Big donation for child care
Jon Manchester - Mar 17, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Okanagan College Foundation kicked off its Sunflower Childcare Centre campaign with a half-million-dollar boost.

The $1.25-million campaign will help build an on-campus child care centre, part of a new student housing project at the college’s Kalamalka campus, planned to open in the fall of 2024.

A kickoff event March 1 featured students, volunteers and donors celebrating the project, with former college instructor Lloyd Davies and wife Janet Armstrong announcing their family’s $500,000 contribution.

“Time and again, I would have students missing class, missing labs, missing exams because they were struggling to get affordable, reliable child care,” Davies said. “It was an ongoing issue for student parents.”

“We hope to inspire the community to support more parents with young children to be able to attend post-secondary here in Vernon, and to benefit from the programs available at Okanagan College as they advance in their careers and contribute to the community.”

Sarina Parsons, a student parent, said she struggled to find child care while balancing her course schedule.

The centre “will allow parents to focus on their goals and aspirations while knowing their most precious little ones are being cared for in a loving and nurturing environment,” she said.

The 100-bed student housing project will be built on the east side of the college property, overlooking Kalamalka Lake.

The BC Childcare New Spaces Fund has committed $1.5 million to the centre.

The community campaign, now officially underway, aims to raise the remaining $750,000 required to complete the project and ensure it is fully equipped, including an outdoor play and learn space.

A recent City of Vernon report found 51% of local parents are on waitlists for child care and the typical wait time is two years.

All Get Involved Stories