For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features Wings of Power, a social services organization, located in Powerview-Pine Falls, where it provides support for family and children, and adults with disabilities. It also serves people in adjacent communities, including Sagkeeng, the Beaches, St- Georges, Great Falls, Broadlands, Black River, and Hollow Water.
Wings of Power originated when Powerview School staff recognized that local preschool-aged children needed access to school readiness programs. Founded in 1997, it was recognized as an official organization in June of 1998. Paul Magnan and Paul Barnard, in cooperation with Sunrise School Division, initiated the concept.
It offers a variety of programs, services, and events. All are free and open to everyone. They host two summer barbeques, a fall harvest dinner, and breakfast with Santa. In their main building, they offer prenatal/ postnatal education, Mothers and Daughters in Touch program, and Circle of Security parenting. They host a free lending library and run a drop-in centre with free internet, phone, and fax service. The thrift store sells clothing items for $1.00 each.
Many of the children’s programs involve arts activities. In Grand Marais, Pine Falls, and Hollow Water, they offer “Lil Gigglers” – weekly parent/child play groups for kids from birth to five years old. In summer, they host eight weeks of activities for boys and girls. In partnership with Powerview School, they operate Little Wings Preschool for three and four year-olds, provide the breakfast program food, and run cooking classes for kids, twice a year.
They own a Pine Falls home where two youth with disabilities live, and run a Helping Hands program for eight young people with disabilities. All of them volunteer at the hospital, local businesses, organizations, and personal care homes.
The organization employs four managers, twelve full-time, and six part-time employees. A six member board supervises overall operations. In 2016/17 fiscal year, more than 6000 people accessed their building, programs, and events. Department of Families and Healthy Child fund 82% of programs and the other 18% is financed by grants and private donations. IERHA is a major partner.
With these ongoing partnerships and programs, Wings of Power shows their strong belief in their stated mission – “Building a better community one person at a time.”