From left, Glen Bolivar, Matthieu Denis, Badri Hersi and Amanda Earle are part of the recent partnership between Algonquin and BottleWorks. The partnership is meant to help support the at-risk youth in Ottawa who are part of Operation Come Home


Algonquin’s School of Hospitality and Tourism has recently agreed to a partnership with BottleWorks – a part of Operation Come Home – in an effort to help the at-risk youth in Ottawa.
Glen Bolivar, culinary technician and part-time teacher, was tasked with finding a way to organize the loading dock of the H-building where there is usually a pile-up of recyclables and it was causing a problem with fruit flies.
“It started with necessity,” said Bolivar. “We needed to somehow recycle the alcohol containers from Restaurant International, so good old Google supplied me with BottleWorks.”
BottleWorks is a part of Operation Come Home, a non-profit organization. It is a social enterprise that employs at-risk youth to assist with the empty bottle collection from local Ottawa restaurants, bars, hotels, condominiums, conference facilities and now, Algonquin.
Having been an at-risk youth himself, this project struck Bolivar close to home.
“If BottleWorks would have been available when I was a kid, things could have been different,” said Bolivar.
The BottleWorks supervisor, Matthieu Denis, agrees.
“It’s more like a family than a job,” said Denis.
He gets to teach youth life skills. He teaches them how to act and how to present themselves in a more relaxed environment than different types of jobs. But, at the same time he says that the youth often teach him things, too.
Denis and his employees help and motivate each other and it helps them build their self-confidence. He said it’s very rewarding.
“It was truly amazing to partner up with Algonquin,” said Denis. “It just means that we’re one step closer to employing another youth or getting repairs on the van or just having extra funds.”
Denis’ employees were excited about the new partnership, too.
“We’re used to going to restaurants, bars and condos but we’ve never had a school,” said Amanda Earle, an employee of Denis’. “That just shows so much possibility – it’s an awesome partnership but it’s an amazing opportunity.”
Bolivar said BottleWorks answers all of the college’s needs. He thought that it would be a really good thing for the college to get involved in and it’s for a good cause that he holds close to his heart.