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Newcomer kids get a head start on their school year with help from Emterra Environmental and The WRENCH

On hand for the cheque presentation for new bike helmets for WRENCH, were Geoff Heath, Mechanical Director of the WRENCH, Mike Pagtakhan, Deputy Mayor, City of Winnipeg and City Councillor, Point Douglas Ward, John Sitarek, Emterra Environmental and Marty Cielen, WRENCH Board Member.

For Canadian kids, starting each school year is synonymous with the excitement of getting new school books and supplies. But for students who are newcomers to Canada, starting school in a new country may not hold such exciting activities.

Today, Emterra Environmental and The Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (The WRENCH) teamed up to help make the first days of the new school year more welcoming for more than two dozen students who are newcomers from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Thailand, Nepal, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.  These youngsters are now enrolled at Winnipeg School Division’s Hugh John Macdonald School on Bannatyne Avenue.

Thanks to contributions from employees at Emterra Environmental in Winnipeg, under a “Tools for School” initiative, Emterra presented each of the newcomer children with a backpack filled with an assortment of new school supplies from binders to pencil cases.

“Getting off to a good start at the beginning of each school year is what every parent wants for their children. And for newcomer children, it’s perhaps even more important. The team at Emterra is delighted that they can play a small role in helping to make the transition just a little bit easier,” said Emterra’s Winnipeg Senior Manager John Sitarek. He also expressed his gratitude to the principal, Vinh Huynh, and teachers of Hugh John Macdonald School for setting up the presentation event.

In addition, the youngsters are being invited to participate in the WRENCH Earn-a-Bike program that gets them involved in restoring bicycles. At the end of the program, they get to keep the bikes. And to ensure they can ride their new bikes safely, at a special event that took place today, Emterra presented a $4,000 grant to WRENCH to ensure that each of the estimated 200 children who participate in the program this year – including the newcomer children – gets a new helmet.

“At The WRENCH, our mission is to ensure that every kid who wants a bike has one to ride. But as we all know, in Manitoba, you need to wear a helmet for safety’s sake. That’s where Emterra comes in. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to fulfil our mission. We’re very grateful to have Emterra Environmental on our team,” added WRENCH’s mechanical director, Geoff Heath.

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