Who has entrepreneurial spirit? Melanie and Erick Casselman do, that's for sure. They are opening the Park Theatre & MovieCafé, after having started Casselman's Castles two years ago. Casselman's Castles are the houses that Erick and Melanie purchased and rented out, right here in Riverivew. Check out their web site - this is the best use of the Web I have ever seen for rental properties. Included for each house is a photograph, rental rate, rent application form, direct email link and, best of all, floor plan. You can have a very good idea whether the home is right for you BEFORE you even visit it. www.casselmanscastles.com and check out properties with delightful names such as Riverview Manor, Riverview Castle, Fort Rouge Chateau, all for less than $700 per month.
OK, OK, what's so exciting or cool about rental properties? Well, the web site is definitely cool. But even cooler is that the equity in the houses is what is financing the purchase and renovation of the old Park Theatre - and everyone is excited about that! Go to www.parktheatervideo.com for more information, including a complete list of all of the movies available from The Park. (Just a reminder why the theatre is called "The Park" - in many decades past, Riverview had River Park, which included a horse racing track, a giant ski jump, a roller coaster, and much more. It was "The Park" for Winnipeg.)
But the theatre has been sitting empty for years and years, no one could figure out an economic model for the building - and then along came the Casselmans. Start with a day job - Melanie is a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company. Add to that the equity financing from Casselmans Castles. Then throw in a very careful, detailed and creative business plan. Running a single screen movie theatre was just not going to do it. So add a video rental store, with more than 2,000 titles to rent. Go to www.parktheatrevideo.com to find the complete list of DVD titles and browse through the list - BEFORE you go to the theatre! But a video rental store can't pay all the bills either. So add a café - but not just any café, a café with a "Barista" (trained in New Zealand). A Barista is an true expert coffee maker - none of Second Cup, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, the Fyxx or the others have a Barista. Riverview, home of the Barista! Add some gourmet desserts from private bakers, desserts that will be as good as, and perhaps better than, Baked Expectations. MMMM - smells great just thinking about it.
But what about the theatre? Well, yes, let's show some movies while we're at it. And let's start the best technology in the city - digital light processing combined with DVDs at 1,080 lines or resolution (your DVD player and TV at home probably have 480 lines of resolution or less); let's add a sound system obtained from a theatre in Ohio, with 5 front speakers and 2 rear speakers. Now - what kind of movies to play? How about second run Hollywood films, independent and foreign films, how about "audience choice nights"? (patrons suggest films to be viewed, then one week before scheduling, visitors to the web site vote on which film will be shown!) Let's add some theme nights too - I can't wait for Monty Python night!
Still not enough? OK, let's add a 20' by 20' stage. Community theatre and dance groups and bands can rent the hall for their productions and recitals, and sometimes the stage will be used to have a movie host introduce films and lead discussions of films after they are shown.
All in all, the whole enterprise is very exciting and very cool - way to go from a young couple from Snow Lake and Leaf Rapids, with a 14 month boy just adding to their fun!
Jody Andrews – General Manager, Earth Share Co-op
Jody Andrews is the General Manager of Earth Share Agricultural Co-op. Jody is in charge of the farm, hiring employees, publicity, applies for grants, writes proposals and does business planning for the Co-op.
The Co-op began in the early 1990s. Many refugees were coming to Winnipeg with farming background but without an opportunity to farm. Refugees who come to Winnipeg are first greeted and helped by Welcome Place. A family in Landmark donated 5 acres to a couple of refugees from Central America, who grew more than they could eat and started a community support agriculture (CSA) project. Members pay at the beginning of the year and for a share of produce from the farm – whatever it may be! The farm is now at the Fort Whyte Centre with 24 acres.
Earth Share provides the first real job in Canada for some refugees, approximately 5 – 8 persons during the growing season.
His background is well-suited to this job – he grew up in a farm family and as a boy spent summers working in his aunt’s 2 acre vegetable garden before his family acquired its own farm in northern Saskatchewan when he was 12. Later, he joined Canada World Youth and was exposed to an agricultural co-op in Uruguay. He studied international development at university, including a thesis on the Impact of Liberation Theology on Rural Development in El Salvador. Jody uses the Spanish he has learned over the years every day with the refugee employees at Earth Share.
Earth Share is now raising money to construct a 36’ x 36’ building for an office, packing space, storage, vegetable washing and a 3000 sq. ft. greenhouse, to extend its season.
By extending the growing season and the ability to store surplus for sale outside the harvest season, Earth Share is trying to develop year-long employment opportunities. Jody points out that vegetables sell for a higher price outside of the harvest season than they do when they are freshest, which leads to more stable funding for Earth Share. Earth Share is also trying diversify, its products, and recently John Ritz of Prairie Lane Orchards donated 650 saskatoon berry plants. The Young Entrepreneur Program, with students at R. B. Russell and Gordon Bell Students will tend the plants and in 5 years, when they reach full production, they will take some of them to England to develop a new market. Earth Share is also supported by Heifer International, which funds projects for food security for inner city people, small family farms and Aboriginal farms. Earth Share had 219 members last year and would like 400 members this year. From mid-June to mid-September, 12 weekly deliveries of 25 different vegetables costs $160 for a single portion and $300 for a double portion – won’t you sign up?
Click here for the Earth Share Application form
Kevin Prokosh – theatre critic
Kevin Prokosh has been a neighbour and the Winnipeg Free Press theatre critic for 15 years.
Kevin was born in Montreal where he studied journalism at Concordia University. He was on his way to Whitehorse in 1980 to cover the Arctic Winter Games when a friend he was traveling with wanted to stop in Winnipeg and left Kevin standing at Portage and Carlton. So when in Rome … Kevin dropped into the Free Press building and submitted an application. After returning to Montreal, he had a message on answering machine. He started as a police reporter and then started writing in the entertainment section, where he started writing about theatre. Kevin sees more than 75 plays a year. An average review is 600 words, but Kevin also writes other features and columns, including Sunday profiles about local people, and also serves as Deputy Entertainment Editor.
Kevin notes the importance of theatre in Winnipeg – “Winnipeg is known for performing arts and theatre is at the forefront of performing arts in Winnipeg. Winnipeg has Canada’s oldest, continuous French language theatre, le Cercle Molière, Manitoba Theatre Centre is Canada’s oldest non-profit threat, Winnipeg sold more tickets to the Fringe Festival last year than any other Fringe Festival in North America. Winnipeg has the nicest children’s theatre in Canada – the Manitoba Young People’s Theatre. “I’m just happy to be part of that community.”
Kevin notes that Winnipeg has a Tony-award winning actor (Len Cariou). He has seen Ronnie Burkett grow from local Fringe talent to an international star puppeteer. He is very much looking forward to seeing Molly’s Veil by Sharon Bajer at the PTE, and The Big League at MTYP.
When asked how he copes with being a critic of actors, directors and others whom he sees on a regular basis, Kevin answers: “They’re here and I’m here and we’re not going anywhere, so we have to live together. They might not like today’s review, but they might like the next one. Plus, they can call me, write letters to the editor, and there are other reviewers in town in the Sun and on radio. And I know I’ll see that person I’m writing about next week. At the Fringe, I go into the beer tent after a show and those guys are sitting there too. It is not like reviewing TV or the movies, where you will never see the person whose work you are reviewing.
When asked why he does not review high school productions, Kevin notes “the Free Press has a policy of only reviewing professional productions. We want to encourage and praise developing amateur artists, and we will not write negative reviews about them.” Hmmm – theatre critic, I could get used to that – very cool!
Robin Ellis, Party Girl (Children's Museum)
Robin Ellis has a really cool job, and she's only 16! Robin is a Birthday Party Host/Gallery Host at the Manitoba Children's Museum. Since starting there last June, she has hosted hundreds and perhaps a thousand or more kids. All parents out there know how much fun hosting one birthday party a year can be, but how about hosting 6 birthday parties in one weekend, with up to 25 kids at each party? That what Robin does - and she loves it!
There are four birthday hosts at the Children's Museum. Robin's cousin who works there heard about an opening and told Robin, who prepared a resume, cover letter, was given an interview and ultimately was hired.
The parties have various themes, with the most popular being Treasure Hunts, but also Pirates Party, Dino Party (put the pieces of a dinosaur together and guess the name of the dinosaur), Ocean (do an ocean-related craft, hunt for fish in the museum), Harry Potter Party (magic jumping bugs - sprite and raisins; dragon's blood lava lamp - oil, water, food colouring and salt; exploding film cannisters - water and alka seltzer); Clowning Party (everyone dresses up and has a parade around the museum), WhoDunnit Party (word puzzles, solve the clues and get a prize).
What has Robin learned in the job? "I've become very good at getting kids to be quiet and listen - just be louder than they are and just as enthusiastic as they are. Plus, I've become quite good at cutting cake."
She has also learned a lot about teamwork, as getting ready for a party and cleaning up afterwards has to be done really quickly. Robin has hosted parties where everyone was speaking Russian, German and Vietnamese!
Where does birthday host fit into her long-term career plans? It gives her experience in the workplace, gives her experience working with children, will help her decide whether she wants a career working with children, and it might help her become a Camp Stephens counsellor in the future.
I think you'll agree that Robin has a really cool job. I wonder if she can be hired for our kids' next birthday party!
Mark Bilash - Community Constable
My name is Cst.Mark Bilash and I have been an officer with the Winnipeg Police Service for the past 22 years. I am currently assigned as the Community Officer out of the Fort Garry Police Station at 1350 Pembina Hwy., and I maintain an office at 2020 Corydon Ave. There are currently 9 such officers covering District 6.
As a Community Officer I am responsible for resolving Non-Emergency problems within a designated area. I also attempt to connect with the community by way of interacting with various groups and organizations. Finally, I respond to non-emergency calls-for-service in District 6 in order to take some of the heavy workload away from the General Patrol Officers. My geographical area of concern is roughly between Riverview and River Heights, and the areas between. I work both weekdays and weekends from 7am to 5 pm.
Community Policing falls under the model of Planned Response. This means that my investigations are handled by appointment only. Non-Emergency problems under my purview would include neighbour disputes, minor assaults, thefts, property damage, a neighbourhood drug house etc. As a Community Officer, problems are steered towards resolution by way of mediation, agency referrals, compromise, verbal cautions, and at times an arrest. The idea is to try and solve the problem as opposed to just arresting someone all the time. Outside resources are often utilized to assist in this goal.
By way of example, let’s say John DOE has a dispute with his neighbour’s teenager who is playing in DOE’s driveway and has damaged DOE’s vehicle. DOE would first make his police report at any Police Station or Service Centre.
The report would then be forwarded to my attention. After interviewing both parties, the problem could be resolved dependent on the reason for such a problem. Here is a list of possible options. 1. A verbal caution to stay out of the yard may be effective. 2. The teen could be cautioned under the Petty Trespass Act to stay off of the property. A ticket/fine could then be issued he returns to the property. 3. Assess the teen’s parents and their parenting skills. Possibly the mother/father needs assistance in parenting and have “lost control” of the teen. Have an appropriate agency assist. 4. Assess the teen as he may have other “issues” that are affecting his behaviour. 5. Arrest for Mischief.
The primary focus is on creative problem solving. Generally I concentrate on solving the problem, and focus less on casting blame. If the problem is solved then generally, people are happy.
Al Pauls, Osborne South Business Improvement Zone
Owner of Sounding Stone and President of Osborne South Business Improvement Zone
Who has worked in Riverview for almost 33 years? Al Pauls, owner of the Sounding Stone on Osborne. He does not live in Riverview, he just spends most of his time here. And he is an artist – we could have put him into a “call me art” column.
Al Pauls started his working career as a teacher. He later obtained a degree from the University of Manitoba in Fine Arts. It was there that he learned about pottery. He needed a studio space to develop his skills and saw a for lease sign one day at 555 Osborne (now the Sawatdee Restaurant), as he was on his way to visit to his brother who lived on Fisher Park. The space was zoned commercial and the by-law required a store-front in order to obtain a studio permit, so Al opened a small space he called the Sounding Stone which was only open for two hours each Saturday. He had a waiting list of pottery students to help out the business.
In 1976, Al started selling pottery supplies, and he now is the only retail supplier of pottery clay and equipment in Manitoba. Al retired from teaching in 1985 and concentrated on the Sounding Stone business. He moved to the current location in 1988.
Al’s wife added the gift items to the Sounding Stone, which now employs Al, his wife and their son full-time, his brother-in-law two days a week and two other full-time employees. All spends most of his time upstairs, where he has his pottery wheel, and in the back on the main floor, where the kiln is. Almost all of the pottery for sale at the Sounding Stone is Al’s. For example, he makes approximately thousands of mugs and other items per year. It is ironic that Al never imagined he would make his living in pottery, it just happened.
Today, Al is the President of the South Osborne Business Improvement Zone (BIZ). There are many Business Improvement Zones in the City. A BIZ is an invention of the City of Winnipeg. The City allows a BIZ to form and charge a special levy on the businesses in the zone. The BIZ then uses that money to improve the zone in the manner it sees fit. For example, almost any of the things you see on Osborne to beautify the street are paid for by the Osborne South BIZ, the flowers, the banners, the Elva Fletcher park clean-up, removal of graffiti. There are 88 businesses in the Osborne South BIZ, but, as with most community organizations, it depends on a small core of about a dozen people to make it run. The BIZ also offers two annual scholarships, one at Churchill High School and the other at College Churchill (French immersion). For more information about the Osborne South BIZ, check out their web site at http://www.osbornesouth.biz (with a nice photo of Al!)
Laila Schultz, Alternative Trade Project
Laila Schultz, aka Lola’s grandma, has a really cool job. Her job is to sell products in Canada for worker collectives in developing countries, such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burmese refugees in Thailand, Ethiopia, Panama, Peru and other countries. She is a paid employee of the Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), the overseas development and relief agency of the Lutheran Churches in Canada. Laila is part of CLWR’s “Alternative Trade Project”.
Alternative trade is just like fair trade – fair working conditions and proper wages, but adds another element: sustainability. The objective is to help disadvantaged artisans make their own living by selling their own handcrafts to Europe and North America for fair market value. The project began in 1964 with MESH (Maximizing Employment to Serve the Handicapped), which enables those affected by leprosy to earn their own living and gain human dignity.
The Alternative Trade Project has its own business plan, and it hopes to break even over a five year period so it can be sustainable over the long term. The Project is now in its second year. In addition, the Alternative Trade Project helps the collectives it works with develop their own business plans, again with a view to ensuring that their work will be sustainable over the long term. The Project has a consultant working with the artisans in India giving them advice on what kinds of products are likely to sell in Europe and North America (for example, did you know that lime green is a popular colour in Sweden?).
As part of her job, Laila has travelled to India, Bangladesh and Nepal to contact producers, and to B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia to promote sales in Canada.
You can see and purchase the products from CLWR at the showroom at 1080 Kingsbury (near Garden City mall), where you will find linens such as tablecloths, serviettes, table runners, bed spreads, towels, scarves, shawls, stuffed toys, jewellery, leather photo frames, leather, bamboo and papier maché decorative boxes, and candles. These are gifts that give twice: give them to a friend, and you will make be making an important gift to the artisans who produce the goods.
Laila and her husband Ray moved to Winnipeg from Vancouver about two years ago when Ray was elected National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (headquarters in Winnipeg). Previously, Laila worked for 20 years at the Vancouver School of Theology on the UBC campus. They live intentionally as part of an extended family with their son Mike and his family, Josée, Lola and Maya. Laila says she loves Winnipeg and Riverview. Good neighbours!
Crystal Chercoe, Social Entrepreneur
Crystal Chercoe has a really cool job – she’s a Social Entrepreneur. Social Entrepreneurs are people who work in the social sector, imagine something that isn’t, develop a plan, convince governments and foundations of the merits of their plan, and get it done. Where Social Entrepreneurs differ from Business entrepreneurs is that they seek social rewards over financial gain.
Crystal has carved a career for herself in helping communities adopt Information and Communication Technologies (ICT's). As Project Manager for both Broadband Communications North and the First Nations SchoolNet program, she works with community and government partners, notably Keewatin Tribal Council, Industry Canada, Indian & Northern Affairs as well as directly with community stakeholders. Since July 2002, Crystal has facilitated access to over $6 million in government funding that will support the implementation of high speed Internet connectivity for over 52 First Nations and Métis communities in rural, northern and remote Manitoba. This includes allocating computers for First Nations communities and schools, supporting community based skills development in addition to technical support through help desk services.
"Everyday I feel like Santa Claus, providing access to computers and connectivity for communities that are too often ‘out of sight, out of mind’." says Crystal. Plus, "it is the most amazing experience to work with such a fascinating culture, in terms of spirituality, artistic creativity and traditional knowledge."
Crystal got her start in 1997 working as an Intern with the Community Access Program - Youth Initiative delivered by Junior Achievement of Manitoba. Her career was given a boost through a referral from Riverview resident and mentor, Chris Dobbs, who works for Human Resources Development Canada. A Riverview resident for four years transplanted from rural Manitoba, Crystal loves that Riverview "is an open concept community" – meaning no gates, few fences, plenty of green space and neighbors who talk to each other. If you want to get in touch with Crystal, you can reach her at email@example.com. Good neighbour!
Kelly Klick, midwife
Kelly Klick has a really cool job – she’s a Midwife. Why is being a midwife cool? Family doctors, obstetricians, nurses – they all do things that are fairly similar (and those are cool jobs too!). But a midwife is cool because once upon a time, almost all babies everywhere were delivered by midwives and then in some parts of the world, midwifery became illegal - practicing medicine without a license! They even used to be accused of being witches in some places. Now midwives are back and they’re legal.
"Midwife" means "with wife" (or more generally, “with woman”). More than 80 percent of babies world-wide are born into the caring, skillful hands of a midwife. In 1997, the Manitoba government declared midwifery an independent, regulated health care service. The Manitoba Midwifery Act was proclaimed on June 12, 2000
Manitoba is the fourth province in Canada to take this step. There are currently 16 midwives in the City of Winnipeg. For more information, see the College of Midwives web site: http://www.midwives.mb.ca/
Kelly had her three children in her home with midwives. Kelly was so impressed, she wanted to become a midwife, but first there was no midwifery program and then in the first years that the program in Ontario started, it was very difficult to get in. So Kelly became a volunteer with Mothercraft – being a volunteer birth partner for teen-age girls who did not have a partner; then a registered childbirth educator and volunteer with Planned Parenthood, then a registered Doula. A Doula is a professional labour-support partner, but a Doula does not catch the babies. Then Kelly got into Ryerson University’s midwifery program. Upon graduation, Kelly returned to Winnipeg to begin her career as a midwife.
Bev Suek, Women's Enterprise Centre
Bev Suek has a really cool job! She gives money away! And is paid to do it! Now isn't that your idea of a dream job? Here's the scoop.
Bev is Chief Executive Officer of Manitoba's Women's Enterprise Centre. The Centre is essentially a $5 million loan fund established by Western Economic Diversification Canada (the agreement expires in March 2005, unless extended). Bev says the Centre is funding approximately 80 businesses right now. To apply, the business must be at least 50% owned and controlled by women. Default rates are approximately 4%. The Centre also provides.
Bev says that women generally have little credit history, few assets to use for collateral and start businesses that have relatively low start-up costs. These factors can combine to make getting small business loans difficult.
But the Centre is more than just loans. The Centre offers an extensive range of practical services including seminars, business advice and business financing.
The Centre has assisted with start-up and expansion of a variety of successful companies. Among those successes are Telecom Options, Dessert Sinsations, Accent Flooring and Randonnee Tours, all in Winnipeg; Cinnamon Tree in Brandon; and Polar Inn in Churchill.
The Centre is guided by a Board of Directors composed of entrepreneurial women. Since it was established in 1994, the Centre has assisted thousands of women throughout the province.
Over the years, the Centre has responded to more than 70,000 requests for business advice and provided in excess of $10.1 million in loans from many sources. Services are also provided to male/female partnerships that are 50% woman-owned and controlled.
Bev and her family created Twin Pillars Bed and Breakfast on Oakwood - their way of living their philosophy of creating their own jobs and being self-reliant. The B&B is now run by her son and his family. Bev moved on to create TLS Enterprises, which does workplace investigations and mediations. And then she attended a meeting sponsored by Western Economic Diversification Canada. This led to Bev co-founding the Women's Enterprise Centre.
Evelyne Guindon, Unicef
Evelyne Guindon (Zador), co-chair of the École Riverview School Parents Advisory Council, has a really cool job. She is the Prairie Regional Director for UNICEF Canada. Her job is mostly to get Canadians to think and care about children all over the world, but especially those in developing countries. She is involved in fund-raising and education.
UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund, originally started as the Children’s Emergency Fund to help children in Europe immediately following World War II. Since then, UNICEF has focused on providing non-political, development assistance (as compared to emergency assistance, such as provided by the Red Cross and the UN High Commission for Refugees). UNICEF focuses on children’s health, education, early childhood development, gender equality, immunization, child labour, child soldiers, and children orphaned by AIDS.
Evelyne’s career has always focused on communications for charitable organizations, including the National Association for Women and the Law, Planned Parenthood, the I.U.C.N. (world conservation union, best known for being the organization responsible for the list of endangered species), including 6 years in Lesotho and Zimbabwe, in southern Africa.
Evelyne notes that one of UNICEF’s principles is to show all children as equal in dignity, and for this reason UNICEF avoids images of children in abject poverty. Unfortunately, it is these images which prove most effective for fund-raising. UNICEF is also completely dedicated to the view that the best way to help children is through community development, and it is for this reason that UNICEF is not involved in sponsorships of individual children.
When asked “why should Riverview residents care about children elsewhere?” Evelyne replies “Riverview is such a fantastic community, we have a lot to share, and we need to realize that community is much more than just our neighbourhood.” When asked what policies she would urge on the new Prime Minister, Evelyne answers that Canada should make a true, long-term commitment to international development, by funding international development at 0.7% gross domestic product, the target that Canada has set for many years and never lived up to. Evelyne also cites the example of the U.S. Peace Corps, where volunteers returning to the U.S. are given preference in government hiring and special access to scholarships and bursaries. Wouldn’t it be great if Canada would also use incentives like that to encourage Canadians to volunteer in developing countries Next time you are looking for interesting gifts for someone, stop in at the UNICEF store at 535 Academy Road, and say hello to Evelyne while you are there. www.unicef.ca
Pierre Richard, marine biologist
Pierre Richard has the coolest job in Riverview – because his job regularly takes him to Churchill and points north – 2000 km north of Churchill! It does not get cooler than that!
Pierre is a research scientist for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He studies arctic odontocetes (whales with teeth – belugas and narwhals).
Pierre is the author of Marine Mammals of Nunavut (2001), which is used as a textbook for students in Nunavut.
Pierre’s work is important because the people of Nunavut rely on whales for food, and knowledge of the health of the whale population is essential. In addition, whales are a “keystone” species – they provide very good insight into the health of the arctic eco-system. Contaminants in the environment move up the food chain, in increasing concentrations.
Pierre tells us there are approximately 150,000 belugas and 50,000 narwhals in the arctic. Pierre’s research involves capturing whales in shallow waters in nets and attaching epoxy tags with a satellite tracking transmitter. This allows scientists like Pierre to determine the location of whales, travel routes, and dive activity (such as depth, time at depth, and duration of dives). Some of the surprises this research has revealed is that belugas travel quite far offshore and dive to great depths, routinely diving between 400 and 800 metres, and sometimes as low as 1100 metres.
For anyone who wants to become a marine biologist, Pierre recommends studying at a university on a coast (UBC, UVic, Memorial, Dalhousie) but notes that Winnipeg has Canada’s largest scientific group studying marine mammals – Pierre’s group with DFO studying arctic marine mammals.
Most of Pierre’s arctic research takes place between June and August and he’s here in Winnipeg the other time analyzing the collected data. Pierre recommends an arctic trip for everyone, to learn more about Canada’s arctic wildlife. He calls Churchill “the affordable arctic” and notes there are approximately 3,000 whales in and around the Churchill River between mid-June and mid-September, and in July and August, visitors can expect to see 100 belugas at a time at Cape Mary on the Churchill River.
This summer, Pierre and his family are taking a cruise through Davis Strait and Hudson Strait (Greenland and Baffin Island), with Adventure Canada. (Margaret Atwood will be on the tour.) Just goes to show – when Pierre is not working in the cold, he’s vacationing in it! Very cool!
Jill Taylor-Brown, cancer care
Jill Taylor-Brown grew up in Riverview, as did her husband and much of her extended family. After her Bachelors in Social Work and a year working in child welfare, Jill spent a few years traveling in Europe and then two years in Sydney, Australia. She was looking for a job close to where she was living in Sydney, and found a job in the cancer unit at a local hospital. "It just clicked" - this was the career for Jill. She returned to Winnipeg, in part because her sister was diagnosed with cancer (she recovered), and Jill joined Cancer Care Manitoba in 1980.
Jill has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Manitoba and her specialty is psycho-social oncology, in other words, counseling and working with people who have cancer and their families. Jill is a past President of the Canadian Association of Psycho-Social Oncology. Jill is known across Canada for her innovative cancer support programs. She and her colleagues developed the first program of its kind in Canada (in fact, second in North America), an information and support group for children whose parents have cancer called "Kids Can Cope". She also began facilitating support groups specifically for younger women with breast cancer back in 1993, also a first in Canada. Newer programs include yoga and art therapy for people with cancer and a music therapy workshop is planned for this Fall.
Jill wants people to know that not everyone she works with dies - lots of people survive cancer. People should also know that cancer is not one disease, it is about 100 different diseases. She also finds it is a great privilege to be invited into a family's most personal moments. She has an opportunity to learn and observe approaches to disease, grief and death from many cultures, she is inspired by continual exposure to human resiliency, and she is able to observe people living extremely full lives after they learn they have cancer.
No day is the same for Jill, the people she works with are all unique, the situations are always different, and there is always some new way to help people cope with cancer. Her work is all about relationships. And her job gives her the opportunity to take her many places for conferences and workshops. One of the hardest things in Jill's job is to accept that the counselor cannot fix things, and is not required to find exactly the right thing to say to make the grieving or the emotional pain disappear. It is sometimes enough to be there to share the experience.
Asked if there is one or two books she would recommend related to her work, Jill suggests: I don't know what to say ...: How to help and support someone who is dying by Robert Buckman and Helping Children whose parents are seriously ill by Joan Hamilton. Jill notes that cancer is increasing as the population ages. She says the best things people can do to reduce risk are the same things everyone already knows: eat healthy, exercise and don't smoke.
When asked if she now lives her life differently than she would if she did not have this job, Jill says yes. She is far more aware that we all die, that everyone is mortal, and that life can change completely in a very short time. "People should not wait to be happy." Jill adds: "There is not one day where I don't stop to appreciate my life. I try not to let small things get to me" and she makes sure she takes holidays and laughs a lot.
Jill notes that there are many residents in Riverview who do the kind of work she does. There are nurses in oncology and palliative care, palliative care physicians, oncologists, radiation therapists, epidemiologists, and social workers, all in our little neighbourhood. Jill loves Riverview because it is a real community, where neighbours care about each and the community. She feels it is an enclave, an "oasis" in the middle of the bigger city.
I'm not sure what you think a cool job is, but I think Jill's is really cool!
Barbara Bourrier-LaCroix, Canadian Women's Health Network
SHHH! I’m going to tell you something really quietly – being a librarian can be a really cool job! (Just don’t say it too loudly.) Barbara Bourrier-LaCroix, a Riverview resident, is a librarian and the Information Centre Coordinator for the Canadian Women’s Health Network (CWHN).
The CWHN received its first funding in 1996. The CWHN is a national, feminist, pro-choice health network, with a headquarters right here in Winnipeg, with a staff of 10. The main funder for the Network is the Women’s Health Bureau at Health Canada. The Network is governed by a volunteer board of directors, which includes women from across the country and includes women from various backgrounds, such as epidemiologist, nurse-practitioner, dietician, HIV/AIDS activist, among others.
The Network specializes in providing information about women’s health, particularly social science research (as opposed to medical research). For example, studies on the health impacts on poor women, on Aboriginal women and on rural women. The Network plays an advocacy role, trying to bring this research to the attention of decision-makers. In addition, the Network provides information directly to members of the public. For the Network to do all this, they need someone who is in charge of all that information; making sure it is properly stored so it can be easily found when required, helping people find out information on their health concerns and searching for health information from sources across Canada.
Barbara receives approximately 400-450 health information requests per year, usually by email or on the Network’s toll-free telephone line.
When asked to list the 5 types of questions she receives most frequently, she says there are: 1. Hormone replacement therapy; 2. Accessing abortion services; 3. Birth control information; 4. Sexually transmitted infections information; and 5. General gynaecological information.
Barbara says she receives many phone calls from young women who are in tears because they just found out they are pregnant and they do not know what to do or who to talk to. Barbara tells those young women who is in their community that can provide counseling, information and health related services.
Barbara emphasizes that the Network never provides a diagnosis to anyone, but can help a person educate themselves about particular health situations by finding research or local services for the requester. Barbara notes that because the requests are anonymous women may feel more at ease in describing their particular health situation and asking questions. Also, Barbara notes that many women have been told that their health concern “is all in their heads,” or feel that their personal health concerns have a lower priority than taking care of others in their family. For these reasons some women are reluctant to go visit a doctor and find that the Network is a more convenient place to start looking for information about their health concern.
Barbara took a Bachelor of Science program, with the idea of becoming a pharmacist. While in university, Barbara obtained a part-time job at the Winnipeg Public Library. Upon graduating, she was given a full-time job at the library, and decided to make it her career. However, to be a librarian requires a Master of Library Sciences degree, which is not available in Manitoba. Barbara found out that Emporia State University (in Kansas), was offering the degree through distance education, on week-ends, at Grand Forks, North Dakota.
After running the library at Churchill High School for two years, Barbara moved on to the CWHN. The fact that Barbara is Franco Manitoban enables her to play an important role in ensuring that the Network’s services are available in both official languages across Canada.
To be a librarian, you must master the art of finding information, under-standing technology and enjoy working with the public. So, Barbara did not actually go to Kansas (she’s a librarian, not Dorothy) nor to Iowa (she’s not Marian the Librarian either), but she found a way to make being a librarian a cool job.
For more info about the CWHN, check out their web site: www.cwhn.ca or call them at 942-5500. Barbara will be writing a regular article in the Reflector next year called “What’s News in Women’s Health”.
Kat Binding, aromatherapist
Aro·ma·ther·a·py - noun - The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.
Kat Binding: (1) local Riverview resident and expert in aromatherapy; (2) cool job - she is the manager of Ambrosia Healing Centre, which offers aromatherapy,yoga, massage therapy, the Urban Ojas Restaurant, and organic grocery. It is the biggest educational centre for medicinal plants in Canada, bringing in teachers from around the world to teach courses.
The Chinese may have been one of the first cultures to use aromatic plants for well-being, burning incense to help create harmony and balance. The Egyptians invented a rudimentary distillation machine that allowed for the crude extraction of cedarwood oil. It is thought that the Egyptians coined the term perfume, from the Latin per fumum which translates as through the smoke. The Greeks also recognized the medicinal and aromatic benefits of plants. Hippocrates, commonly called the "father of medicine" practiced fumigations for both aromatic and medicinal benefit. The Roman Empire built upon the knowledge of the Egyptians and Greeks. Discorides wrote a book called De Materia Medica that described the properties of approximately 500 plants. In the 11th century. In the 13th century, the pharmaceutical industry was born, encouraging distillation of essential oils.
In the 15th century, more plants were distilled to create essential oils including frankincense, juniper, rose, sage and rosemary. Paracelcus, an alchemist, medical doctor and radical thinker is credited with coining the term Essence. His studies challenged the nature of alchemy and focused upon using plants as medicines. During the 16th century, one could begin purchasing oils at an "apothecary.” In the 19th century major constituents of essential oils became isolated. In the 20th century, the knowledge of separating the constituents of essential oils was used to create synthetic chemicals and drugs, which helped lead to "modern medicine" and synthetic fragrances. This weakened the use of essential oils for medicinal and aromatic benefit.
In the 20th century, a French chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé became interested in the use of essential oils for their medicinal use. While working, he burned his arm rather badly. He plunged his burned arm into the closest liquid which was a large container of lavender essential oil. The burn he suffered healed quickly and left no scar. Gattefossé is credited with coining the term aromatherapy in 1928.
The every day use of Aromatherapy can help to balance sleep/wake patterns, boost the immune system, decrease stress and help balance hormone levels in the body.
Kat Binding has been with the Ambrosia Healing Centre since 1997, when it was located on Lilac Street. After her university graduation, working for the Winnipeg Jets and world travels, Kat found herself at Ambrosia and immediately began taking courses from owner Carrie Forsythe and quickly found this was the place Kat was meant to be.
Kat points out that essential oils and aromatherapy are based on the concept of using medicinal plants to feed the body, just like taking herbs or the foods we eat. The whole concept offered at the Centre is to feed your body well -you can do this not only with essential oils, but with Herbal & Nutritional consultations designed to achieve ph (acid/base) and energy balance in the body.
An Herbal & Nutritional session at the Centre involves a process of assessing the energy of over 120 acupressure points on the body (determined by performing a muscle energy test). It also includes a food plan, which is likely to recommend foods with no additives or preservatives, no sugar, no coffee, very limited use of vinegar, tomatoes and citrus fruits for a period of time until the body achieves its balance. For anyone who wishes to learn more about the use of medicinal plants, drop in to the Ambrosia Healing Centre on Osborne St. or contact Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org .
David Therrien, solar and wind energy entgrepreneur
What is a cool job? How about one that reduces global warming? That is what David Therrien, local Riverview resident, does - for a living! David is an Electrical Engineer and alternative energy entrepreneur. He is the sole proprietor of Canadian Solar Energy Consultants and a vice-president and part owner of Calgary-based Windcor Power Systems.
David is originally from Kenora, Ontario, and after graduating with his engineering degree, he was fond of telling friends that the future was in alternative and renewable energy. But then he realized "my lips were just flapping" so he decided to do something about it. After working for nine months with a local company, David then struck out on his own, concentrating on providing complete energy systems for cottagers and tourist lodges where bringing in hydro lines was too expensive at $55 per metre of cable. David's main market is in northwestern Ontario, which he knows well from his Kenora days.
David says an average cottage (2 or 3 bedrooms, propane hot water tank, no dishwasher), will take between two and four solar panels, that produce 80 watts of electricity each (they are fairly small, about two feet by three and a half feet). In addition, there will frequently be an inverter, to convert electricity from DC to AC. This average system costs approximately $10,000 - $15,000.
On cloudy days, solar panels only produce 10% of their potential, so it is necessary for the system to have enough battery storage to provide electricity on the cloudy days. David tells us that even though we have plenty of hours of sunlight in the winter, the number of hours per day, and especially the angle of the sun - causing more refraction as the rays pass through the atmosphere, result in a 30-40% decrease in solar power in the winter months. David also notes that solar panels currently operate at approximately 12% efficiency (proportion of solar energy received that is converted to use), while the theoretical maximum is 39%, satellite solar panels and solar-powered cars operate with efficiencies in the mid-20% range, but getting these efficiencies in consumer-level solar panels is something still off in the future.
In addition to his solar business, David is hard at work on wind energy with Windcor. Windcor hopes to start two wind farms next year, in the Turtle Mountain and St. Laurent areas. David says that Quebec and Alberta are national leaders in wind farms.
Four common misconceptions of wind farms are that they are ugly, they kill birds, they are noisy and they do not produce enough energy to truly make a difference.
David says they have experienced overwhelming support for the development of wind farms in Manitoba and no objections on the basis of visual disruption. The turbines are examples of beautiful engineering. The concerns about killing birds mostly originated from California where a previous design of windmills (lattice towers) attracted birds for nesting, and the turbines were built in migratory bird pathways. Today, the turbines do not offer nesting opportunities, blades are painted red at the ends, and there are flashing beacons at the tops (a safety feature for airplanes, but useful for birds too).
The bottom of the blades are usually about 40 metres off the ground, with the centre of the blades about 80 metres from the ground. The blades make about 12 revolutions per minute, travelling at approximately 450 km per hour (by contrast, jet planes travel approximately 550 km/hr). The birds can see the turbines and fly around or above them. David says the average house kills more birds than a wind turbine. The turbines do make noise, but when the wind is 25 km/hr or more, the noise of the wind will drown out any noise from the turbines, and the turbines are located intentionally only in windy places. David says that wind can be an excellent complement to hydro power, because hydro depends on water levels and water levels tend to be lower in the winter, while wind is highest in the winter.
David notes that Saskatchewan, Quebec, Alberta, and Ontario have longer histories of pursuing wind energy and have already developed wind farms. Manitoba hopes to join those ranks by next year.
David also points out that rural municipalities are trying to find ways to increase investment in their communities, and wind farms make a good fit. A wind farm will use up to three percent of the land where the wind farm is situated, and will pay rent to local landowners and taxes to local municipalities. So not only is wind energy a good alternative to fossil fuels, it provides benefits to rural economies.
If you want more information about solar or wind energy, contact David at email@example.com. Now, should we should put up some turbines at Portage and Main?