Co-Executive Director’s Report

Children and youth are a fine balance – they often call us to the edge; to the ebb and flow of life; to the present moment with all of its inconsistencies, uncertainties and also with it its triumphs and joys. It is with kids in mind and heart that we begin our report to you, our supporters and friends. We feel privileged that you are a part of this intricate story and that you celebrate and yearn with us.

We are deeply conscious of the integral role of our three sustaining funders; The Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg and the United Way of Winnipeg. This support provides the roots of Rossbrook’s reach and the foundation of all that can be. At the same time we hold the work of raising over 40% of our budget annually. Thank you to all our donors for the generosity and support that helps to ensure that goal is met every year.

We have the honour this year of celebrating the commitment of an exquisite group of people. Together six retiring board members and one teacher represent 139 years of service – an amazing gift to all of us. After years of helping to protect kids and ensuring they have what they need to be safe and grow strong, John Guy, Ron Bailey, Mary Kate Harvie, Bill Fogg, Terri Hammerback of the Board of Directors and Sister Margaret Hughes of Wi Wabigooni are retiring. We honor their goodness, expertise, vision and the delight they have shared with us in this place we call “home away from home”. We say to each them: ‘It will always be home to you and we thank you for your place in the ever evolving story of Rossbrook House.”

This year has held stories of loss and stories of celebration – moments where life has risen to lead us gently back to the fire to find our grounding. The grounding is always the mission; the vision. We have lived the shared grief of losing three young people connected to Rossbrook House this year. In the experience of shared sorrow, we find a common strength and resilience in each other. And, we continue with all the things that impact the development of those gifts in the children and youth- including celebrating achievements and protecting the role of healthy play

Thirteen scholarships were awarded at the Open House Ceremony to assist young people pursue their educational dreams. From the younger ones moving on to Junior High, all the way to those enrolled in Post-Secondary studies, the energy was electric!

Throughout the year, children and youth celebrated among other things, Summer Olympics, the Winter Games, our 38th birthday, and the Carl Ridd Basketball Awards – all in Rossbrook House style with food, fun, and laughter.

The kitchen continues to be an integral part of life at Rossbrook House. In the first year of operation of the Rossbrook House Healthy Kitchen, over 10,000 meals have been served including breakfasts and after school meals. The Junior Staff were among the staff that acquired Food Handlers’ Certificates and our very first inspection was a soaring success. We hope to eventually have a comprehensive program that will include not only cooking techniques and food handling, but also teaching the participants about nutrition.

The Rossbrook House story is not lived in isolation. Rossbrook House is grateful for the joint vision of our sister agencies and community organizations, like the Youth Agencies Alliance with whom we develop many programs that benefit the kids; IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba), soon to be our closest neighbour with the opening of the new residence down the street; and the Winnipeg Police Service that works with us towards developing a safe neighbourhood. We are grateful for the Board of Directors, the Foundation Board of Directors, programming volunteers and the incredible staff who are always at the front end of welcoming the kids and making sure they are safe, 365 days a year.

The ebb and flow continues daily and with your support we meet the movement with gratitude. We consider ourselves blessed that each of you- funders, donors, volunteers, board members, supporters, friends and staff are a part of a communal expression of the vision and mission of Rossbrook House.

Maria Vigna

Phil Chiappetta