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March 29, 2021

When I walked across the stage to accept my high school diploma years ago it was a surprise to everyone in attendance, including me.

Like many students, I struggled in school with marginal grades – supports for my style of learning were not easily accessible back then.  After graduation my beloved mother passed away and I found it increasingly hard to find focus and stay motivated.  I moved around a lot, had meaningless minimum wage jobs and lacked security or direction in my life. My gap year turned into a gap decade. When I was finally ready to go back to school, I didn’t have the necessary credits for admission to many post-secondary programs. But I found a supportive path at Red River College and was offered stepping stones towards a meaningful career –  I had found a home!

I was accepted into the Health Care Aide program and started to gain confidence in myself.  I had discovered that I could succeed at school and knew I wanted to go further. I took College Prep for Nursing to get my pre-requisites up to date, and finally I became a student in the Bachelor of Nursing program, proudly earning my degree in 2009. I could not have done this without the help of many people along the way.

I got my second chance – when you give to Red River College, you give people like me their second chance.

Attaining my degree set the foundation for my career in the ER, ICU and as a LifeFlight Flight Nurse – giving me the opportunity to impact people, save lives and grow into who I am today. Those experiences helped me become a Nursing Instructor at RRC – where I help students the way my instructors helped me – and land my first leadership role as a Clinical Resource Nurse at Health Sciences Centre ER.

Because of Red River College, I am in a role where I can empower students and nurses to change the lives of those we serve, even under the most difficult of circumstances. Looking back to where I started and where I am now brings tears of joy and pride knowing that my accomplishments have changed peoples lives.

Red River College set me on a path for a career I love.  The skills I gained and critical thinking through my schooling taught me that there is a lot of life to live.  As a nurse, you look after others, but you can easily forget to look after yourself.   It is important to take steps to nurture your soul. Hiking was my first step. It was likely the first time I did something just for me. It went from a hobby to launching the Hike Manitoba Project and writing and publishing TWO books – which has allowed me to share some of my favourite hikes with thousands of Manitobans and help build a stronger community.

My life is full because of the opportunities that opened up for me here at Red River College.  By investing in one person our community benefits and grows. Imagine the impact you would have by investing in many? I recently became a monthly donor to the College and launched a scholarship for nursing students. My decision to give back is an investment into our future.  Red River College is an institution that provides the support, guidance and inspiration students need to grow into the best versions of themselves.

I ask you to join me and support the lives of our students.

Red River College responds to urgent industry and community needs – as a nurse and nursing instructor during COVID-19, I’m proud to work alongside my peers on the frontlines. I’m proud to teach the next generation of students, because when they graduate they become the frontline workers of tomorrow.

Please give to Red River College today to make a difference in the lives of our students. Your gift helps to provide students with the technology, support, on-the-job training and mentorship they need to graduate with confidence. Students like me!

Together we can build a better future.


Jaime Manness
Bachelor of Nursing 2009