Sandy Hyman

My Story...

My father, Hymie Katz, arrived in Winnipeg in 1921 at age 11, to meet his father, Abraham. Hymie came from Romania along with his mother Betty, brother Joe and sister Sarah (Gillespie). They had been advised that Winnipeg was a good place to come.

In 1929, he met my mother, Rose Slotnikov, who grew up in Selkirk with her siblings, Sarah (Pelzner), Sam and Doris (Charach) and their parents, Sonja and Moishe, who ran a grocery store. Rose and Hymie dated during the 'Dirty 30's', married in 1936, and in 1940 purchased a grocery store on Chalmers Avenue in Elmwood. We lived next door. My father's sense of humour, my mother's shared values of hard work and open door invitations to family and customers, combined to make us an integral and well respected part of the community. Unfortunately over the years both my parents suffered from poor health and thus many of their dreams were not realized.

Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances much love was provided by Rose and Hymie to my older sister, Jocelyn (Maron), and younger brother, Jerry and myself. My home life was a major influence to my own path ... working and volunteering with people and organizations in Winnipeg's inner city, theatre, and within the Jewish community to help others realize their dreams. These are at the roots of my passion for human rights and ensuring the rights of people regardless of their diversity.

Elmwood was my first stomping ground. As a young teen it was difficult to move from the familiar friends and schools ... George V and David Thompson - to the Jewish neighbourhood on McAdam Avenue. Foreign and scary were common thoughts when I attended Luxton and later St. John's. However, the YMHA on Hargrave and especially the Starlights, the teen girls group who accepted my 'tough facade', offered me an active social life and lifelong friendships. In school I especially loved playing trombone and later was very proud of the first chair position I held in the Manitoba Youth Orchestra.

Volunteering has been a way of life for me. As a teen, I volunteered at the hospital, BBYO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Rainbow Stage. As an adult, I explored my passions and potential by volunteering with such diverse organizations as the Canadian Institute for the Blind, Consumers Association of Canada, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Social Planning Council, Coalition to Save the Elms, and the Women's Endowment Fund. Currently, I serve as President of Jewish Child and Family Service, co-chairing the 50th anniversary of JCFS gives me the opportunity to ensure a viable future for this vital community service.

I loved my political ventures. I was first elected Lady Stick of Social Work in 1967 after completing my B.A. and then earned my Masters of Social Work in 1969. From 1991 to 1995 I served on Winnipeg City Council and especially enjoyed working with many diverse constituents.

My chosen career has revolved around my zeal for 'making things better'. While still in university I began my social work career at Children's Aid Society, Faculty of Social Work. Later, I was employed at Age and Opportunity, Child Guidance Clinic as well as numerous contract positions. I am now with Winnipeg School Division Special Education Department.

In 1968, I married Murray Hyman and he has been an ideal partner and provided balance in my life. Murray is a chartered accountant. We have four sons: Jonathan and Jeffrey (twins born in 1972), Bryan (born in 1975), and Steven (born in 1979). We are so pleased to have a daughter-in-law now, Jeff married Elana Sasley in 2000. Currently all of our children are living in Winnipeg. Each of them is pursuing a career and has a strong sense of community while recognizing the value of Jewish tradition.

I am pleased to call myself an activist, ready to take risks to effect change for the better. Each task is taken on 'body and soul'. The counterbalance is the relaxation at our Winnipeg Beach cottage with long walks and spending time with family and friends. Murray and I have discovered the joys of cruising and we look forward to many more.

I am proud of how this community has evolved ... the Asper Jewish Campus is a wonderful place. I have learned it is one thing to work hard to preserve the programs offered by our organizations, but we need endowments to ensure their financial security. I believe if we work together and invest in Jewish organizations, our community can increase and swing into a new cycle of growth and renewal. I'm excited to be part of it.