WCWRC was built and is sustained by remarkable women. As a way to honour their contributions, every year we present the Women of Distinction awards, which recognize women who have gone above and beyond expectations in their contributions and commitment to the wellbeing of our Centre, our values, and our community.
BOARD: Traute Klein
Traute immigrated to Winnipeg from Germany as a teenager
in the 1950s. She ended up making her home in the West End, and became a long-time volunteer and participant of WCWRC. In 2010, she joined our board and served as a board member
Traute brought her wealth of knowledge of the
neighbourhood to the board and kept present the needs of
the local community that the Centre aims to serve in all the
work of the board. After resigning from the board, Traute
continued to be an active volunteer, especially in the garden,
where she loved to get her hands dirty and help community
grow food sustainably.
She also spent time volunteering at St. Matthews Maryland Community Ministry and Spence
Neighbourhood Association. She loved to travel, paint, write,
and play music and sing. Traute passed away in 2021, and is
missed by all her friends here at WCWRC.
STAFF: Lisa Spring
Lisa joined our staff team in 2011 as our first ever Parent Mentor. Supporting women as they navigated the Child and Family Services system was a passion for Lisa and out of the Parent Mentor program, she established Braids of Strength, a network of agencies that support parents.
Later Lisa became our Director of Housing and continued to mentor both staff and community on being strong advocates for themselves. She led the research and development of Connecting the Circle: A Gender-Based Strategy to End Homelessness in Winnipeg, which is now used as a benchmark in women’s housing work in Manitoba.
In her final role as Director of Programs, Lisa worked to further develop the management team, with kindness and wisdom. Lisa left the staff team in 2019, but is still spoken of fondly by all who worked with her and we can still hear her laugh at the lunch table.
COMMUNITY: Vicki Categas
Vicki is a Medicine Wheel teacher, breast cancer survivor, Sixties’ Scoop survivor, and a warrior.
When she moved to Winnipeg from Brandon in the early 2000s as a single mom with two little boys, she felt lost. She needed guidance, companionship, computer skills, and emergency food to get by until payday.
She came to WCWRC in 2004, when we were in the basement of 583 Ellice, and it changed her life. The Centre helped her grow and she found a space where she belonged. We gave her and her children hope. Vicki started volunteering right away, giving back to the community that was supporting her. She volunteered first a receptionist and then a programming coordinator, bringing in many programs.
Seventeen years later, she’s still giving back. She is our Knowledge Keeper Jojo’s volunteer assistant, helping provide ceremony for the community. She is so grateful for everything WCWRC has done for her, especially fellow Women of Distinction Marianne Cerilli and Erika Wiebe. And we’re so grateful for everything she has done for us.