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Supporting And Celebrating Your Community With The Mutt Movement

The pandemic had a lot of challenges. For some, it could have been a sense of isolation. For others, there are no support systems around them. One group is trying to help out where they can and bring people together. 

The Mutt Movement celebrates community and encourages people to get involved and volunteer. This winter, the group of “misfits” with diverse backgrounds decided to make a difference by doing some service work around the city in preparation for the winter. They accomplished this by supplying items where they could, such as food, diapers, or winter clothing. The group also helped shovel driveways for seniors or those with disabilities. All of these were ways to help those struggling through the winter. 

Hayden La Riviere, the co-founder of the Mutt Movement, says when they first started, the vision of supporting the great institutions and organizations already in place in Winnipeg and never expected to grow beyond an online community movement. 

“Our group, we’re there to support the non-profits in the city now. How we do that is we help with donations, we gather donations from folks online. We look online, on Instagram, and generally, these non-profits will release these wishlists. We’ll look at these wishlists, pick out items we can afford in our budget and help support them that way.”

Having studied to become a teacher, La Riviere sat down and realized they wanted more from life, a desire to have an impact. “Not that teaching isn’t community work and service work, but I was searching for more.” Everything started when La Riviere felt inspired to put the word “Mutt” on a hat, reclaiming the word the bullies used back in their youth. The word has become something more, a vision for better things.

“I was already giving back in what little ways I could. I figured instead of going down the path of being in a classroom and doing that whole gig. Maybe I’ll hold off on it for a while longer and pursue this other opportunity. The idea was to not be like an old man, bitter, sitting in a classroom wondering why I didn’t do that thing I wanted to do.”

That opportunity was Mutt and uniting with others who felt they didn’t fit into the boxes that others ascribed to them in society. They’ve come together to support their communities and celebrate the cultural and ethnic diversity which is Canada. Part of that celebration is highlighting the stories of exceptional individuals here in Winnipeg, stories they share on their Instagram. Although it wasn’t shared online, La Riviere had a chance encounter with an individual whose story exemplifies what Mutt stands for. Meeting a young girl only in passing, La Riviere learned she was born and raised in the Philippines before coming to Canada. Most interesting is that her great-grandparents are from India. 

“She speaks fluent Punjabi and fluent Tagalog. It’s just perplexing because you look at someone and think they’ll speak like this. Her father has a Filipino accent, but he looks ethnically Indian.”

These stories of individuals who don’t fit that mould stand out in La Riviere’s mind of how unique and diverse the world is and what inspires the Mutt Movement to help out where they can and inspire others to get involved. Not only are you helping others, but you never know the opportunities or friendships you may make when connecting with the people around you. La Riviere says with the challenges we’re seeing today, the only way to make a difference is to build connections, support each other, and become a catalyst for change.

“If we really want to be the generation that facilitates that change, we have to get our boots on the ground and start.”

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

Community Focus: Manitoba Filipino Seniors Group Promoting well-being among both the young and elderly members of the community while preserving Filipino culture is a key aspect of the Filipino Seniors Group of Winnipeg (FSGW). FSGW hosted the first Seniors Sports Fest last March, featuring popular games, including pool, darts, chess and Filipino Sungka. The efforts promoted socialization,Continue Reading

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