Bringing more people into the Mamidosewin Centre was the goal behind a free breakfast Jan. 13.
But this was not a single event. Breakfast with Kane is held every Wednesday through the semester.
Kane Dumont is a second-year student in the social service worker. The breakfast is funded by the centre.
But Dumont – who is also a peer support worker at the centre – said it wasn’t just about a free meal. He hopes to attract more students to the community with his breakfasts. He will also use his social service work skills to try to recognize students that need help and refer them to the right services at the centre and the college.
The Mamidosewin Centre provides cultural programs and services – Such as academic, career and personal support – to both aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.
Melina Mandoshkin, a first-year library information and technician student, has used the centre since the start of her program.
During the first week of school, Mandoshkin went to the centre for help with bursaries from Tony Mendes who is an aboriginal student success specialist. Since then she has met with many of the staff such as Jackie Tenute who is an aboriginal counsellor. “Jackie is just someone you can talk to,” said Mandoshkin.
“She has gone through all the steps,” Phil Commonda said. He is the aboriginal events coordinator at the centre. “She is definitely the epitome as to why we do this.”
The centre is open to everyone, not just aboriginals. Commonda said that the centre has already seen a lot of new aboriginal and non-aboriginal students since September who have come to hang out and use the centre’s resources.
“It’s a place of welcome, and everybody’s welcome,” said Mandoshkin. “It’s just a place where you can come and hang out.”
In addition to the caring staff, Commonda said that the community is very supportive, especially this year.
“I like it because it’s actually kind of quiet, because it’s a smaller space,” Mandoshkin said. The centre can also be a really great place to study. “If you go to the library, where the library is where it’s supposed to be quiet, it’s really loud and rambunctious and it’s packed.”
Dumont is confident in Breakfast with Kane’s success from the amount of students showing up. He admitted that a previous project – a men’s drum circle – which was successful initially, didn’t have the numbers the project was looking for and was cancelled after a few months. “It’s unfortunate,” he said. “Some work out, some don’t.”
Dumont said he will just focus on waffles for now, but plans to make different breakfasts in the weeks to come. Eventually, he also plans to have students cook with him. He hopes the free breakfast will encourage students to take advantage of the services the centre provides.