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SPARC Red Deer Caring Adult Awards Night a success!

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SPARC Caring Adult Awards Night a success

On April 27, Strengthening Positive Assets & Resiliency in Communities (SPARC), honoured 50 nominees through the SPARC Caring Adult Awards event.

SPARC is a local coalition established in 2017 that focuses on helping kids grow up great. SPARC’s work is based on 40 Developmental Assets and positive youth development.

40 Developmental Assets are building blocks of healthy development that ALL kids need to grow up healthy, caring and responsible. The higher number of assets a young person has, the more likely they are to thrive, note SPARC officials. Also, the fewer developmental assets a young person has, the more likely they are to engage in risky behaviours.

The SPARC Caring Adult Awards recognize people in the community who build assets in local young people. SPARC Champions have put on a successful event where nominees were given a gift, a letter from Mayor Ken Johnston, and time to celebrate together.

The gift the nominees received included a hand potted plant made by SPARC’s Paint the Town Positive Youth, which is a youth chapter of SPARC. The youth included positive messages on the pots thanking the nominees for “helping kids grow up great”.

SPARC Red Deer is a local non-profit coalition designed to promote and educate community members and families about the '40 Developmental Assets”. The 40 Developmental Assets, developed by the Search Institute, are research-proven life experiences or building blocks which all children need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Research shows that the higher number of these assets a young person has, the more likely they are to thrive and to engage in positive behaviors. Research also shows that the lower number of these assets a young person has, the more likely they are to engage in risky behaviors. To learn more about SPARC, visit sparcreddeer.ca, or contact Rania Page, SPARC co-chair at 403.896.9431 or [email protected]m.

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Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign continues to Sunday

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Inspiring kids to read, write and succeed through Smile Cookies!

Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate chip cookie? They taste even sweeter when you are making a difference in a child’s life!

Helping struggling students become readers of potential is exactly what local Tim Hortons stores want as proceeds for this week’s Smile Cookie campaign will be directed to Reading College, a project of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools.

“We set up this amazing and fun summer program for kids in Grade 2 where they learn to love reading, and gain the skills to continue their growth as learners. Reading is the foundation for success in school and life. If we can help further develop their skills and instil a love for reading, it creates a lifetime of difference for that child. It will make a difference for them, make a difference for their families and make a difference in their life experiences. That’s the beauty of
Reading College,” said Superintendent of Schools, Chad Erickson. “This year, we had 64 graduates of the Reading College program who were incredibly engaged and able to excel and improve their reading abilities over the month of July, setting them up for further success.”

“The Smile Cookie Campaign is a great opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of literacy, it really does create life chances for students. Reading College is made possible through great support from our community and Tim Hortons – we could not operate it without this support,” said Kristine Plastow, Foundation Board Chair. “I encourage the community to get out there and buy their cookies next week!”

From September 19-25, Tim Hortons restaurant owners in Red Deer will generously donate all proceeds from sales of a special smiling chocolate chunk cookie to support the Reading College program through The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools. The $1 treat helps community programs across Canada in the cities where they are sold.

“On behalf of all Tim Hortons’ restaurant owners and team members in Red Deer, I would like to thank our fantastic guests for their loyalty, generosity and support of the Smile Cookie campaign,” said Tanya Doucette, Tim Hortons Restaurant Owner in Red Deer. “We are thrilled to support The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools and their Reading College program. With funds raised we are helping students learn to read, which will ultimately help set them up for a lifetime of success. During Smile Cookie Week, we welcome all Red Deerians to buy a delicious freshly-baked Smile Cookie in support of a great cause, which helps benefit children in our community.”

Help us promote the campaign by ‘liking’ Red Deer Public Schools on Facebook and ‘following’ us on Twitter, both under @rdpschools. You can also find us on Instagram @reddeerpublicschools.

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Arts

Red Deer Polytechnic alum expresses creativity through downtown mural

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Art on Welikoklad Event Centre’s exterior wall celebrates institution’s brand and history

An exterior wall of Red Deer Polytechnic’s Welikoklad Event Centre is undergoing a creative refresh with a mural painted by talented alum Kat Simmers.

“The blank canvas of the long, exposed wall of the Welikoklad Event Centre is a fantastic medium for communicating what Red Deer Polytechnic is all about,” says Dr. Jonathon Penny, Dean of Arts and Culture. “Dr. Alison Jeppesen and others, who imagined this use and garnered support for it, determined to hire an alum in order to capture the spirit of RDP, and we are fortunate to have Kat work on the project. Their vision represents RDP’s history and its spectrum of program offerings beautifully.”

Simmers, a former Red Deer Polytechnic Visual Art student, began painting the mural in early September, highlighting a variety of programs and learners at the Polytechnic.

“With Flying Colours depicts a diverse body of students engaged in their respective crafts. It was an interesting challenge to create a work representing the experiences of so many people – students past, present and future,” says Simmers. “I wanted to pay respect to the value of athletics as well as the diverse mix of creative arts learning and trades programming that students experience at the Polytechnic.”

The mural features students, a health care professional, several skilled trades workers, a member of the Indigenous community, and athletes playing hockey and volleyball.

“I thought of the welder as an artist crafting a sculpture as much as a tradesperson earning a wage. I made my way through six years of art school by working various labour jobs,” adds Simmers. “It was the creativity and passion for learning I developed at RDP that led to success in those environments as well. I wanted to capture the spark of innovation and joyful work environment that I experienced at the Polytechnic.”

The education and training Simmers received at Red Deer Polytechnic helped with the creation of the mural and set the groundwork for future artistic endeavors.

“At the Polytechnic, I spent a lot of time working with colour and figurative painting. As my education continued into design, that sense of light and life stayed a core part of the worlds I like to create. RDP’s Visual Art program is incredibly inspiring and supportive,” says Simmers. “Having 24-hour access to gorgeous studios created a wonderful sense of community and fostered some amazing friendships I still cherish to this day. The years I spent at the institution also laid the foundation for future learning.”

As Simmers plans to complete the mural in late September, their brother Derek, who is also an alum of Red Deer Polytechnic, will assist with the finishing touches during the final week.

 

“Red Deer Polytechnic’s alumni are incredibly talented and are leaders in their communities and professions, as demonstrated by Kat and Derek,” says Richard Longtin, Vice President, External Relations. “With over 80,000 alumni, we are extremely proud of their impact and contributions to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social development of the region, province, and beyond.”

As the mural creatively represents the Red Deer Polytechnic brand, including the many benefits of a polytechnic model, it will also connect the institution to the community.

“The artwork complements the city of Red Deer’s commitment to revitalize the downtown core with murals, creating welcoming spaces and signaling Red Deer Polytechnic’s connection to the community in vibrant and creative ways,” says Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. “I am extremely proud of the Polytechnic’s presence in the heart of Red Deer, which increases the ability to collaborate with community members and business partners in the area.”
Simmers hopes the mural will provide inspiration.

“This work is to remind people to take joy in their craft, to care for their community and to share the fruits of their labour,” says Simmers. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to build on my experience at RDP and it’s exciting to be able to return those gifts in some way.”

More information about Red Deer Polytechnic’s Creative Arts programming is available online.

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