Flower art fights cancer
Jon Manchester - Jan 15 - Get Involved

Image: Laurie Koss

A Kelowna artist who’s had her work featured on Canada Post stamps is putting her paintbrush to work to raise funds for colorectal cancer research.

Laurie Koss painted “Gillian’s Flower” for good friend Gillian White.

The painting is one of a collection of 22 from her solo art show, Pansy, which came to be dedicated to White, a five-year survivor of colorectal cancer.

All proceeds from the sale of prints and greeting cards support the BC Cancer Foundation’s work to support advancements in colorectal cancer research.

So far, the effort has raised more than $3,000.

“Gillian and I would like to … create more awareness around this deadly disease that is curable if caught early enough,” said Koss.

“The available screening practices are underused in our community because people are either unaware of them or don’t bother getting them done. I alone have known three people in our city diagnosed too late in the past six months.”

Koss’ works are on display at Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna.

Previously, her works were featured on Canada Post’s celebrated Flower Series stamps.

Cheryl Eedens
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 15 - Got the Edge

Name: Cheryl Eedens

What business or organization are you involved with? 
Vernon Vintners

What is your role with that organization? 

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? 
Our beautiful backyard, all the lakes and parks that we can use anytime, and of course all the amazing wineries we have around us . I have travelled a fair amount and theres not many places that compare to what we have here .

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? 
I would have lunch with my dad and my family . My dad passed when I was very young and I would love for him to meet my husband and kids and just talk.

What’s your go-to happy place? 
Going for a walk and just just letting my mind go wherever it wants and enjoying the outsoors .

What are you most proud of? 
My family, my kids and my business Vernon Vintners.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? 
Traveling the world: Hawaii, Australia, France, Holland and Greece.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
We went to a wild game banquet a few times and I had couger and bear meat.

Latest movie or book: I just watched the movie Bad Moms on the plane to Dallas with my girlfriend and we laughed so hard half the plane turned around to stare at us.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? 
My family and friends.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? 
I would spend it with my family in our kitchen cooking and eating and drinking amazing wine.

Epic flight up and away
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 12 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed Wings 1 on the tarmac in California.

A charity flight spearheaded by a Kelowna pilot has nearly completed the first leg of a 20-country, 60-day journey.

Dave McElroy and Give Hope Wings partners took off from Kelowna on Jan 2, bound for the United States, and then on to Mexico.

“We will arrive in Panama on Friday, marking the first leg of the trip,” said McElroy. “We took off from Kelowna in a snowstorm, but it has been blue sky flying for the rest of the trip, and we are meeting some very interesting people when we land,” he added.

That’s translated into lots of social media hits, but, so far, not an increase in donations.

Give hope wings has raised $480,000 of its $500,000 goal.

The money will go to support charity flights for Canadians to get to health care. Roughly four flights a day by the charity originate from YLW.

NOYFSS is the big winner
Josh Winquist - Jan 11 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

It was a big win for the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society at the Civic Saturday night.

The organization netted more than $23,000 at the final Junior hockey game celebration.

Dean Francks from NOYFSS said the organization is accustomed to putting on large fundraisers, but the event surpassed his expectations.

“We have never done something like this before. It was a unique one of a kind.”

Francks said he expects the total from Saturday’s event to climb a bit higher as they are still waiting for the jersey auction, which is still active until Jan. 15.

As part of a send off to the Vernon Civic Arena, a throwback game/ fundraiser was held. The main event featured a Junior A hockey game between the Vernon Vipers and the Prince George Spruce Kings.

“The event was great,” said Francks. “It was a chance for us to pay tribute to, what I believe is, one of the greatest buildings in our community.”

From Y basics to trainer
Contributed - Jan 10 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

Over a year ago, Harley Lockhart struggled with simple stretches, now he is taking his TRX Fitness Instructor training at the age of 70. His inspiring health journey demonstrates the difference that regular physical activity can make over the course of a year.

“The impact that fitness classes have had on my life is substantial,” reports Harley Lockhart, 70-year-old retiree and soon to be fitness instructor. “I no longer huff and puff walking to the mailbox and it doesn’t take as much energy to get out of the chair. I really don’t feel my age.” Like many others, Harley struggled at the beginning of his fitness journey. Over a year ago he attended his first fitness class at the YMCA of Okanagan and had difficulty performing simple stretches.

“I was horrified with how badly my balance had deteriorated with age,” remembers Lockhart. “That first YMCA ‘Stretch and Roll’ class really opened my eyes and motivated me to stick with a fitness routine. Now I can put my socks on standing on one foot.” Harley’s story is an inspiration for anyone looking to begin an active routine. With help from the Kelowna Family Y he was able to come full swing, attending classes that challenged him throughout his upwards progression of ability levels.

“A year ago, my fitness regime consisted of fighting the jets in the hot tub,” jokes Lockhart. “Now I participate in TRX and yoga classes three times a week. Thanks to the YMCA, I have been able to drastically improve my balance, stabilize my weight and increase my energy levels.”

The YMCA of Okanagan offers a variety of classes for all fitness levels, from triathletes to cardiac rehab patients. A charity dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community, the Y offers a supportive and accepting community at all three of their health centres.

For the month of January, the Y is offering a reduced introductory rate for new members of $20 for your first month. To learn how the YMCA can help you achieve your fitness goals, and to view all the benefits of membership, visit ymcaokanagan.ca.

Stuart Lang
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 10 - Got the Edge

Name: Stuart Lang.

What business or organization are you involved with? Smile Cycle Tours.

What is your role with that organization? Owner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? In the Okanagan it’s all about getting outside and being active. I love that about where we live and it’s part of why I started Smile Cycle Tours.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I’d catch up with my late mom, and tell her all about the wonderful modern family we’ve since evolved into after my father remarried. She’d smile.

What’s your go-to happy place? In the mountains all around us, or in the lake at our feet.

What are you most proud of? Starting Smile Cycle Tours in  four months, and the never-give-up attitude I’ve learned over the years which helps me push through adversity.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Try a beer from every craft brewery in B.C.;
-Restore a few collector cars with my dad;
-Host a rockin’ family reunion at the Kelowna Forum.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I’m open to trying all sorts of foods, but there was a time where I was totally weirded out; I ate a spoiled lemon-filled croissant in a small town in southern Italy, needless to say it took me a while to give croissants a second chance.

Latest movie or book: You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Stretch Armstrong – who was tragically overstretched before lunch on Christmas.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Having an outdoor BBQ with my family, and the love of my life Marissa.

Thousands raised at Apex
Chantelle Deacon - Jan 08 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The 4th Annual Winter Classic Hockey Jamboree raised thousands in Support of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The event took place from Jan. 4 to 7 at Apex Resort near Penticton.

Hockey players aged 9 to 10 competed on the outdoor rink.

All the participants, players, parents and organizers came together to raise $26,462.75.

The host team from Kelowna was joined by teams from Penticton, Spokane, Burnaby Winter Club, Seafair (Richmond) and the North Shore Winter Club.

This event started 4 years ago and has taken more momentum every year, raising respectively $10,000, $17,000, $24,000 and now $26,462.75 for a total of over 77,000 in four years.

YES Project raises $1M
Colin Dacre - Jan 05 - Get Involved

Image: YES Project

The Penticton YES Project is one-third of the way towards a $3M goal to help fund a youth centre in the community.

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen announced Thursday it had eclipsed the million dollar mark just 30 days after formally launching its fundraiser.

“Penticton is a very generous community,” said Judy Lloyd, fundraising chair for the campaign. “We obviously aren’t done yet, but being 1/3 of the way to our $3 million goal after 30 days is fantastic.”

The Community Foundation is taking possession of 501 Main Street on Jan. 15 and is in design meetings with nonprofit youth-focused tenants that are eager to move in.

“It’s also amazing to have Foundry Penticton as an anchor tenant on the main floor of the building,” said Aaron McRann, executive director of the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen.

Foundry Penticton is funded by the provincial government and will be operated by the Penticton & District Community Resources Society beginning late 2018.

“Our organization has been working collaboratively with the Community Foundation and many local service providers on the YES Project since 2013 so it’s really gratifying to see Penticton donors getting excited about creating this space for our youth,” PDCRS executive director Tanya Behardien said.

Donations to the youth centre can be made online.

Mel Schmidt
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 05 - Got the Edge

Name: Mel Schmidt.

What business or organization are you involved with? The Simpłe Clothing Company.

What is your role with that organization? Owner and stylist.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? My fave thing about the Okanagan is EVERY-thing. Like seriously, the beautiful air, forest, hills, lakes. But my very most fave would have to be Kalamalka Lake; it’s breathtaking.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would do lunch with my gram. She has been taking me out for lunch all my life and it’s always the funnest. She would pick me up at lunch time in Grade 8 and we would go to this little health food restaurant on Main Street in Vernon and they had the best bread.

What’s your go-to happy place? My happy place is ANYWHERE with my nephew “Theo the burrito.” He is one and a half and he is literally the cutest, funnest kid in the whole entire world.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my honesty. I make brave life choices based on being honest with myself about what is best for me and my life as I value every day I have here on Earth.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? My top three things are: Definetly flying in a pod on an airplane. I’ve been on so many flights for work and I’m always crammed into coach dreaming of the day I can stretch my legs in a pod and order a piñata colada and watch the Kardashians in a silk robe and slipper. I’m so fortunate to have done like so many amazing things that I think that’s really it.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? The weirdest thing about me is that when I was a little girl my fave food was liver and onions. What a sick kid I was.

Latest movie or book: I’m kind of dorking out to Game of Thrones. I know that’s not a movie, but it is based on a book – I’m the worst though. I have to hit pause about every four minutes and ask my boyfriend what the heck is going on because it’s just so packed full of crazy content.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The biggest gift I ever received is my nephew. He is the best gift ever hands down.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would want to spend it with all my friends and family, rent out Atlantis water slides for the day and have a pizza party.

$427K raised for Sally Ann
Darren Handschuh - Jan 04 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed
The Salvation Army raised more than $427,000 through its Christmas kettle and mail out campaign.

They may have fallen shy of their goal, but officials with the Vernon Salvation Army are humbled by the support shown in the community.

With a goal of $500,000, Lt. Stefan Reid said the community donated $427,000 through the mail out and kettle campaigns.

“The campaigns went very well,” said Reid, who had high praise for the community and the support it shows the Sally Ann.

“The community always comes through. Over the last few days of the year, we had some big donations come in.”

Reid said money is still coming in from the mail out campaign.

The money will be used for a variety of Salvation Army programs and Reid said they are even considering starting some new programs.

“There’s a lot that happens here,” said Reid. “There are hundreds of volunteers who help out.”

The Salvation Army also handed out almost 500 Christmas hampers last year as well.

The annual Vernon realtor food drive collected almost 40 tons of food for the Salvation Army food bank.

“The realtors always surpass our expectations with this food drive,” said Reid. “This food will last us until well into May and June.”

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