Giving students a break with creative fun

Melissa Hansen, CONTRIBUTOR

Rhonda Klippenstein learns how to thread her sewing machine with help from Sherry Gotts. THE PROJECTOR/ Melissa Hansen

Scattered across the room, tables with bins on top were full of multi-coloured fabrics, waiting to be cut and shaped into new creations. Peter Chadwick, 21, a civil engineering student at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, was taking his first crack at learning to sew. Chadwick was one of a handful of students and staff that attended the bag making workshop at RRC’s Indigenous Student Support Centre.

“You don’t often get the opportunity to just craft,” said Chadwick. “I just thought it’d be kind of cool to make a bag.”

As Chadwick measured and pinned the pieces of his new bag, others were sewing and ironing. Some were even playing with a puppy who stopped by for a visit.

“We want people to feel comfortable here,” said Cheyenne Chartrand, the wellness counsellor from the Exchange District campus. “We do nights like this to get people to try something new and also teach them how to produce something they need.”

The Indigenous Student Support Centre holds events throughout the year. Craft nights, healing nights, family nights — events that give people an opportunity to come together. Students who have younger siblings or children in their care are encouraged to bring them along. There is support and care offered when needed.

Chartrand and Sherry Gotts, the wellness counselor from NDC, led the bag making workshop. They both took the time to go around the room and give one-on-one instruction on how to measure fabrics, thread sewing machines, and iron bags.

The bag making workshop ran on March 15 and March 22. Chartrand says the first one had a few more people attend, but at this time of year it’s not unusual to only have a few stop by.

Keep an eye out for future events at