Humanity needs your help
Trevor Nichols - Jun 23 - Get Involved

Image: Kate Bouey
Habitat for Humanity’s Vernon project.

A trio of families eagerly awaiting a generous leg up from Habitat for Humanity are being forced to wait a little longer, as the organization struggles to fund volunteers to help build their new homes.

Habitat for Humanity’s Vernon triplex was supposed to be finished this July, but because the organization is having such trouble finding people to help finish it, it could be delayed by months.

“We’re kind of in a desperate need of volunteers right now,” says Habitat representative Sam Sweet.

Sweet says Habitat is looking for volunteers of all skill levels to help out at the Vernon project. They’re needed to assist in the construction of the home, help clean up, shovel and do landscaping work.

He says Habitat needs “as many volunteers as possible,” and worries that if no one comes forward “it will just take a lot longer to get the families that need them into the houses.”

Meanwhile, Habitat’s Peachland project is also looking for volunteers.

There, the organization hopes to install landscaping features to give the homeowners a little more privacy from the highway, and make the steep hill behind the houses safer for the children that live there.

Each Monday and Friday a group gathers from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and Sweet says three to five volunteers are needed.

Sweet encourages anyone looking to make a difference in their community to get in touch with Habitat for Humanity and give a little of their time in the coming weeks.

“It’s just a great cause. You feel like you’re doing a great thing for your community, and you’re giving a second chance to a family that really needs one,” he says.

A heartfelt donation
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 22 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

A donation from the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation will help the Kelowna General Hospital buy a new cardio respiratory monitors that will supports the most vulnerable patients in its new neonatal intensive care unit.

The expanded intensive care unit, which cares for infants, was expanded in March of 2016, in an effort to support the need to the growing regional population.

“Over the past 20 years, the number of pre-term births has continued to grow. The expanded NICU at KGH represents a giant leap forward for healthcare in the Southern Interior, providing the most advanced neonatal care unit outside the Lower Mainland,” says Bonnie Wilkie, a nurse educator in the NICU.

The Woodward’s Foundation grant, worth more than $68,480, will add to the KGH neonatal care team’s capacity to monitor the smallest and sickest babies. With a total of seven monitors already funded, the Woodward’s Foundation gift of four new devices allows for each crib in the newly expanded NICU to have a dedicated monitor.

“The neonatal cardiac respiratory monitors are an integral piece of technology for us,” says Wilkie. “They allow us to have a constant view of the infant’s vital signs including heartbeat and breathing. When a baby is in distress, the device alarm activates and alerts us immediately so that we can rapidly respond. These monitors save lives.”

Thousands raised at Swing Away
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 21 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

On June 8, 22 ladies took part in the Ladies Spring Golf Clinic at The Quail, as part of United Way CSO’s Swing Away for United Way event.

Professional instruction was given by a golf pro, who helped improve the ladies short and long swings with appetizers and refreshments to follow.

According to the United Way, the “fantastic afternoon” helped raise more than $1000 for the community.

“Thank you to everyone who made yesterday a huge success,” the United Way said in a statement, extending a special thank you to Kayla Caruana and the Investors Group for their support of the event.

Fundraiser for teen
Kate Bouey - Jun 20 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed.
Road hockey fundraiser to be held for teen fighting cancer.

A road hockey fundraiser is being held next Sunday on the grounds of Clarence Fulton Secondary for Garrett Adams, a 17-year-old goalie, who’s been diagnosed with lymphoma.

“We would like to help Garrett and his family with a fundraiser to help alleviate any financial strain this will put on them,” said a Facebook post from Rhonda Becker, a friend of the family, who is with a group organizing a road hockey tournament, an auction and a BBQ.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help the family with costs as they travel to the coast and back for medical appointments.

“We are looking for silent auction items for a fundraiser to help the Adams family while their son, Garrett, takes on his ugliest opponent yet. He is an amazing goalie. At the young age of 17, Garrett has just been diagnosed with cancer. We are holding a road hockey tournament and a silent/online auction on Sunday.”

Adams has loved the game of hockey since he was old enough to hold a stick. He was a nationally recognized ringette goalie and the recipient of the midget house league ‘Senior Goalie of the Year’ award from Vernon Minor Hockey for the 2016-2017 season.

Life has changed dramatically since the diagnosis. Adams has had to leave his job, school and cannot participate in any strenuous activities that could cause his body strain.

However, Becker said Adams has a positive attitude and recently attended grad activities.

Auction items are greatly needed for those who are willing to donate them, she said.

“We are also looking for participants for the road hockey tournament.”

Those interested can sign up online. For those who cannot make it, the GoFundMe page will also support the initiative.

“I hope the hockey community and anyone able to support this family can come out to play and support Garrett,” said Leigha Horsfield, another family friend.

A by donation BBQ will also be held at the school at the same time as the tournament.

The event takes place at Clarence Fulton Secondary on Sunday, June 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Support for OSNS
Deborah Pfeiffer - Jun 19 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The 4th annual Wildstone Colours 4 Kids Run, last Sunday in Penticton, was a resounding success.

There were nearly 750 participants and money raised for the OSNS Child Development Centre was $15,086, up $5,000 from last year’s event.

Hockey superstar Duncan Keith also joined in the festivities, signing autographs and dousing kids in colour along the route.

“The support of the community and the corporate citizenship displayed by Wildstone is overwhelming,” said OSNS executive director Manisha Willms.

Wildstone presented the OSNS with the proceeds on Friday afternoon.

Earth Wind Fire returns
Madison Erhardt - Jun 16 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed.
Kelowna vocalist Anna Jacyszyn is lending her talents to The Nature Trust of BC’s ninth annual Earth Wind Fire event.

B.C.’s ninth annual Earth Wind Fire event celebrates food and wine in support of land conservation in the Okanagan.

Guests will enjoy the culinary talents of well-known chefs such as Rod Butters, Bernard Casavant, Jesse Croy, Ross Derrick, Willi Franz, Kai Karoll, Stu Klassen, Jeremy Luypen, and Iain Rennie, all members of the Canadian Culinary Federation.

A live auction will feature outdoor and culinary adventure packages, tours of local wineries, original paintings, jewelry, spa days and fishing gear, to name a few.

Proceeds from the June 24 gala at the Delta Grand Hotel will help acquire an 86-acre parcel near Skaha Lake that will add to an existing complex of conservation lands and provide critical habitat for bighorn sheep.

“It takes you only a few steps to recognize how beautiful this location is and why it is so important that it remain in a natural state,” says Nicholas Burdock, land conservation co-ordinator for The Nature Trust.

Tickets for Earth Wind Fire are $175 per person. You can order online at naturetrust.bc.ca or call Robin Rivers at 1-866-288-7878.

More ways to find help
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 14 - Get Involved

Image: bc211.ca

An expansive online resource aimed at helping British Columbians connect with community and support services is now available in the Okanagan.

The not-for-profit bc211.ca is an online information service that acts as an “up-to-date, reliable gateway” to community, social, non-clinical health, and government services.

It’s a service directory that includes more than 12,000 entries documenting and describing services and organizations available to help people. It’s available on desktop and mobile platforms, and even features an online chat available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Some of the information available includes:

  •         Employment support;
  •         Legal assistance;
  •         Mental health and addiction services;
  •         Housing options including shelter locations;
  •         Seniors services;
  •         Children and youth programs.

“British Columbians need and deserve reliable information and help they can trust. We’re here to ensure that people don’t have to rely solely on Google to deal with sometimes difficult and often very personal situations,” says Nathan Wright, the executive director of bc211.

He said that bc211.ca has prompts that help people narrow down their search, assist them in finding the services that most meet their needs, and closest to where they live.

The project first launched in 2010,in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland, featuring phone and online services for Metro Vancouver, and has continuously expanded since that time.

In 2016, the site had more than 287,000 unique visitors, the majority of which focused on issues of housing and homelessness, substance abuse, and health.

Visit www.bc211.ca for more information.

Welcoming 150
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 12 - Get Involved

Image: Google Maps

Canadian retailer London Drugs is getting in on 150 festivities this month, as its #Welcoming150 initiative continues.

The program and donation drive is aiming to support 150 new Canadian families, from across Western Canada, who came to this country fleeing unsafe circumstances.

The program began May 19, and will run until Canada Day. Through it, individual London Drugs locations across the west will “adopt” local families in their area and ask customers to donate the specific items those families need.

All the donation will then be delivered to the participating 150 families across Western Canada before July 1.

“Welcoming and helping newcomers distinguishes what makes Canada great,” said Clint Mahlman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of London Drugs. “As a proud family-owned 72-year-old Canadian company, we will also be contributing corporately, alongside the donations from our customers and staff, to ensure each family’s immediate needs are met.”

Mahlman says the inspiration behind the initiative is two-fold. First, it provides continued support for new Canadian families who come from unsafe backgrounds. Second, it honours the legacy of Tong Louie, whose family acquired London Drugs in 1945 and grew the company to what it is today.

In 1914, Louie was born to an immigrant Chinese family who owned a wholesale food business and the Louie family have been instrumental in shaping today’s retail industry in Canada.

According to KCR Community Resources, many newly arrived Canadian families still need support, and would benefit from donations of hygiene products, kitchen wares, linens, food, book and games.

“We are grateful to people in the Central Okanagan for their generosity in supporting six families in the region,” said Katelin Mitchell, the manager of immigrant services at KCR.  “On behalf of the families we work with, we would like to thank everyone for truly reinforcing our Canadian values, and showing what it means to be Canadian during this very special time in the country’s history.”

You can learn more about London Drugs’ #Welcoming150 initiative here http://www.londondrugs.com/welcoming150

Saving on for Foundry
Trevor Nichols - Jun 08 - Get Involved

Photo: Google Street View

This Sunday, Save on Foods is kicking off a new campaign to build a new youth mental health centre in the Okanagan.

Save On Foods locations from across the Central Okanagan are teaming up for two weeks to collect donations for Foundry Kelowna.

From June 11-24, the stores will ask customers to donate $2 at the till in support of the project. All the money raised will given to the Not Alone fundraising campaign, a $2 million initiative to build Foundry Kelowna.

Foundry is an initiative spearheaded by the KGH Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

June 10, from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Save On Foods in Orchard Plaza will officially mark the beginning on the campaign, with representatives from Save On Foods, the KGH Foundation and the CMHA will be on hand to speak to media.

Valley volunteers honoured
Darren Handschuh - Jun 07 - Get Involved

Image: Wayne Emde Photography.
Francois Arsenault will be recognized for his work with cadets.

A Vernon man will be honoured for his work with the local cadet community.

Francois Arsenault will be receiving the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from B.C. Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon at a ceremony at Government House Wednesday.

Arsenault has been volunteering with the Army Cadet League of Canada since 1980, and is the creator of a virtual museum that chronicles the 137-year history of the organization.

In conjunction with the Vernon Cadet Training Centre, he opened the Vernon Cadet Museum, and is a board member of the Vernon Museum and Archives.

Twyla Gimbel will also be recognized for her volunteer work.

The Kelowna woman volunteers in the surgical day care unit at Kelowna General Hospital. She has also been helping students and teachers with educational and clerical work in the Okanagan Adventist Academy elementary classrooms since September 2009.

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, the Medal for Volunteers pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers.

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