Marlene Street Resource Centre - Blueprint Law. Preston M, Angela K, Wayne R watermarkedSpark match! Preston Mandamin (left) from Blueprint Law is helping Marlene Street Resource Centre (Executive Director Angela and board member Wayne shown here) with their application to the Canadian Revenue Agency for charitable tax status.

The Centre is located in a Manitoba Housing development in St. Vital. They provide programs and services related to nutrition, health and wellness, and community building for children, teens and parents. The Centre is well established and is an important resource in the neighbourhood.

The match with Blueprint Law is the latest in a series of matches that Spark has made with Marlene Street Resource Centre, and is an example of how we accompany and support organizations as they grow and strengthen, bringing in short-term and specific expertise as needed to address challenges as they arise.

In the fall of 2012 we matched them with local non-profit consultant Jackie Hogue to advise the steering committee, made up of professionals working in other service organizations in St Vital. Jackie helped guide them on how to strengthen resident ownership and involvement in the Centre, and move toward a formal board structure which was more reflective of the community.

Their next two matches, with Spark volunteer extraordinaire Sue Hudson, were set up as mentorships. In a series of informal but frequent meetings, Sue helped the Centre to set up a volunteer program, as well as hire, support and advise a local resident in running the volunteer program. The strengthened program and community outreach resulted in much stronger ties to the local community and increased feelings of ownership of the Centre. A new board of directors came together last summer, with the strong community representation that the original group had envisioned.

Here at Spark we help local community development organizations form, grow, strengthen and occasionally even dissolve. It’s great to be engaged in all parts of their life cycles, but even better when we are involved in the transition from one phase to the next, and see their upward trajectory in capacity and impact.  It’s inspiring to know that our pro bono matches helped that happen.