I always love it when people from Winnipeg come to our city and are in awe of what we do here. Brandon is such a vibrant active community with out-of-the-box thinkers, dedicated people who have vision and can act. I think the key to our success lies in the fact that we appreciate that not one organization or individual can do it alone.
I look at three projects that I have been involved with recently. Last week, on Thursday, the Global Market was opened on the corner of Rosser and 12th Street. I have been involved on that committee since the beginning.
At the table, we had the Canadian Mental Health Association, City of Brandon, Brandon Economic Development, Brandon Literacy Centre, Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corp., Renaissance Brandon, the Women’s International Market and Westman Immigrant Services.
We all worked together, providing our time, specializations and resources to make this project work.
It was such a good feeling on Friday night at 6:30, driving down Rosser and seeing people out. Actually, it was hard to even find a parking spot! The whole feel of downtown Brandon was different. And this is what we wanted.
Last Friday, we had a ribbon- cutting ceremony at the STEPP (Solutions To Ending poverty Permanently) house. Again, this project involved partnerships between the City of Brandon, the provincial government, The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corp.
This home will provide a low income family with the opportunity for home ownership and the chance to build equity.
If anyone was around Princess Park last Saturday, I am sure they were enjoying the sights, sounds and flavour of the Multicultural Festival. Now an annual event in Brandon, this festival brought together several cultures to showcase their food and music.
But many hands are needed to make an event like this happen. The City of Brandon, along with the members of the Brandon Cultural Awareness Network worked together to make this festival a success.
Partnerships, working together, visioning for a common goal. This is what Brandon does so well. I have worked in organizations in other parts of the province and the concept of working together isn’t embraced.
Too many times, organizations take the stand that they are "competing" with each other, for funding or recognition. But that isn’t the case here. We have come to realize that funding opportunities are more abundant with strong partnerships and recognition is sweeter when its shared.
So, what’s in store for the future? Construction on the second STEPP house has already begun, planning and working for an expansion to the Global Market and the development of a Peace Park is in progress and many other cultural opportunities are being explored, including the return of the Global Village at the next Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival.
A journey always begins with a single step. But if we all join hands, great things can happen.
» Leslie Allen is the executive director of Westman Immigrant Services. Her column appears monthly.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 14, 2012