My name is Weronika Michalska. I am a Sponsored Campaign Representative for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, where I help support local organizations run their fundraising campaigns. As I have recently moved to Edmonton, and have never heard of the Engineering Challenge, I was eager to experience the day first hand.
On Friday, September 18, 2015, I attended the 10th Annual Engineering Challenge, where I witnessed a level of compassion and community spirit that left me truly inspired. Volunteers transformed the empty backyard of Northstar Apartments, a transitional 62 unit building, into a functional, safe, community space with a playground, raised garden beds, a cold frame, a new deck, and picnic tables.
It was astounding to see so much accomplished in such a short period of time. I was amazed at the level of teamwork and collaboration from the volunteers; most of whom were strangers to one another until the morning of the Engineering Challenge. I spent most of the day trying not to get run over by hard working volunteers with wheelbarrows, chainsaws, and hammers!
My favorite moment was when Don, the resident gardener, was given gifts of garden tools, fertilizer and seedlings for the raised garden beds from the participating companies and the United Way. Don accepted the gifts on behalf of all the residents and the tenants started planning community meals around the variety of vegetable seedlings that had been gifted!
This year’s Engineering Challenge project was the largest one to date. Even in a hard hit economy, a record number of 75 volunteers and 18 companies from the engineering sector selflessly came together to improve the lives of the Northstar residents in this 10th year of the challenge. Countless hours of planning, thousands of dollars of equipment, and a multitude of materials were donated to make this project come together.
In addition, over $11.5 million dollars has been raised by the engineering community, to date, from workplace campaigns. Funds that all go towards creating pathways out of poverty in the Alberta Capital Region. This was a truly unique and inspiring experience and I wouldn’t hesitate, given the opportunity, to take part again, in the Engineering Challenge Day of Caring!
*A BIG thanks to all of the participating companies and sponsors that made the Engineering Challenge Day of Caring a huge success!