Niagara College kicks off 18th annual Many Hands project

Niagara College kicked off its 18th annual Many Hands project today with a special ceremony at Strive Niagara in Welland.

Strive Niagara is a non-profit social service organization that provides child care outreach and other resources and support for young families in need who are pursuing an education.

Today’s ceremony marked the official start of the project which will provide a significant upgrade to Strive Niagara’s Welland facilities. Joining the Niagara College faculty and students involved in the project were staff and clients from Strive Niagara along with the Welland mayor Frank Campion Niagara College’s dean of Business Hospitality and Environment Vivian Kinnaird Strive Niagara executive director Sandy Toth and Stephanie Leheta manager of workforce and vendor management at Canadian Tire Bank which has acted as lead sponsor of the Many Hands project since its inception.  Leheta kicked off the project by providing a $5000 donation that will support the renovation of Strive’s facilities as well as a kitchen upgrade for the Welland United Way/Big Brothers Cupboards for Kids project.

“Strive Niagara’s young moms and their children will benefit from this project as it will give them a sense of security a brighter outlook a desire to return to and participate in the program along with taking ownership and having pride in their space” said Sandy Toth executive director of Strive Niagara. “Research shows that an environment that maintains organization structure cleanliness and routine along with warmth and caring aid in the security needed by teen moms to excel in the program they are invested in.”

Toth noted that Strive Niagara’s team purpose is to provide families with high quality care and support in a warm welcoming secure respectful and home-like environment.

“The Many Hands Project is going to make changes to our building that will further strengthen and reflect the values and core beliefs of our agency” she said.

The Many Hands Project is a student-driven renovation initiative run by the Event Management (Graduate Certificate) and Renovation Technician programs at Niagara College. The students in the Event Management program plan and execute five fundraising events throughout the academic year to raise money for the recipient. The Renovation Technician students as a component of their academic studies renovate the site over the winter months from January to April.

“Many Hands has become a very special project because it combines hands-on instruction and experience for our students with important lessons in community service” said Christine Blane professor and program coordinator Niagara College’s Event Management program. “Our students are very excited about the opportunity to work with Strive Niagara to improve its facilities and enhance the agency’s ability to serve families in our community.”

The Strive Niagara building will undergo a range of renovations to physically improve the facility. Some of the improvements include: changes to the existing reception area main entry corridor a new waiting area and new flooring in the childcare area. Areas of the building will receive new paint lighting ceiling and floor tiles. The project is scheduled to be complete by April 18 2015.

Since 1998 the Many Hands Project has supported 18 not-for-profit organizations through renovation and landscaping projects which enhance program and service delivery and raise awareness. The agencies that benefit from the Many Hands Project are selected by the project committee and must be not-for-profit and involved in the provision of a community-based service in the Niagara Region.

The Many Hands team relies on donations and partnerships with sponsors as they begin with a zero based budget. The project is supported by the Event Management students who raise funds for the renovation through various fundraising events that they develop coordinate and execute throughout the year. The upcoming events include: a League of Legends gaming tournament a ball hockey tournament an upscale country evening a children’s enchanted fairytale afternoon and an event designed to break the World Record of Largest Dessert Party. For details and links to these events and the Many Hands Project go to

Niagara College offers more than 111 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit