Event helps kick poverty out of Winnipeg

On Sun. Nov. 12 from 5 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., come help MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program kick poverty out of Winnipeg! Enjoy a double bill screening of the classic action movies The “Karate Kid” and “Bloodsport”. The event promises to be a great time, for $10 per ticket, with popcorn, pizza, and raffle prizes available for purchase.

Hosted by MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program, the event supports The Y-Not? Inner-City Karate Program which provides free karate classes for Winnipeg’s inner-city. The karate program is led by third-degree black belt, Alan Taylor, with the assistance of senior brown belt Warren Hotomani. The classes take place at The University of Winnipeg Axworthy Health & RecPlex in downtown Winnipeg.

The charitable organization is providing tax deductible charitable receipts for donations over $20, which may be made online via Eventbrite or by cheque to: MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program Inc. Patrons can view and purchase tickets online through the Double Bill Movie Night Y-Not? Fundraiser event page on Facebook.

Get to The Park Theatre early and catch both films and a chance to win some great prizes.

About MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program

MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program began in 2002, when RB Russell English teacher, Brian MacKinnon, realized his students had few opportunities for positive after school recreation. When he asked one student how her summer was, her reply was, “Boring.” She and her sisters had little to do.

When MacKinnon asked what could be done to help out, the student responded, “I’d go to the Y, if my sisters could come too.” Mr. MacKinnon paid for their memberships that month, and when he discovered that his entire class was interested, he approached Knox United Church which raised money for more students’ memberships.

The program took off and the Winnipeg School Division Children’s Heritage Fund was able to offer a tax deductible receipt to donors. The community of Winnipeg rallied round.

Since then, The Y-Not? Program, which is now a registered charity, has sent thousands of youth and hundreds of families to the Downtown Y, effectively combating the effects of poverty, such as addictions, drugs, and gangs, through the promotion of health and fitness.

The program has expanded to the U of W Duckworth Centre, and the newest exciting development is a WTKO official karate dojo based out of the University of Winnipeg Axworthy Health & RecPlex, which offers free training, karate uniforms and belts, as well as grading opportunities, access to seminars, and tournaments.

Mackinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program also provides free YMCA-YWCA Memberships for Winnipeg School Division inner city students from grades 9 to 12 to support Phys. Ed. credit fulfillment.

The Y-Not? Program provides counselling on drugs and alcohol addictions, crime prevention, health issues and other related topics, as well as basic necessities such as food and clothing for impoverished families.


Brian MacKinnon is the program Founder and Director, with wife Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon as longtime program supporter. Board members include Ross Robinson of B.A. Robinson Co., exceptional businessman and philanthropist, and William T. Canon, Associate Professor and Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Finance at Queen’s University.

Margaret Eve MacKinnon has recently joined as Program & Development Assistant – this is her first fundraiser. Alan Taylor, 3rd degree black belt is Sensei for The Y-Not? Inner-City Karate Program, along with Warren Hotomani, brown belt and dojo Senpai.

Why is the event special?

Winnepeggers can come together to help kick poverty out of Winnipeg! The Double Bill Movie Night Y-Not? Fundraiser will be a nostalgic evening of classic ‘80s martial arts movies, starting with “The (original) Karate Kid” at 5:30 p.m. followed by “Bloodsport” at 8 p.m.

Grand raffle prizes include a Raspberry Pi set up to enable the winner to play such older video games as “The Karate Kid”, released in 1987 for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), and a custom made fire pit from the RB Russell metals shop.

Generous prize donations have been made through The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, RB Russell, Memory Express, Aveda Institute, Academy Lanes, Starbucks, Oh Doughnuts, Booster Juice, Moksha Yoga, Boston Pizza, Calabria Market, Chatters, Radiance Gifts, The Yellow Deli, Safeway, Superstore, and various local artists – and more!

Who will be at the event?

Brian MacKinnon and the Y-Not? team will be present at the event, as well as members of the karate community. Doors open at 5 p.m. There will be a brief introduction starting at 5:20 p.m. “The Karate Kid” is an all ages movie, and parental discretion is advised for “Bloodsport”.

Testimonial quotes

Carrie: “I really appreciate The Y-Not? Program and I’m totally grateful for all the help we receive from everyone involved. I’m very honored to be able to give my children the opportunity to learn and grow. I don’t think I would be able to have them in karate if it was not for The Y- Not Program due to cost. For that I’m very thankful.”

Analiza: “I don’t know how to express in words how very thankful I am that my son could join the Y-Not? group, and for Sensei Alan Taylor who patiently shows his dedication and passion to teach kids like mine.”

“My son has improved his physical and mental fitness, and has gained courage, humility and respect. He’s learned sportsmanship and how not to be impatient or depressed over losing in games and activities. He’s developed a spirit of fair play and teamwork. He missed his karate group mates when we went back home and he taught his playmates what he learned from Sensei Alan Taylor.”

“As a single mom, my son needs a father image to help with self-discipline…that’s the best contribution of karate and the Y-Not? Dojo and I believe that he can apply this in his life.”

Priscilla: The Y-Not? Karate Program gives opportunities to all; for those challenged with hearing loss it increases self-esteem. There is a sense of comfort in knowing that peers may struggle with fear or shyness in communicating. As for parents…well it’s free.”


Program & Development Assistant | MacKinnon's Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program Inc.

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