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RDC’s Business Development VP prepares to leave work he excelled at

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From Michael Donlevy – VP, Business Development at Red Deer College

Investing in education inspires student success

I was inspired to accept an offer from former Red Deer College President, Ron Woodward, to join the Executive Team at RDC in 2001. This was initially through my involvement as a volunteer on the RDC Campaign Cabinet that raised $7.2 million – still a lot of money today – to help build the College’s Library Information Common. I was inspired by the College’s leadership and vision, along with a foundational commitment to student success from those leaders and by faculty and staff, inspiration that has continued under the leadership of current President Joel Ward.

Coupled with this was my own belief in the value of RDC to Red Deer and Central Alberta as essential to what makes our region a special place to live. Our family grew to love the community we now call home and being able to make a mid-career change and remain in Red Deer was exciting. Now, as I retire from RDC after 18 years, having been privileged to serve in variety of meaningful and influential roles, I remain just as inspired and passionate about our College – soon to become Red Deer University.

Along the way, that inspiration has been fueled by my deep belief in the importance of investing in education – and not just by Governments who often see post-secondary education only as an expense line item in a budget. It is why I dedicated my efforts, along with the teams that I had the privilege of leading, to seek to inspire corporate entities, business owners and individuals to consider the value of RDC to our region and to invest in the success of our students. Over the years, that came about in many ways, through incredible donations, committed sponsorships, major events and “in-kind” contributions.

Sometimes, fundraisers are viewed less positively – hold onto your wallet, here they come again. Yet I have witnessed the laudable and inspired efforts of colleagues in so many charitable organizations throughout Alberta and beyond, who want to inspire donor investment in causes so critical to the fabric of our communities.

I am proud to be a fund development professional and to strive for success in this good work. Because at the core, it isn’t about fundraising, it is about seeking to build respectful relationships, earning the trust of individuals that we will honour and steward their investment, large or small, in a way that preserves the trust we have been given.

The experiences I’ve enjoyed over almost 20 years of working with RDC’s amazing group of senior administration colleagues, staff and faculty, being part of helping learners achieve their educational goals, has been a true privilege. But so memorable and humbling, has been the opportunity to engage donors, alumni, partners, sponsors, volunteers and community members. They showed me, time and again, their own passion for RDC, their commitment to our students and so often, the true meaning of generosity and philanthropy.

I have been honoured to work with donors who, during the saddest times of their lives, would establish a student award in memory of their spouse, son or daughter. As well, in the best of times, donors from our own community came forward to invest in RDC with major, transformational gifts, whom we have gratefully recognized. And in challenging times, I have seen businesses and their owners support new programs, believing in the value of investing in RDC to build and expand.

Because of these investments, we have been able to construct incredible new facilities, bring new programs to life and create scholarships for students, whose lives have been changed in remarkable ways.  As RDC becomes RDU, I hope you will also be inspired to invest in the exciting future that lies ahead for the College – and continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our learners.

Michael Donlevy, Vice President, Business Development at Red Deer College, will be retiring at the end of June.

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Calling all Saints and Sinners! Local churches now open to the public!

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Praise the Lord!  Red Deer’s houses of God are open for worship!

With the modification of provincial regulations for church services, many Red Deer and area churches are opening as soon as this Thursday (Lacombe) with at least one church in their third week back with live congregations.

“In this time of crisis, we have to remember that God has not stopped working,” said Pastor Garrett Gillespie of Kentwood Alliance Church.  “Churches are people, not buildings and we have not stopped serving those in need, but we are looking forward to opening up and restarting worship services in our church building.”

Like many churches, Gillespie, who also can be heard on Shine FM 90.5, has recorded his weekly sermon and an encouragement video for YouTube.

“It is amazing that we have seen people from as far away as Germany pick up on our service,” said the Pastor.  “We are able to connect with many people who would normally never come to our building and many who do attend are able to connect while not in the city.”

He noted that the move to a greater online presence had been discussed but the pandemic motivated many pastors to go online with their sermons.

“Our plan is to start services the weekend of June 21st with an upper limit of 50 people unless that is relaxed to allow a greater number,” he said.  “We will take all steps necessary to sanitize and protect everyone.”

Meanwhile, across the city at Deer Park Church, Pastor Ben Elliott has a different strategy in mind for the summer worship season.

“We have had a successful and smooth Drive-In Church service and we do not want to move inside unless we are ready for full attendance,” said Elliott.  “With the Drive-In model, we do not have to register people or limit numbers AND you can sing your heart out.  It is easier to administer from our end so we can minister to our congregation better.”

Elliott added that the relaxing of regulations will allow a modification of their outdoor service to include lawn chairs and maybe a tail gate service similar to football games.

“Along with the Drive-In service, worshipers can find our service online if they do not want to come out on Sunday or they can even attend the recording on Thursday afternoons,” he said.  “We also have a children’s segment during the sermon.”

Other initiatives planned by Deer Park staff include a virtual Vacation Bible School planned for the week of June 20 and a Fathers Day Car Show.

“As Pastor and head of the Red Deer Ministerial Association, I want to encourage my fellow pastors to seek God’s will knowing that each congregation is unique,” said Elliott.  “I look forward to what God has in store for the Church in Red Deer, knowing that He makes all things new.”

Meanwhile the Catholic Church is gearing up for celebration of Mass in both Red Deer parishes and in Lacombe, with mass starting this Thursday in Lacombe at 7 P.m.

Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Catholic Churches will be starting Sunday Mass with 4 celebrations this weekend for up to 50 people per Mass.

“Our Church has always been open,” said Father Jan Sobkowic of Sacred Heart Parish.  “Throughout this time, we have been offering confession, adoration and helping those in need.”

Weekday masses started the week of June 1st and attendees have been thankful for the opportunity to worship.

“I am thankful we are now able to attend mass in person,” said a local senior.  “I have missed the body and Holy Communion.”

When asked about the regulations as they apply to celebration of mass, Fr. Jan said that  those wishing to attend (maximum 50) must register in advance or at the door no later than 10 minutes prior to the beginning of Mass and use hand sanitizers before entering the sanctuary and masks during communion.

Mass will be held Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at both locations with morning masses at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to Friday.

Across Red Deer at Victory Church in Oriole Park, Pastors Chuck and Joyce Roth have held services since May 24 with attendance of around 35 people per celebration.

“We have had one service going until the change in numbers allowed,” said youth leader Pauline Shattock of Victory Church.  “Now we have two services, one at 9 a.m. and another at 11 a.m.  The good thing is that we broadcast them live so if you cannot make it in person, you can watch it at home.”

She added that social distancing and sanitary requirements were being adhered to, but attendees had to register to ensure that no more than 50 people attend at any one time.

“A particularly exciting program we are starting is Victory Ninja Warrior Online on June 21st,” said Shattock.  “We have a real-life ninja teaching about the armor of God and as kids and families go through the lessons they can earn badges.”

With the program being promoted online, there are registrations worldwide due to a gentleman from Thailand who is sharing around the globe!

“During this time, we made sure we kept in touch with our congregation and when the opportunity arose to have two time slots, we made sure we did,” noted Shattock.  “With the opportunity to see friends and church family again, it has been very encouraging and life changing for everyone.”

Out of Red Deer, Clive Baptist Church is planning 3 services for 50 worshippers in addition to their online presence.  Prior to their three services, they, like Deer Park held a successful Drive-In style church celebration in the village.

Torrington Evangelical Lutheran Church

South west of Red deer, Pastor Nick Wasylowich of Torrington Evangelical Lutheran Church has planned a street service for June 7 in the hamlet.

“Depending on the weather, we will celebrate the Lord in our streets,” said Wasylowich.  “We will have parking attendants helping folks park appropriately and we will allow worshipers to stand beside outside their vehicle and praise their Saviour.”

With the situation and regulations for churches changing so quickly, and the possibility of the moving up of phase two (and increased attendance numbers), larger churches are unusually at a disadvantage as smaller churches and congregations are able to respond quickly to the opening up of regulations and comply more easily.

Throughout the Central Alberta region, churches who have not gone to live services, continue to offer online sermons and resources through their respective websites.

Pastor Gillespie summed up the present situation in a simple statement; “We have to remember that God is still working no matter what happens around us and told to trust him and live in faith not fear.”

Writers Note:  If your church wants to tell your Covid 19 story, contact me at [email protected] and we can give God the glory!

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Alberta

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta celebrates ten emerging artists for 2020

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Lieutenant Governor of Alberta celebrates ten emerging artists for 2020

Alberta’s 2020 Emerging Artists named

Edmonton (June 4, 2020)

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation today announced awards totaling $100,000 to the 10 recipients of its 2020 Emerging Artist Award.  More than 60 invited guests joined the Zoom awards show, which is now public, and available on the Youtube link above.

“We are pleased to be able to invest in advancing the careers of these outstanding artists at the early stages of their professional development” says Foundation Chair, Arlene Strom. “When economic times are tough, our artists are particularly vulnerable. And in the midst of societal change and upheaval, ensuring our artist voices and perspectives are heard is critical.”

Here are this year’s awardees:

  • Kablusiak, visual, multidisciplinary artist, Calgary
  • Amy LeBlanc, writer, Calgary
  • Luc Tellier, theatre, Edmonton
  • Carlos Foggin, music, classical, Calgary
  • Lauren Crazybull, visual, Edmonton
  • Evan Pearce, multi-media, music, new technology, Edmonton
  • Molly Wreakes, music, French Horn, Edmonton
  • Bruce Cinnamon, writer, Edmonton
  • Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal, visual, multimedia, Calgary
  • Griffin Cork, theatre and film, Calgary

Her Honour, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, CM, AOE, LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta congratulated the awardees on a Zoom meeting June 4, 2020. Each awardee receives a $10,000 cash award, a handcrafted medal and 2020 Emerging Artist certificate.

The 10 recipients were selected from 160 applications in a two-tiered adjudication process overseen by The Banff Centre. The adjudication panel included: Denise Clarke, associate artist, One Yellow Rabbit, 2007 Distinguished Artist awardee;  Adam Fox, Director of Programs, National Music Centre; Lindsey Sharman, curator, Art Gallery of Alberta; Alice Major; writer, poet, 2017 Distinguished Artist awardee.

Here is some background the each of the artists:

Kablusiak (they/them) is an Inuvialuk artist based in Mohkinstsis/Calgary and holds a BFA in Drawing from the Alberta University of the Arts.  Recognition for Kablusiak includes the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize (2017) and the Primary Colours Emerging Artist Award (2018), and short-list nominee for the Sobey Art Awards (2019).  A multi-disciplinary artist, they imbue a variety of mediums with their trademark ironic humour to address cultural displacement. 

Amy LeBlanc is the author of three books: her debut poetry collection, I know something you don’t know, was published with Gordon Hill Press

in March 2020.  Her novella, Unlocking, will be published by the UCalgary Press in 2021. Pedlar Press will publish her short story collection, Homebodies, in 2022. Her very timely master’s thesis is a work of fiction examining pandemics and chronic illness.

Luc Tellier is a theatre actor, director, and educator from Amiskwaciy Waskahikan, colonially known as Edmonton. He’s been seen in over twenty-five professional productions since graduating from MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts Program in 2014. As an arts educator and through his own freelance workshops, he mentors hundreds of students every year – sharing his belief that the arts are for everyone!

Carlos Foggin is driven by his passion to share live orchestral music with as many Albertans as possible! In 2016, he founded the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra which has since performed to more than 30,000 Albertans in over 50 concerts in small southern communities. He is a celebrated pianist, organist and improviser and has performed internationally on some of the world’s greatest organs.

Lauren Crazybull is a Blackfoot Dene artist living in Edmonton.  In 2019, Lauren was selected as Alberta’s inaugural artist in residence and was long listed for the Kingston Portrait Prize. Through her art, Lauren is asking poignant questions about how Indigenous identities can be represented, experienced, celebrated and understood through portraiture.

Evan Pearce began his career by editing music videos using found footage for local bands, but he’s now on the leading edge of two new emerging technology art forms: VJ-ing and New Media – working at the intersection of music, video, and leading-edge technology. Evan is fascinated with incorporating XR (Extended Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in a live performance setting while VJing – and beyond.

Molly Wreakes is a classical french horn player originally from Edmonton, who has performed internationally as both a chamber and orchestral musician.  Molly served as the academist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra In 2018/19 – performing with the orchestra and training with their horn section and orchestra members. Molly is also an avid chamber musician who is inspired to explore community outreach opportunities through music and musical creativity.

Bruce Cinnamon is a writer whose creative work thrives in the radiant sunshine of the gigantic Alberta sky, twisting and bending the familiar prairie landscape into carnivalesque fantasies.  Bruce won the 2015 Alberta Views short story contest; his first novel, The Melting Queen, was published by NeWest Press in 2019. He is currently working on his second novel, a fantasy story about a small Alberta town which suddenly vanishes when it is torn into a parallel universe by a predatory City.

Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal is a multi-media artist, community activist, and perpetual learner. She is a recipient of the National BMO 1st Art! Competition Award, and of the 2017 Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Award. Cardinal has been an active member in the urban Indigenous community in Treaty 7 Territory. Her work reflects the teachings she receives along her journey – and invites  others to become a part of the process, to partake in its making.

Griffin Cork is a Calgary-born actor and producer in the film and theatre industries. He is co-founder and Artistic Producer of Hoodlum Theatre, a small collective dedicated to creating disruptive and unabashed work. His company Numera Films took home an AMPIA Rosie Award for Best Web Series – Fiction in 2019 for Abracadaver. Griffin is committed to telling engaging, Albertan stories and strives to merge the mediums of film and theatre.

Backgrounder: About the awards

The late Fil Fraser, the late Tommy Banks, the late John Poole and Jenny Belzberg (Calgary) established the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation in 2003 to celebrate and promote excellence in the arts. The endowments they established were created with philanthropic dollars and gifts from the Province of Alberta and Government of Canada.

Since its inception in 2003, the Foundation has awarded $1,230,000 to 20 Distinguished Artists and 63 Emerging Artists, all Alberta affiliated.

The Foundation administers two awards programs:

  • The Emerging Artist Awardsprogram, established in 2008, gives up to 10 awards of $10,000 each to support and encourage promising artists early in their professional careers. Emerging Artist Awards are given out in even years.
  • The Distinguished Artist Awardsprogram, begun in 2005, gives up to three awards of $30,000 each in recognition of outstanding achievement in, or contribution to, the arts in Alberta. Distinguished Artist Awards are given in odd years. The 2019 Distinguished Artist Awards celebration will be in Maskwacis, Battle River region in September 21, 2019.

Todayville’s President Lloyd Lewis is a Board Director of the Foundation and was the Master of Ceremonies for this year’s online awards show.

Read more on Todayville.

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