Tetra can make it happen
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 24 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Tetra’s goal is to create or modify assistive devices for people with disabilities that will help alleviate barriers in all aspects of life (i.e. mobility, communications, or personal care.)

The Tetra Society of North America is a non-profit organization that recruits skilled volunteers to create customized assistive devices catering to those with physical disabilities.

These devices can facilitate education, work, and recreation. We work together to create a customized device that would increase access within households (i.e. modify taps, cutting boards, etc.) and other environments, such as vehicles or places of business.

“Currently, we find ourselves in a unique situation,” says Ean Price, Chapter Coordinator, Tetra Society, Kelowna “as the number of skilled volunteers available to take on projects outnumbers the available projects.”

Price explains, “We at Tetra are trying to reach potential clients to let them know who we are, what we do, and how we can help.”

Tetra clients can be anyone from infants to seniors, or anyone in between, at any level of physical disability.

No challenge given Tetra’s volunteers is deemed too great or too small. “In short, customized assistive devices. created by Tetra focus on improving quality of life,” comments Price.

To inquire about what Tetra volunteers can do for you, simply contact your nearest Tetra chapter using the “Find a Chapter” feature on their website www.tetrasociety.org.

For people in the Kelowna area you can call Ean Price, Chapter Coordinator, Tetra Society, Kelowna at (250) 863-0650 or send an email [email protected]

Local students to give back
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 22 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Students in Grades 1-3 from Shannon Lake Elementary learned an important lesson in giving last week when they donated more than $2,000 to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation as part of their participation in Enactus Okanagan College’s CANsave program.

Five classes from Shannon Lake took part in CANsave, which is a financial literacy program developed by Okanagan College students to teach primary students the importance of saving for themselves, saving for their future and saving to help others in need.

The Enactus team partnered with Valley First, a Division of First West Credit Union, to help further the students’ understanding of how saving can help others. Valley First’s sponsorship of the CANsave program allowed the students to have a larger impact on the charity of their choice, in this case the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. In addition to the $2,000 the students were able to give thanks to Valley First’s support, they also contributed more than $225 of their own money to support the foundation.

“Valley First is very proud to partner with Enactus Okanagan College to deliver financial literacy programming to over 100 classrooms and 2,500 students in the Okanagan in this school year,” says Marion Henselwood, branch manager at Valley First’s Vintage Hills branch. “It’s a testament to the high demand for financial literacy programs and the important role financial education plays in setting our youth up for success.”

In total, $30,000 will be donated to local charities through the CANsave program, with over half of that money already given to a wide range of local initiatives.

“We are so grateful to the students who chose to support the hospital through their CANsave fundraising,” says Chandel Christie, Annual Programs Officer at the KGH Foundation. “The students speak so maturely about money after participating in this program and it’s so inspiring to see how excited they are to donate the funds to help sick kids get better.”

CANsave has grown since its inception a year ago, and is now being used by teachers in every single province and territory in Canada, impacting almost 100 distinct communities. In the Okanagan, more than 2,500 students have completed CANsave this year, while that number exceeds 6,200 students nationally.

“The growth of CANsave has been an inspiring experience to be a part of,” says Cody Troutman, Enactus Okanagan College founding member of CANsave. “Our community partnerships have helped us grow the program beyond our expectations for the first year.”

Making dreams come true
Wayne Moore - Apr 21 - Get Involved

Photo: Castanet

Your yearly chance to help make kids’ magical dreams come true is almost upon us.

The third annual Papa John’s Pizza Dreams for Kids Day comes up next Wednesday at six of the company’s locations throughout the Okanagan and B.C. Interior.

On April 26 at Papa John’s locations in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops and Prince George, 100 per cent of proceeds plus staff wages will go to support the Sunshine Foundation of Canada.

The foundation supports Sunshine Dream Programs for kids living with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.

Local personalities, representatives from Papa John’s and Sunshine, and the Orange County Sherriff’s Department will lend a helping hand during the day.

“The community support we’ve received over the past two years of Dreams for Kids Day has been outstanding,” says Geoff Linquist, owner of the Kelowna and West Kelowna Papa John’s locations.

“We’re looking forward to connecting with customers and friends … to make this Dreams for Kids Day the biggest and best one yet.”

Dream cookies are also available now at Papa John’s locations with proceeds from the $1 cookie also going to Sunshine.

Proceeds help the Sunshine Foundation take the kids on a one-day, whirlwind adventure to Disneyland every two years.

$100 grand given away
Kate Bouey - Apr 20 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

VantageOne Credit Union has given away $100,000 to 11 local organizations that help others.

Cheques from the VantageOne Great Community Giveaway were distributed on Thursday.

The biggest cheque, $50,000, went to North Okanagan Youth & Family Services (NOYFSS) to help with expanding and upgrading its current building in downtown Vernon.

“We received 84 applications with over $1.8 million in funds requested,” said Glenn Benischek, VantageOne CEO. “Our board selected the recipients and provided our staff with a list of four organizations eligible for the grand prize of $50,000. Our staff then voted on the winner.”

Benischek said the response “highlights the amount of service that these organizations provide in our communities and the need for funds.”

Other groups that received funds included:

  • Vernon Bosom Buddies – $200 for care bags for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at VJH
  • Okanagan Quality Life Society – $2,500 to replace 14 aging inflatable personal flotation devices (PDFs)
  • Royal Canadian Legion, Edgewood branch – $2,800 to renovate and modernize clubroom to make it safer for all who use it
  • Community Dental Access Centre – $5,000 to allow both adults and children from low income families to receive dental care
  • Royal Canadian Legion, Armstrong branch – $5,000 to purchase an electric griddle and work table to cook pancake breakfasts at community and other events
  • Santa’s Anonymous – $5,000 to expand and improve the society’s capacity to provide gifts for children ages 9-12
  • Girl Guides of Canada – $5,000 to update the kitchen facilities at Camp Tillicum
  • Family Resource Centre – $7,000 for funds to be distributed to direct client services and programs within current budget year
  • North Okanagan Child Care Society – $7,500 to build an infant toddler play space at its centrally located early learning centre
  • Learning Disabilities Association – $10,000 to provide financial support to families for tutoring, assist parents in advocating for their children and counsel youth and adults.
To the mat for charity
Wayne Moore - Apr 19 - Get Involved

Photo: Wayne Moore

What began as innocent talk around a boardroom table has become, as co-organizer Mike Chisholm tells it, the most unique fundraising endeavour in the Okanagan.

Since its inception as a ‘one shot’ fundraiser in 2013, Kelowna Invasion Wrestling has raised more than $100,000 for children’s charities.

“If you would have asked us three years ago when we started this, if we ever thought we would have raised $100,000, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Chisholm said Tuesday.

“Our vision is expanding. If we get to the point where we can raise $1 million, what a thing that would be, what a milestone.”

Kelowna Invasion: Break It Down, comes to Centennial Hall in Rutland, Friday night. A second show is slated for the Vernon Recreation Centre the following night.

WWE legend ‘Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn is the show’s special guest.

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, YMCA Strong Kids, Mamas for Mamas and North Okanagan Neurological Association all received cheques for $2,250 from the last event in October. Abbotsford Special Adventurers will be handed their cheque at Friday’s show.

The Boys and Girls Club also received an additional $2,500 from event sponsor Lake City Casino.

Mamas for Mamas spokesperson Candace Chisholm says the non-profit organization supports mothers in crisis and provides ongoing support to low-income moms.

Friday’s wrestling show begins at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

Get involved with Fat Cat
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 17 - Get Involved

Organizers of the Interior Savings Fat Cat Children’s Festival are inviting the community to get involved in the 27th annual edition of the Festival coming up on June 9 & 10, 2017 at Waterfront Park.

“The Festival is strong and an integral part of our community,” says Marlene Fenton, chair of the volunteer board that produces the Festival annually. “And we are looking for more community partners and especially volunteers to be a part of that success. With the Festival less than two months away, it is time to ramp things up and we are looking to the community to get involved and help put on an incredible show for the kids – and their families.”

The festival celebrates the people and events of the region with its theme “Okanagan Stories” and feature two full days of entertainment, learning and creativity, plus a fabulous parade.

To find out more about the Festival, plans for 2017 and beyond, come to the AGM held on April 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm at BDO Canada (1631 Dickson Ave, Suite #400).

How you can get involved:

Volunteer: A Festival can’t happen without excellent volunteers. We need you to take part. There are amazing opportunities – starting with joining the Board of Directors, or one of the planning committees

Adopt-a-Class: Your donation of $250 will send a deserving group of elementary-school aged children to take part in the Festival and enjoy of its experiences for free. You may choose to designate the class or school you would like to adopt, or we have list of under-serviced schools that would love to participate, but can’t because of financial restrictions. You will make a significant difference with your donation and you will be creating some unforgettable memories for our communities’ kids.

Join the Parade: Come march with us! Represent your business or organization with a fun float and be rewarded by hundreds of kids cheering you on as you pass by.

The Interior Savings Fat Cat Children’s Festival is an interactive Festival that celebrates children, creativity and community. The Festival is produced by the Children’s Festival Society of Kelowna and takes place June 9 & 10 at Waterfront Park.

Application forms to get involved are all available online at www.fatcatfestival.ca, or please contact Dorothee Birker for more information at [email protected] or 250-860-4911.

Soup’s on!
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 13 - Get Involved

Photo: Daniel Hayduk

A smorgasbord of soups will be simmering for your tasting pleasure later this month, as nearly two dozen Okanagan restaurants show off their culinary prowess, all for a good cause.

Soup’s On is a soup tasting event that acts as a fundraiser for Okanagan College, as well as local charities.

In Kelowna April 29 Enactus Okanagan College will present the event, where 15 Kelowna restaurants will each prepare a scrumptious soup for the public to try.

Tickets to the event are $20, with the proceeds getting split between Enactus Okanagan College and the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

Enactus is a Non-Profit, student-run organization that draws on the entrepreneurial know-how of the students involved to create a better more sustainable environment.

With funding from fundraisers such as Soup’s On the team can tackle the social, economic and environmental issues and create programs to better the community.

Vernon will also host a Soup’s On event later this month, on April 27. At least five restaurants will are participating there, with proceeds getting split between the Upper Room Mission and Okanagan College students.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, or for more information about the events, visit the Okanagan College website.

Rotary pledges $30k
Colin Dacre - Apr 12 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Rotary Club of Oliver is is hosting a pair of fundraisers this month to give a boost to health care in the region.

The club’s 19th annual gala dinner and live auction runs April 22 from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Oliver Community Centre. Six local restaurants will serve food paired with wine from six local wineries.

Proceeds are going to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

Then on April 30, the Harlem Ambassadors are bringing their hilarious basketball antics to Southern Okanagan Secondary School at 2 p.m. Again, proceeds will go to the SOS Medical Foundation.

Oliver Rotary has pledged $30,000 over three years to the SOSMF campaign to provide medical equipment for the new patient care tower in Penticton.

Past-president Brian Goy said the move to support the Penticton hospital expansion was not a difficult one.

“The volunteers work hard to get those funds from the community and we try very hard to donate to things we feel the community needs and wants,” he said.

“The hospital is something we are all going to use sometime in our life, with the new tower and all the equipment that comes in,” he said. “It would be nice not to have to go to Kelowna (for certain treatments).”

They volunteered 550 hours
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 11 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

On April 7 more than 140 volunteers tackled 12 projects across the Okanagan, putting in more than 550 hours of volunteer work.

The effort was part of the Pushor Mitchell United Way Day of Caring, which each year sees companies send teams of employees to local not-for-profit agencies to help them complete small projects like spring yard clean-up, painting and construction.

This year Pushor Mitchell Lawyers shut down their office as more than 90 employees took part in the initiative.

The Central Okanagan kickoff event was hosted by Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, where five of the 12 companies were represented and enjoyed pizza donated by Papa John’s Pizza and coffee and treats from McDonald’s.

In Penticton, Tim Horton’s donated coffee and treats for the BMO Penticton group working at SOWINS.

“Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs are a proud partner of United Way CSO. Our community cares! Thanks Pushor Mitchell and the other incredible volunteers who came to Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Diane Entwistle, the CEO of Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.

Cycling for kids in need
Alanna Kelly - Apr 10 - Get Involved

Photo: YMCA

The YMCA Cycle for Strong Kids is in its 11th year and still running strong.

Participants will take part in a 45-minute stationary cycle on May 28 to raise money for underprivileged children and youth in Kelowna.

“With a high number of families in the Central Okanagan living in poverty, we rely on the generosity of local residents and businesses to ensure the health and vitality of our children today and into the future,” said Rhonda Zakala, general manager of Fund Development for the YMCA of Okanagan.

All of the money raised will give the children an opportunity to participate in YMCA child care, day camps, aquatics, employment readiness and before and after school enrichment programs.

Last year, YMCA Cycle for Strong Kids had more than 300 participants and raised more than $100,000.

To register or for more information visit the website.

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