community,” she says. “Once I learned all about what the Boys & Girls Clubs does, and the impact it makes in our community, our city and with our youth, I really felt connected to its mission and values and I knew it was right for me.” While her management position, which she has had

for three years, means she’s doing more paperwork these days, Dueck still takes the time to make hands-on visits to the Clubs. She says the most rewarding part of her various roles over the years has been when she gets

Karen Dueck, the assistant director of programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.

to interact directly with youth, and to see first-hand the Clubs’ impact on the community. From mentee to mentor

“When I was an Activity Worker, there was one boy

who was about 13 who was very disengaged, closed off and guarded. I slowly built a relationship with him, got to know him, and found out about the struggles he was facing at home and in the community with violence and gangs,” Dueck says. “Over time, we broke down those walls with him,

got him involved in programming, and from there into a leadership and mentorship role with our younger youth. It’s incredible to see that change and just what building a relationship with a child can do. By just giving them your time to show them you care and are

interested in what they have to say, you show them that what they say and do is important, and that you value them. Every day we hear stories like this, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I got into this work and why I continue to do this.” Leaving with a smile on her face

“Te program definitely changed my life: I have a

career, I enjoy the work I do, and I really feel like I have direction. I get up every day and instead of dreading going to work like I used to, now I go into work with a smile on my face, and it’s still there at the end of the day. “With the right programs out there and the right

supports, anyone can be successful.” Visit to learn more about RRC’s Youth Recreation Activity Worker program.

It pays to stay in Manitoba: the tuition rebate T

he tuition fee income tax rebate allows Manitobans to save up to $25,000 on their income tax. Te Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate

helps post-secondary graduates pay for their education while they live and work in Manitoba, by providing a 60 per cent income tax rebate on their eligible tuition fees. Live here. Save here.

Students who graduate with a degree, diploma or cer-

tificate from a post-secondary institution recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency on or after January 1, 2007 and now work and pay taxes in Manitoba can benefit from the Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate. It doesn’t matter if their post-secondary training took

place in Manitoba or elsewhere. How it works

Graduates are entitled to receive a 60 per cent income

tax rebate on their eligible tuition fees up to a maximum benefit of $25,000. Here are some examples of what this rebate could mean

to you: Sample tuition fees

$40,000 $25,000 $5,000

60% Rebate $24,000 $15,000 $3,000

Provided they are living in Manitoba, post-secondary

students can even apply for the rebate while they are going to school. Tey can claim a Rebate Advance in the form of a refundable 5 per cent tax credit on their tuition and ancillary fees.

14 Smart Biz

Students can receive a 60 per cent income tax rebate on their tuition fees when they choose to set roots in Manitoba. Make your claim on your income tax return Graduates can claim their Tuition Fee Income Tax Re-

bate on their personal tax returns by completing the T1005 – Manitoba’s Graduate’s Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate form. Post-secondary students may apply for the Rebate Advance by completing the MB479 – Manitoba Credits. Find out more To find out more about how Manitoba’s Tuition Fee

Income Tax Rebate can help students and graduates put money in their pockets as they put down roots in Mani- toba, please call the Manitoba Tax Assistance Office at 204-948-2115, or toll-free at 1-800-782-0771.

March 2015

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