Kelowna city councillor Maxine DeHart is giving a gift from the heart this Valentine’s Day, with a private donation to Okanagan College‘s Our Students, Your Health campaign.
The campaign is raising funds to build a new Health Sciences Centre at the college and provide financial assistance for students.
She says the goals of funding a new building students can learn in, and funding scholarships and bursaries to support more students, inspired her to gift both her time and resources to the campaign.
“We do not have anything if we do not have our health,” DeHart said. “Okanagan College grads play an important role in keeping our community healthy, and that includes caring for our family, friends and even ourselves.
“These students need our help now, so they can care for us in the future. We should all open our hearts and give what we can.”
The nature of DeHart’s gift is being kept private, but she’s inviting the public to step up and also contribute.
“Our more than 11,000 graduates have an immense impact on the local health-care system,” Okanagan College Foundation executive director Helen Jackman. “So we hope people will hear the messages that Max and others are sharing, and will be inspired to give and help us make this project a reality.”
To learn more or to donate, visit ourstudentsyourhealth.ca.
A new scholarship has been created in the name of Harry McWatters, and those behind it are hoping others will help contribute to the fund.
McWatters was an icon on the Okanagan wine scene, and his passing last year left a void that will never be filled. In an effort to continue his legacy, Chefs’ Table Society has teamed up with the Okanagan College Foundation for a scholarship that will be given to wine or tourism students who are participating in an international education experience.
“Harry’s mentorship is rightly legendary,” Okanagan College School of Business associate dean Jonathan Rouse said in a press release. “He always had his eye on emerging talent in the business, and vigorously mentored young people through his roles as founder of the BC Wine Institute and his many ongoing industry affiliations.”
Chefs’ Table will donate $2,000 per year for a minimum of five years, and it wants others in the industry to show their support as well.
“The operative word is fund,” Chefs’ Table president Robert Belcham said. “We’ve donated first, but it’s really a call to action: We invite industry associations, wineries and private individuals to enhance our gift by donating online or contacting the Okanagan College Foundation and pledging their support.
“… Our member chefs serve hundreds of bottles of B.C. wines every day, and I like to think there’s a little bit of Harry in every one of them. In retrospect, it’s astounding what Harry and his fellow pioneers accomplished in just over three decades. B.C. wines are securely on the global map.”
The McWatters family, which includes wife Lisa Lalonde and children Christa-Lee and Darrien, has already contributed $1,000 to the fund.
“Out of tragedy can arise positive outcomes,” the family said in the press release. “We are very grateful, and honoured, that the Chefs’ Table Society and Okanagan College have joined in this positive partnership to honour Harry and salute his legacy. It’s a perfect fit and much in keeping with Harry’s profound interest in global wine connectivity.”
Five organizations in the Thompson Okanagan recently received an Impact Grant to help those affected by Alzheimer’s.
The Music & Memory program is a therapeutic music program that provides special training to caregivers combined with personalized playlists to help people reconnect with memories and their loved ones. It has been found that music can awaken the brain and, with it, the rich trove of memories that are associated with familiar songs or beloved pieces.
Interior Savings donated $10,000 to the initiative, and Concentra’s Empowering Your Community matched that amount for a grand total of $20,000. Interior Savings decided it would then award five grants worth $4,000 each.
“Personalized music helps to help create moments of joy and peace and provides caregivers another strategy to assist those they care for,” Brookhaven Care Centre therapeutic recreation specialist Darcy Jong said in a press release.
Brookhaven, which is located in West Kelowna, received the Impact Grant along with Ashcroft’s Thompson View Manor Society, Clearwater’s Forest View Place, Kamloops’ Hillside Tertiary Psychiatric Centre and Penticton’s Good Samaritan, Village by the Station.
“Many of us have been touched by dementia and similar conditions. Whether it’s our family or friends, we’ve seen first-hand the isolation that can result,” Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway said. “As a certified age-friendly business with a community impact goal to promote social connection with age, we’re thrilled to help these organizations launch this remarkable program.”
All five organizations received a set of 15 MP3 music players, headphones and a/c adapters, a laptop, external speakers, starter music, and Music & Memory certification and support.
Pathways Addictions Resource Centre is searching for board members to help the people of Penticton.
Pathways has been serving the community for nearly 45 years, and it is currently in need of board members, specifically in the areas of treasurer, building committee and social media.
Three North Okanagan Shoppers Drug Mart stores helped raise more than $8,800 to support women’s cancer care at Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre.
The annual Shoppers LOVE. YOU. campaign sees associate owners partner with local charities to directly support women’s health in their communities.
From Oct. 5 through Nov. 1, customers and staff raised $8,854 by purchasing and personalizing special icons that were displayed on the charity trees in each store. Purchases included a ‘leaf’ for a loonie, a ‘butterfly’ for $5, an ‘apple’ for $10 or a ‘bird’ for $50.
“We’re thrilled with the success of our 2019 Growing Women’s Health campaign,” said Chase Nickel, the pharmacist owner at the Highway 6 store. “Each year, our customers and staff demonstrate their generosity and their commitment to supporting women in our community, and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone’s contribution.”
“Donations like this help support the amazing work that our teams of professionals do on a daily basis as they provide care to patients and families through their cancer journeys,” VJH Foundation executive director Kate McBrearty said.
Since 2002, the campaign has raised more than $35 million for Canadian health charities, with 100 per cent of funds staying in the community where they are raised.
The YMCA of Okanagan was a big winner when the pucks flew at a recent Kelowna Rockets contest.
The YMCA was the benefactor of the Rockets’ charity puck toss on Jan. 26, and more than $3,400 was raised as a result.
The purchase of pucks brought in $2,165, and then Melcor Developments donated another $1,250 on behalf of the residents of BlueSky at Black Mountain.
“We are honored to be a part of this amazing fundraiser and to have been chosen as the charity for this game,” YMCA of Okanagan marketing and fund development manager Rhonda Zakala said in a press release.
“This generous donation will enable more kids to attend summer camp, more toddlers to access pre-school programs and more families to afford swim lessons.”
Those who attend Rockets games purchase a rubber puck and then throw it on the ice during the second intermission. The pucks that land closest to the faceoff dots win prizes.
Crowe MacKay LLP has donated $50,000 to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation in honour of its 50th anniversary.
The KGH Foundation is raising funds for an electrophysiology lab.
“We recognize that we have been fortunate to practise in such a vibrant, growing community, and along the way we have strived to support the community that has supported us,” Crowe MacKay managing director David Gautier said.
Once the lab is complete, the hospital can perform advanced heart rhythm services. Currently, it cannot perform these services, which has resulted in more than 75,000 B.C. residents being wait-listed for beds in Vancouver and Victoria.
KGH patients who require these services are transported by air ambulance to other hospitals. Many family members who want to join their loved ones struggle to afford travel. Patients are also left to pay their way home after their procedures are complete.
Crowe MacKay also provides scholarships to UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College, and supports the United Way, BC Cancer Agency and more.
The $50,000 donation translates to approximately 150 cardioverter-defibrillations and 450 electrophysiology procedures.
“We are grateful for the relationship we have with Crowe MacKay and their staff,” KGH Foundation chief development officer Allison Ramchuk said. “This generous gift demonstrates their commitment to the well being of the patients of this community and those dedicated to their care.”
Kelowna Salvation Army believes it will hit its Christmas campaign goal by the time all of the donations finish rolling in from the generous population.
The organization set an ambitious goal of $700,000 during the recently completed holiday season, and as of Friday it had received $696,000. It didn’t hit the goal by its deadline, but it expects to top the mark by the time all is said and done.
The Salvation Army was able to provide Christmas to 526 families, including more than 1,000 toys.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of this community,” Cpt. Darryl Burrey, Kelowna Salvation Army’s executive director, said in a press release. “The financial support we received from our Christmas campaign supports the year-round programming and services we offer here in Kelowna-Lake Country.
“We are so deeply thankful to all those who made this campaign a success, for the thousands of volunteers who rang bells, sorted toys, counted donations, packed bags, participated in our Christmas events and so much more. We are so blessed to have a community that cares for others and wants to make an impact in people’s lives.”
The Salvation Army this year introduced contactless payment at four of its kettle locations, allowing the public to tap their debit or credit cards.
“We hope to continue to provide this service at key locations in the future,” Burry said. “However, what needs to be noted is that the bulk of our donations still come in the form of cash. It is truly amazing to experience that when many people give, even a small amount, it makes a huge difference.”
A local trio was honoured at last Friday’s Kelowna Rockets game for going above and beyond in the community.
Jordan Wirtz, Melanie Crowston and Wayne Oye were recognized as part of Fountain Tire’s 3 Stars program, which is a partnership between the Western and Ontario hockey leagues that highlights “everyday Canadians” for their volunteerism, humanitarianism and generosity.
“We asked Canadians to help us find people whose actions—big or small—make a difference, and the result was an inspiring list of individuals who help our cities thrive,” Fountain Tire brand director Denise Gohl-Eacrett said in a press release. “It is particularly meaningful for Fountain Tire’s local store owners to be able to give the unsung heroes in their own communities the recognition they deserve.”
Wirtz, a secondary school teacher whose extra-curricular commitment goes above and beyond, coaches hockey, basketball, volleyball and football. He also organizes school-related events and provides audio and visual support at school performances. Wirtz’s nomination stated: “He’s one of those teachers you remember for a lifetime.”
Oye has been a dedicated ringette coach for more than 13 years. When not at his day job, Oye is on the road or at the rink with his under-19 and 2020 BC Winter Games teams. Last year, he was awarded as coach of the year by both the Okanagan and British Columbia ringette governing bodies.
Crowston, a social worker, ski ambassador and trainer with the Canadian Ski Patrol Ogopogo Zone (Okanagan region), was recognized for both her day job—ensuring the well-being of vulnerable youth—and her volunteer role in developing young athletes into strong and confident ski patrollers.
The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen has given a gift to those struggling with mental health issues.
The organization handed over a cheque for $4,718 to the Canadian Mental Health Association, which will use the gift to buy new dining room chairs.
“We are thrilled to receive this incredible donation from the Community Foundation” CMHA executive director Leah Schulting said in a press release. “Our old dining room chairs were 30 years old and in need of replacement. Through this grant we were able to purchase washable, functional and comfortable chairs that will last for years to come.”
The chairs will be given to CMHA’s Unity House, which is located in Penticton and serves more than 200 members. The facility served more than 14,000 meals to its members last year, so the chairs will come in handy.