Multifaceted support from SEED Winnipeg helps with savings and uncovering Indigenous heritage 

29 May 2019
Author: Wendy Abbott-Serroul
After graduating as a mature student this past year Sheena* began to give serious thought to her financial and professional future. Sheena reached out to SEED Winnipeg after discovering SEED had been helping her sister file taxes for several years. 

SEED is a non-profit agency that works to reduce poverty and help renew Winnipeg’s inner city. They do this by helping people start small businesses and save money for future goals. Among the many programs available, SEED also works in partnership with Indigenous community members and organizations. 

Based on her sister’s recommendation, Sheena made some inquiries, was impressed with the services offered and proceeded to take advantage of a course on money management. “The five-week course helped me with money management,” she says. “I learned so much about managing credit and debt, as well as obtaining ID and bank accounts. The teachers were awesome and the subject matter was totally relevant to my needs.”

Sheena also completed SEED’s Saving Circle— a program that helps low-income individuals and families save for needed assets while building money management skills. Participants receive $3 for every $1 they save. Two hundred and fifty dollars saved within a period of six months qualifies for $750 of matching funds for a total of $1,000 that is used to purchase an asset. Sheena was able to save the required $250 and with the matched money from SEED, she purchased a personal computer for herself and her daughter. “This will definitely help her do better at school and further her education, and I’ll be able to use the computer to help me find employment.”   
 
Looking to perhaps pursue a career in the mental health field or hair styling, Sheena is aiming to take a business administration course, which will offer her a bursary if she can establish her Métis ancestry. A first step and with SEED’s direct support, Sheena was able to obtain birth certificates for her and her children earlier this year. 

Next steps involve uncovering her ancestry and heritage - no small task as her mother and grandparents on her mother’s side are deceased, but with help from SEED she is receiving the necessary background checks. “There’s still more digging to do in that respect, but SEED is helping out with the research costs”.  “It’s like a real detective story,” Sheena smiles, “except I am the one doing the sleuthing!”

To that end, Sheena has examined government documents, looked through family mementos, and spoken to relatives. “SEED’s helped us so much,” says Sheena. “With the purchase of the computer, they’ve helped my daughter and I purchase something we couldn’t afford until now, and with their help in tracing my ancestry, they’re helping me obtain something I could never put a price on, whether I qualify or not.”  
 
Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg Inc. is a community economic development organization established to reduce poverty in Winnipeg. SEED Winnipeg is dedicated to building strong communities and increasing opportunities for people through financial empowerment programs and services.

To learn more about SEED Winnipeg, please visit www.seedwinnipeg.ca  
SEED Winnipeg (SEED) has partnered with Financial Counselling Services on Prosper Canada’s national Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs) project.   
 
  
*Name has been changed to protect client's identity  

THE AUTHOR

Wendy Abbott-Serroul is the Marketing and Communications Officer at Prosper Canada. She works closely with the entire organization to identify communications needs and supports the efforts to increase awareness and the profile of Prosper Canada.

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