Connecting students and the community Niagara College event management and construction renovation technician students creating Hotel Dieu Shaver Marketplace

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GTA Construction Report staff writer

The Many Hands Project, now in its twentieth year, is a student driven renovation program that brings together students from Niagara College’s Event Management and Construction Renovation Technician program. This year the program has selected Hotel Dieu Shaver, a specialty healthcare facility focused on rehabilitation, complex care and geriatric services, as the recipient of its efforts.

Project committee chair Kathy Nitta says the program initially began with event management students who would work to plan small scale weekend projects. Over time that effort transformed. “From an online application, a committee involving faculty and students selects one non-profit organization from the Niagara Region and we take on one, or sometimes two smaller renovation or landscaping projects that align with what the students are learning.”

Nitta says the application includes details about who the organization is, what they do in the community and what they need. This year, starting with a zero dollar budget, the students will work to raise roughly $20,000, needed to “support the creation of Hotel Dieu Shaver’s Marketplace where therapists aim to rehabilitate patients by incorporating real world obstacles such as shopping, banking and dining out.”

The 31 event management students have already begun researching and planning March and April events and have made plans to connect with and engage community partners and contacts to begin the fundraising. Any funds not needed for the specific project will be put towards Hotel Dieu Shaver’s needed items wish list.

The construction students have also been making plans, developing floorplans and creating materials lists. “They will begin construction January 13 with a groundbreaking with the intent to move towards a reveal of the project on April 12,” says Nitta.

She says the project is a way for students to apply what they are learning, and to give back to the community in a concrete way.

The Many Hands Project is currently seeking community partners and contributions to support the effort. Nitta says the construction students will require significant materials and community support to make this 20th anniversary project a reality. For more information, visit https://manyhandsproject.wordpress.com.

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