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  • Writer's pictureLiz Duerholt

Week 1. That's a wrap.

Leading up to our opening last Tuesday, there was a lot of anticipation and not a lot of sleep. Luckily there WAS coffee.

We've been preparing for this day since we got accepted into the 2nd cohort at ATB X in February 2017. Through ATB's business accelerator program we were grateful for the opportunity to work with industry experts, enthusiastic and supportive mentors and the ATB Xers with whom we shared the space. We also want to thank our amazing board of directors, industry partners, mentors, youth advisers and supportive family members and friends that have given us the momentum to turn this idea into reality. Thank you for all that you've given, Redefin'd wouldn't be launching without you.

Redefin'd is a non-profit that provides a compassionate workplace to young people with barriers to employment. We use meaningful work projects and leadership opportunities to connect participants to purpose and the internal motivation to change their lives.

Last week we officially hired 5 young people and hosted our first three-day orientation focused on bringing the group together to co-create the cultural foundation of Redefin'd. If there was anything we learned from Homeboy it was that we need to listen, and then listen some more. So that's exactly what we did. As a group we explored common values, envisioned the future of the Redefin'd brand and discussed ideas for meaningful work projects over the summer.

We engaged the group in conversations about values, starting with an exploration of how we all didn't want to be treated in a work space, by friends or in life. Then together we came up with a list of values to steer us away from those negative spaces.

We also explored the meaning of community building, established house rules for the team and collectively decided that we would henceforth be known as the "Redefin'd Krew."

Our orientation was heavy on brainstorming so we made sure to escape into the sunshine at every opportunity. We introduced the O.G. Krew to the garden, sampling tarragon, mint and chives and then we toured the bounty of cherries and honeyberries ripening in the orchard. We also had an unexpected delivery of a top-bar beehive which was a cool surprise. Many thanks to Dexter over in Montgomery for getting us one step closer to becoming Calgary's next urban beekeepers! With any luck, we will have a lot more to come on that project.

Lastly, we introduced the O.G. Krew to the communal table. Should you follow us on any form of social media, you'll quickly learn that food is a central theme in our day. Making food from scratch and eating together is how we build community. It ties directly into our values of trust, safety and collaboration. There's nothing that brings people together like food, and by day two we had people in the garden scouting out fresh mint for our smoothies. Yes, food is magic.

Thanks for joining us! We made it through our first week of excitement and pre-opening jitters and now that we have that behind us and it's time for the real work to begin.

Liz Duerholt

Founder and Executive Director


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