Walking to Learn: GenNext WRC Downtown Kitchener Walk

Waterloo Region is a collection of diverse and dynamic neighbourhoods. In the absence of opportunities to see and experience those neighbourhoods for ourselves, what we know of them is often shaped by what we read on traditional and social media. And it’s hard not to be influenced by those narratives, even when we recognize we aren’t getting the full picture.

That’s why GenNextWRC, a United Way Waterloo Region Communities initiative, plans to host a series of guided walking tours where young (and young-at-heart) professionals can explore local neighbourhoods for themselves, particularly those undergoing massive growth and change.

The first of these walks took place August 22nd, 2018 in downtown Kitchener. Guided by Christian Snyder, Community Ambassador at Smile.IO, John Neufeld, Executive Director at House of Friendship, and Nancy Bird, Senior Director of Community Investment at United Way Waterloo Region Communities, the conversation touched on everything from the area’s centuries-long history of innovation to dwindling church congregations, the need for more affordable housing, and the changing make-up of restaurants, arts & culture, and social services.

The next event in this series will include a meal at the Charles Street Men’s Shelter, an emergency shelter operated by House of Friendship, which United Way is proud to partner with and fund. “We want to welcome people into the shelter for a conversation about issues like poverty, homelessness and addictions,” said John Neufeld. “We were able to see some of the more visible aspects of these issues during the neighbourhood walk. This second event will allow us to dig deeper into the root causes.”

To stay up-to-date on upcoming events, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @GenNextWRC!