Two commercial tenants in Avenue Living Communities’ Viking Apartments are making a significant difference in the North Central Regina neighbourhood.
North Central Hacker Dojo and White Pony Lodge are passionate about the community and both non-profit organizations are actively working on improving it through two unique, but different, initiatives they have launched.
North Central Hacker Dojo’s mission is to cultivate the untapped potential in the neighbourhood through a dojo, which is a place where the culture of learning and community brings like-minded “nerds” together to develop their skills, accomplish goals and inspire each other toward greatness.
Aaron Hampton, executive director, says the project started in March 2018.
“We facilitate computer training through certifications and game development and things like that. It’s a community computer lab. Computer resources, technical resources and training to the community,” says Hampton, of the non-profit organization.
Industry professionals from the tech sector at the dojo work with the youth and young adults of Regina to mentor and train a new generation of tech-savvy individuals who will be steeped in a community mindset and ready to take on life’s challenges, adds Hampton.
Through the organization’s efforts and support, the community is being lifted as a whole. North Central Hacker Dojo provides vital information technology training to facilitate employment and life skills in North Central.
“It’s not just technical training. It’s for economic uplift, providing job opportunities and training that lead to careers and job opportunities. We’re also plugged into some startup accelerator networks that help people get businesses started for entrepreneurship,” explains Hampton.
White Pony Lodge is a non-profit, community-based organization which was born out of the #EndTheViolence campaign, developed and created by community members of North Central.
Its goal is simple: White Pony Lodge wants to help make Regina’s North Central neighbourhood safe.
Leah O’Malley, a board member of the organization, says White Pony has been operating since 2016.
“We run weekly patrols every Friday and Saturday night, both for community outreach and to remove dangerous items from streets and alleyways in North Central, picking up needles and drug paraphernalia. We report dangerous locations or unsafe things in the community for the city to deal with,” says O’Malley.
“We have some basic first-aid training, just in case, and more often what we do is connect people with services that might help them.”
The organization’s board members and the people who walk each week with the group are all volunteers, and funding comes from the community and businesses in the area.
“Our mission statement is a safe and connected community,” says O’Malley.