Winnipeg volunteer's winning pitch scores grant for Snowflake Place

Thanks to a winning pitch, Snowflake Place has more money to help young victims of abuse.

Six young people pitched Winnipeg Foundation to fund their favourite charity

Aliya Mrochuk, 24, right, won the Youth in Philanthropy alumni grand prize for her three-minute pitch for Snowflake Place. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Thanks to a young woman's winning pitch,  Snowflake Place has more money to help young victims of abuse.

Aliya Mrochuk, 24, won the $1,000 grand prize from the Winnipeg Foundation for her three-minute speech Wednesday night at the Youth in Philanthropy "pitch party" at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Snowflake Place offers a child-friendly space for children who have suffered sexual and physical abuse to give their police statement. 

In her pitch, Mrochuk integrated a personal story about a friend of hers who disclosed abuse to her several years ago. 

"Hannah bravely gives her story to our school counselor. That counselor asks her to pick up her trauma and give it to police. To pick it up and give it to CFS. To pick it up and give it to doctors. To pick it up and give it to court prosecutors," she said. 

"At Snowflake Place, our child-focused model hosts those disparate groups so that Hannah has to give her story … once."

Mrochuk has volunteered with Snowflake Place for two months and has been involved in Youth in Philanthropy (YiP) for a decade.

Three high school students and two other YiP alumni gave a three-minute pitch for their charity of choice before a panel of judges. 

Marshall Morrisseau, 18, won the $500 people's choice award based on audience votes for his pitch for Youth Parliament, an out-of-school program where youth get together in the legislature to have mock parliament sessions, which he says was "life-changing" for him.

Marshall Morrisseau, 18, won the audience choice award for his pitch on how Youth Parliament changed his life and inspired his goals for the future. (Travis Golby/CBC)

"I'm really passionate about Indigenous education, Indigenous leadership and the political stability of Indigenous communities across Canada, really. My lifelong goal is to hopefully have a framework created by which Indigenous communities all across Canada can speak one-to-one with the federal government instead of as subordinates," he said.

Tim Unger, 18, won a $1,000 grant for Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network, a space that offers programming, language classes and work experience to new Canadians.

Each of the participants belong to the Winnipeg Foundation's Youth in Philanthropy program, offered in 27 local high schools and three community organizations. Participants get together a few times a month to decide on charities to fund with dollars from the Winnipeg Foundation.

"They're passionate about the work that these organizations do in our community and they're willing to get up in front of a room full of people and tell the story about these organizations," said Megan Tate, director of community grants for the Winnipeg Foundation.  

She added the non-profits don't often have the resources to market themselves.

Tim Unger, 18, won a $1,000 grant for Mosaic Family Resource Network with his pitch. (Travis Golby/CBC)

"It's also a good opportunity to get out the stories of these community organizations and the great work they're doing."

Experts at Snowflake Place are interviewing youth as part of a lengthy criminal RCMP investigation into physical and sexual abuse in connection with a foster home in Garden Hill First Nation between 2011 and 2017. Winnipeg police say Snowflake Place is their first choice, rather than using officers at the police station, to gather statements from all child victims of abuse, but they need more resources to meet the demand for service.

The money for Snowflake Place will go toward the creation of a case for support for donors so that they can expand, said Mrochuk. 

Winnipeg Foundation receives donations from the community, which are pooled and invested in permanent endowment funds. Each year a portion of the endowment funds are allocated to grants for community organization.

The pitch party marked the 20th anniversary of the Youth in Philanthropy program.