Back in June, we highlighted the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) through a blog post about a new initiative that was sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Mask Project.
To date, the RWB has donated approx. 2,900 masks to organizations and partners in Winnipeg’s North End community. For many, this project has provided a sense of relief and comfort knowing that their community members and staff will be protected against this virus.
“It has greatly impacted the community in a positive way, as many of the low-income community members wouldn’t have had a mask to wear. We give each person two masks so they can wash one and wear the other” – North Point Douglas Women’s Centre
When wearing masks became mandatory in all indoor public places, a deep concern was felt in the community, knowing that many members would likely not have access to disposable or reusable masks.
“The masks that have been donated have impacted the community by providing protection for people who are vulnerable and unable to afford masks” – North End Women’s Centre
“The masks went very quickly as we are giving two out to each person. People are appreciative of the masks and we can never have enough as the need continues to grow, especially with the city going into code red” – North Point Douglas Women’s Centre
With each mask delivery, executive directors of the organizations in the community offered the RWB and Boldness team a brief tour and overview of their facilities. For an organization that holds the value of relationships at its core, this project shed light on an unfamiliar sector despite being located near the city centre.
“The Mask Project demonstrated the need to move our organization to improving our presence in the community and for us to build relationships beyond our traditional circles. This has been one of the most surprising and meaningful projects I have worked on and revealed to me the astonishing number of service organizations and social enterprises operating within Point Douglas and the North End” – Royal Winnipeg Ballet
The Mask Project has expanded beyond its initial purpose and the RWB has been able to connect with a number of community organizations, met through this initiative, and work with them to find other meaningful ways to support the community.
“One example is our exploration with BUILD Inc. about a paid work placement for some of their students at the RWB. We build scenic elements for our shows at our scenic facility which a few blocks away from BUILD Inc’s campus. We are also looking at ways to increase participation within our programs and attendance at our shows to families and individuals who may not have access. Working with community service organizations and social enterprises to identify these barriers and find community driven solutions will be crucial” – Royal Winnipeg Ballet