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Why I Give: Dr. Jaime Cidro

Wed. Nov. 27, 2019


My name is Dr. Jaime Cidro and I am an Anthropology Professor and the Director of the Master’s of Development Practice, Indigenous Development program and a Canada Research Chair in Health and Culture. I came to the University of Winnipeg in 2011 from Ontario, and I have three children aged four to eleven. I focus my research primarily on Indigenous families and social determinants of health, with a specific emphasis on culture-based interventions.


Photo courtesy of Dr. Cidro

Why did you decide to support UWinnipeg?

I decided to support the UWinnipeg, and specifically Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre because I have been observing and participating in the work that they do with not only children and families in the surrounding neighbourhood but also with Indigenous faculty, staff and students. My kids have engaged in Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre programming for many years. My son first took a lacrosse camp over the winter break in 2013 and ended up playing lacrosse for four years after that. My daughter attends powwow club on Tuesday nights (although she mostly hops, rather than dances).

I see the programming at Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, like the language programs and the Indigenous STEAM camps as an important connector. They connect the wider community to the campus community. They connect Indigenous faculty, staff and students to the cultural activities and the local Indigenous community. It provides pathways for young people to university life by making their experiences on a campus positive and creates a sense of belonging. Wii Chiiwaakanak is a special place and I want to support it.

Why do you give, and what motivates you?

I give because I want the UWinnipeg to be a place for everyone. We are right in the heart of the West End. This is a place where Indigenous people have gathered and continue to gather. It’s a place where many newcomers first come to live and learn what it’s like to live in Canada. We are surrounded by rich cultures from near and far.

What motivates me to give is when I see the young girls in the Sacred Seven program who are teaching my four-year-old daughter to jingle dress dance in powwow club on Tuesday nights. I’m motivated to give by seeing pathways opening up for young people who participate in Wii Chiiwaakanak programming who are inspired to come to the UWinnipeg to work or study. I also know that engaging in cultural activities promotes resiliency and self-esteem in children and youth. I am interested in seeing the positive health, social and educational outcomes for the kids involved in the program.

I’m proud to support a program that is so culturally responsive and connected to the community.

What would you say to a colleague or peer who is considering donating?

I would tell my colleagues and peers to think about the importance of connections. The UWinnipeg opens non-traditional paths for many people who may have not previously considered university as a place for them. A lot of people will recognize that feeling of a lack of connectedness. I encourage them to support the connections that the UWinnipeg has built through Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre.

Make An Impact

The 2019 Campus Campaign is well underway, and your support helps The University of Winnipeg remain a leader in community learning and providing access to education. Please consider making a gift to one of the following President's Priorities for 2019:

The Opportunity Fund

The Opportunity Fund provides hundreds of students each year with funding essential to the pursuit of their educational and career goals. It was created to make it possible for youth to dream big. The fund provides assistance to those who face financial barriers that may otherwise prevent them from attending university.

Library Upgrade and Expansion

The UWinnipeg “Library in the Sky” has served the campus for over 40 years. During this time, the building has aged, the student population has quadrupled, and the digital age has significantly changed the course of pedagogy, research, and library practice. The path toward library renewal began in 2015 when Dr. Annette Trimbee called upon the UW community to “ensure that our library, as the heart and soul of our academy, continues to be a hub for research, collaboration, and learning.”

The campus echoed this intention in both the Integrated Academic & Research Plan (IARP) and Asset & Campus Enhancement (ACE) consultations. In late 2017, a small team was formed to explore approaches to defining a vision and pathway forward for a UWinnipeg Library of the 21st Century.

The goal is to create a learning commons with enhanced space that preserves collections of all kinds, including archival space for the University’s Gallery 1C03, Archeology and United Church archives. Library redevelopment would include consideration for social sharing space, community space, support for faculty, a knowledge repository for faculty output, visual impact, and the ability to preserve materials in a responsible way.

There is also a need to improve safety and address the lack of physical accessibility. Repairs and maintenance issues are also significant.

Work-Integrated Learning

Work-integrated learning builds workforce capabilities, as well as the skills and individual prospects of students as members of the community and Canada’s labour force.

In an interconnected global economy, a diverse, well-educated, and highly skilled workforce is critical not only to innovation, productivity, and economic growth but also to maximizing human potential. Work-integrated learning is strongly endorsed by universities as well as employers and community partners as an important component of the overall student experience. Many UWinnipeg students take part in co-op programs, internships, field placements, or some other form of experiential learning or “work-integrated learning”. Our goal is to expand students’ access to experiential opportunities by offering new programs within a variety of departments.

How Do I Become Involved?

By making a gift or pledge

All gifts are tax deductible. For more information about the tax advantages of charitable giving, click here [PDF].