Welcome to the University of Can

CanU is a Winnipeg-based charitable organization that inspires hope and confidence in the leaders of tomorrow through its out-of-school mentorship and educational enrichment program for youth in Grades 5-12. Throughout the year, CanU Kids participate in a wide range of educational experiences on post-secondary campuses and develop their nutrition, health, academic, social, and leadership skills. CanU programs are designed and led by university student volunteers who are honing their leadership and community service skills.

Who We Are

"Education is not filling a bucket, it is lighting a fire".

- W.B. Yeats, Irish Poet


Founded in 2010, CanU is a partner-based out-of-school program on the University of Manitoba campuses. We are over 500 Gr. 5-12 Winnipeg kids, over 500 post-secondary students, more than 20 corporate and community funding partners, more than 30 post-secondary departments and faculties, 40 Winnipeg schools, 50 programs, and two full-time employees. As an organization built upon mutually beneficial partnerships with a rich variety of complementary stakeholders, we are united by the dream that when a child experiences hope and confidence, the possibilities for that child are limitless.

What We Do

"Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit".

- E.E. Cummings, American Poet


In a nutshell, we inspire hope and confidence, empowering our kids to see possibilities and seize opportunities. How do we do it? Each week, students from across the City of Winnipeg are bussed to Manitoba post-secondary institutions where they are accompanied by mentors as they rotate through a variety of programs ranging from cooking in a state-of-the-art food lab to jamming in a Jazz band to caring for a patient in a nursing simulation lab to designing and building a robot. Through these experiences, our kids gain a sense of belonging in the post-secondary environment and are introduced to people and programs that ignite their imaginations and equip them to excel in school and life. As one Grade 7 student put it, “there are too many great opportunities at CanU. One week I want to be a pharmacist, the next week I want to be a doctor and the next week a dentist.”

Why It Matters

"The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination, and the energy to get started".

- Norman Cousins, American journalist


According to psychologist Charles Snyder, hopeful people are more able to conceptualize goals, develop the strategies to achieve those goals and to have the resiliency to overcome the obstacles that get in the way of them achieving those goals. Hopeful people are capable of achieving more while also experiencing better overall health, both psychologically and physiologically. Exposing young and brilliant minds to an environment for which their past experience might be limited means opening whole new worlds of possibility. A recent Boys and Girls Club study revealed that girls who are mentored are 2.5 times as likely to be confident in their ability to succeed in school and that boys who are mentored are 2 times as likely to consider school and learning as fun.

Hope is indeed the “energy to get started”, and for CanU that means providing a spark to ignite the minds of countless children and youth. We do that by connecting our kids to new worlds of mentors, learning and possibilities.

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