Years of quiet service
Chelsea Powrie - Feb 20 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

A new unsung hero has been recognized by the Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan.

Bob Anderson founded the Friends of the Oxbow advocacy group a decade ago with two neighbours who shared a vision of protecting local Penticton oxbow land from in-filling. Their advocacy led to the City of Penticton installing an interceptor to catch sand and dredging sediment in order to save the oxbow’s ecosystem.

Anderson’s quiet, untiring work earned him an Unsung Citizen of Penticton award from the Rotary Club on Feb. 13, as well as Paul Harris Fellow recognition in honour of the Rotary founder.

The Unsung Citizen award is bestowed on citizens of Penticton who go above and beyond under the radar in the community in service of humanitarian causes.

Anderson began his philanthropic career after retiring in 1997 after 18 years as the purchasing agent at Penticton Regional Hospital. He began volunteering with the Okanagan Gleaners in Oliver with his wife, and the taste for volunteering didn’t stop there.

For the past six years, Anderson has contributed to the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society near Vernon and the Canadian Food for Children organization in Penticton, assisting both in acquiring used medical equipment and extra supplies to be sent to impoverished areas worldwide.

Anderson has also volunteered at the hospital since retirement with spiritual care and Interior Health Life-Line installations.

The Rotary club said in a release that Anderson “epitomizes Rotary’s ‘service above self’ motto and is therefore a truly worthy recipient of Rotary’s Unsung Citizen of Penticton award.”

Nobody should walk alone
Contributed - Feb 19 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

According to a recent survey, more than 50 per cent of the Canadians affected by dementia have felt stigmatized or discriminated against; for many, it’s a lonely disease. Kelowna residents can help change this. Show them you stand with them by creating a team and participating in the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s on Sunday, May 6, 2018. The Kelowna Walk will take place at Kelowna City Park at 1 p.m.

The Walk is a fun and family-friendly way to create a movement, while sending a message of inclusion and hope to the estimated 70,000 British Columbians currently living with dementia, and the people who care for them. The Walk will take place in 23 locations across the province. Each Walk is dedicated to an honouree – someone who has been affected by dementia, or who has valuably contributed to the lives of people living with the disease. The Kelowna Walk honours Allan and Bettina Collier. Participants are also encouraged to walk in honour or memory of someone in their lives who has faced dementia. One powerful way to do this is as a team.

“Teams are so integral to the Walk, and they bring a strong sense of community. Seeing people walk and fundraise to honour someone close to them who has been affected by dementia is so meaningful. We invite anyone interested in participating in the Walk to create their own team. It’s such a wonderful way to bring people in your life together, while helping to create a movement to show people on the dementia journey that they do not have to walk alone,” says Maribeth Friesen who is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Regional Manager for Kelowna and the Northern and Interior regions.

The Walk aims to inspire Kelowna residents to unite to create a world without dementia. To set-up a team, simply go to walkforalzheimers.ca and follow the prompts. Need an extra incentive? Teams that raise $500 as a team by February 28 will go into a draw to win $500 worth of Amazon gift cards.

The funds raised through the event will make a world of difference to people affected by dementia in Kelowna. They will directly fund support, education and learning opportunities so people affected by dementia can live their best lives possible. Funds will also help enable research into the causes of and the cure for the disease, so we can look to a world without dementia.

By participating in the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s you will truly be making a difference. By creating a team, you will create a community of courage that will change the face of the disease. Join us, and make memories matter. For more information, or to register today, visit walkforalzheimers.ca.

True Leaf returns the love
Josh Winquist - Feb 15 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

True Leaf, the cannabis company with a soft spot for dogs, is giving back on Valentine’s Day.

True Leaf has two main operating divisions: True Leaf Medicine Inc. and True Leaf Pet Inc, which manufactures hemp-based products for the pet industry.

The company announced the launch of its ‘Return the Love’ campaign.

“For Valentine’s Day, we’re returning the love by donating to a couple of wonderful therapy dog programs for seniors in care homes and hospices,” stated Darcy Bomford founder of True Leaf.

“We’re inspired by our pets and their remarkable capacity for unconditional love.”

True Leaf will set aside a portion of its budget to help grow charitable causes like the St. John Ambulance therapy dog program.

Money donated will support the addition of volunteer therapy dog and handler teams. to serve and benefit the well-being of seniors in care throughout the province.

Moving forward, the company will set aside a portion of its time and budget to support more charities as part of the ‘Return the Love’ initiative.

The St. John Ambulance therapy dog program has approximately 3,500 dog and handler teams across Canada that work to ease feelings of loneliness and anxiety and provide comfort to more than 120,000 Canadians every year.

BC Pets and Friends, the oldest pet therapy organization in the province, touches the lives of more than 15,000 people in over 200 health care and educational settings across the Lower Mainland each year.

PRH gets $50K for play area
Colton Davies - Feb 14 - Get Involved

Image: South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation

The Penticton Regional Hospital will have spending room to enhance a new pediatrics waiting and play area, thanks to a sizeable donation.

The Summerland Healthcare Auxiliary has donated $50,000 to PRH, the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation announced on Wednesday.

Those funds will contribute to a new “play” area that will be located on the ground floor of the new tower, next to the outpatient pediatric treatment area, and will feature a mural, play stations and suitable furniture.

“It’s somewhere that’s both comfy for moms and dads and fun for kids who may be in for an appointment,” Berit Hack said, the Auxiliary’s treasurer.

Funding for the Auxiliary’s donation was generated from its thrift store on Victoria Road in Summerland.

The donation is separate from a five-year, $1 million pledge that the Auxiliary made in 2015 for the medical equipment campaign at PRH. They have provided $600,000 of that funding to date.

The new $312 million tower at PRH is expected to be complete in April 2019.

Steps to financial literacy
Madison Erhardt - Feb 14 - Get Involved

Image: Thinkstock

There is no question that finances weigh heavily on the majority, but what if there was a guide to help alleviate some of that burden.

Launch Community Development Foundation helps people move forward in life by providing them with financial knowledge, confidence, and support.

“Financial literacy is a really big key to success in life and if you don’t get those lessons at home or you choose to ignore them later in life you will realize the consequences. We thought a really good way to help the community would be to offer some financial literacy training,” said Leanne Hammond, Launch Director.

The training is free of charge.

Launch Kelowna provides three different programs.

1. Dollars and Sense is a free seven -week condensed money management program for those who find it challenging to get ahead in life. The purpose of the program is to gain a better understanding of everyday financial matters.

2.Matched Savings is a 12-month program designed to teach participants how to effectively manage their personal finances, while providing the opportunity to save money towards continuing education, starting a small business and more.

3.Primer for Life is three hour session to help prepare young adult to manage their finances when living on their own.

“We are providing people with a hand-up not a handout. As adults we learn best with positive reinforcement. The person who signs up for our Match Savings program and completes the year long course while saving $50, we will match that three to one for an approved asset,” Hammond added.

The programs are funded by a number of donors as well as a few corporate groups.

For more information, click here.

Harley raffle helps OSNS
Colton Davies - Feb 13 - Get Involved

Image: Colton Davies
Jack Batstone, left, with the Okanagan Motorcycle Rides Association and Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit bought the first ticket on Friday for a Harley motorcycle raffle, put on to support the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre.

Raffle tickets for the 2018 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic go for $20 each or three for $50. All proceeds go to the OSNS.

The motorcycle is supplied by Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson of Kelowna.

The annual raffle is one of the “biggest and longest running fundraisers” put on by the OSNS, according to community engagement coordinator Meg Dimma.

A total of 4,000 tickets have been printed for the raffle. The draw will take place on Jun. 24 at Gyro Park at 11 a.m., during the closing ceremonies of the Peach City Beach Cruise.

Tickets can be purchased through the OSNS online, or through the Okanagan Motorcyle Riders Association or Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson.

There will also be a trailer with OSNS logos carrying the motorbike that will be set up at various locations in Penticton to sell raffle tickets in coming weeks, which Dimma said will be easily recognizable.

Journey Home plan
Contributed - Feb 08 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The Journey Home Task Force is inviting the public to provide input and perspectives on homelessness as the long-term Journey Home plan is developed.

There are a number of ways the public can get involved:
–      Taking an online survey regarding homelessness in Kelowna
–      Attending one of the upcoming Journey Home Design Labs open for public participation

“Development of the Journey Home plan is designed to be community-driven and inclusive, as such, we want to hear from all citizens who may have an interest, idea or opinion on homelessness in our community,” said Martin Bell, Journey Home Task Force co-chair. “The survey results will be an important tool for the Journey Home team to get a solid understanding of the general feel from the public on the issue, while the design labs will allow for a deeper look at some of the complex issues surrounding homelessness and strategizing the best ways to approach them at a local level.”

Online Survey (open February 7 – March 5):
The online survey is open to all citizens and will remain open until March 5 to give the Task Force enough time for analysis before finalizing the Journey Home plan for June 2018.

Journey Home Design Labs (February 19 – March 9):
The following design labs are open for public participation. An additional nine design labs will be held with individuals or groups with specific areas of expertise. More information about each session, along with registration information can be found atkelowna.ca/journeyhome:

·         Feb 19: Ending Homelessness & Reconciliation
·         Feb 19: Early Identification & Prevention Strategies
·         Feb 20: Integrating Intimate Partner Violence Responses in the Plan
·         Feb 21: Linking Poverty Reduction & Homelessness Initiatives
·         Feb 22: Housing First & Supportive Housing for Chronic & Episodic Homelessness
·         Feb 23: Coordinated Access & Assessment
·         Feb 23: Red Zone Review
·         Mar 6: Developing Mental Health & Addictions Supports for People Experiencing Homelessness
·         Mar 7: Research Agenda to Support the Plan
·         Mar 7: Public Education & Understanding
·         Mar 8: Affordable (rent-geared-to-income) Housing Development
·         Mar 8: Minority Populations
·         Mar 9: Technology-Based Solutions
·         Mar 9: Engaging the Faith Community

Topics for the design labs were determined using key takeaways and learnings from two community summits on homelessness held in Kelowna in January. Over 100 representatives working in the homeless-serving sector, as well as members of the business community, government agencies, and those with lived experience attended the summits including one hosted by A Way Home – Kelowna focusing on youth homelessness and prevention.

In addition to the summits, survey and design labs, a Lived Experience Circle has been established to inform and guide the work of the Journey Home Task Force. Those who are currently experiencing homelessness, or have experienced homelessness in their lifetime, are welcome to join the circle. More information about the Lived Experience Circle including the next meeting date is available atkelowna.ca/journeyhome.

Following the consultation process, a draft of the Journey Home plan is set to be presented to Kelowna City Council in June 2018.

Visit the Journey Home webpage for more information about current initiatives, the Journey Home Task Force and ways the public can get involved.

100 kids who care Kelowna
Contributed - Feb 05 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

On Jan.25, 100 Kids Who Care Kelowna met in the Centre For Learning at Okanagan College for the second giving event to make a difference in the community.

Open to kids ages 5- 17, the goal of 100 Kids is to have each kid donate $10 of their own money, or funds they have raised with their parents, specifically to donate to their favorite charity.

The kids are encouraged to research their cause and tell others why they chose them inside of a safe digital environment called ICan, the app created in Kelowna by Jason Richards and the team at Change Gamers.

The January event featured words of wisdom from Nicole Rustad, the founder of Vortovia, and a champion for world change.

Formerly a corporate citizenship program director for the Walt Disney Company. The kids also had a chance to tackle a question about what makes a good leader? and Why is Community Important?

This exercise led by students from the Okanagan College chapter of ENACTUS, a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.

The Kids narrowed down their nominations to the top three: KGH Foundation’s Joanna’s House; World Wildlife Fund: Living Planet initiative; and The Central Okanagan United Way’s Child Safety Initiative.

A total of $1,000 was raised and donated right to the three charities, the $1000 came from the kids, Odlum Brown a campaign sponsor in the ICan app and matching funds from the Reston James Deacon: A Living Legacy Fund

The 100 Kids movement has groups across North America and is 100 per cent volunteer organized. The next event in Kelowna will be in April.

Local group helps ‘Angel’
Colton Davies - Feb 02 - Get Involved

Image: Fille Photo

Penticton resident Angelique Nelson, also known as “Angel,” will have the biggest day of her life later this year.

Angel, who was born with cerebral palsy, is soon marrying her partner Aaron.

And she’ll have a big financial boost from Locals Supporting Locals to make it happen.

The group’s founder, Kevin Proteau, is holding a launch party next week for his fifth annual calendar, which he introduced in December.

“They’re very unique calendars. As one of our sponsors said, this is the mother of all calendars,” Proteau said.

The calendar highlights events and festivals in the South Okanagan and features individual small businesses.

Angel is also working for Locals Supporting Locals to sell calendars with Proteau in the community, who said she’ll receive half of the profits.

“Kevin was looking for someone who would love to sell the calendars,” Angel said. “Well I’m a people person, as Aaron knows… I’ve been looking for another job because we love to travel.”

“I’m just hoping she doesn’t outsell me,” Proteau quipped.

Proteau is hoping his calendar launch party, taking place on Feb. 10 at Penticton’s Craft Corner Kitchen can sell out. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

The event will include about $2,000 dollars in prizes and will feature local performers, including acoustic artist Jarrett Lobley.

“I think in this world of globalization, we need to kind of break down into smaller pieces and take care of each other more,” Lobley said.

More information on the launch event can be found here.

Help heal Layla
Josh Winquist - Jan 31 - Get Involved

Image: GoFundMe

With big, light-blue eyes and chubby cheeks, when Layla smiles the world smiles along with her.

The 17-month-old and her mother will be travelling to BC Children’s Hospital for an undetermined period of time for treatment.

Layla, it seems, becomes very ill with just about everything she eats.

“She wouldn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes day or night; would have dozens of mucus-filled bloody diapers a day; projectile vomiting; hives, rashes, reflux, eczema, (there was) so much pain and suffering.”

Layla’s diet consists of five things: Three safe veggies, bananas and breast milk.

When Layla was born, her mother quickly realized the foods she was eating were making Layla ill through her breast milk.

Layla’s mother began a total elimination diet and, with the right combination of foods, Layla became a happy, smiley baby who gained weight, had clear skin, slept, smiled and laughed.

Now that Layla is getting older, her mother’s breast milk is no longer enough and hasn’t been for months.

“She goes right back to the sick baby she used to be with every new food trial.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with mounting bills.

The mother posted on the page: “I’m unable to work because to keep Layla from starving, I stay home and breastfeed hourly. Soon we are travelling again to children’s hospital, this time to admit Layla for an unknown period of time. We have been twice already and are hoping the third time is the charm for finding some answers!”

The family can no longer keep up with expenses. They have spent their savings on “failed attempts at formulas, foods, supplements, naturopaths, testing, travelling to Dr.s, expensive diets…”

According to the GoFundMe page, Layla has a confirmed immune deficiency; although, doctors don’t think that is causing her food issues.

Her mother spends every day researching and trying to figure out what is going on.

“Layla’s allergy testing has been negative. There are many alternative tests, probiotics etc., that I want to try but are hundreds of dollars which we can’t afford.”

Just like any mother, Layla’s mom only wants what is best for her daughter.

“We have no savings and don’t know how we will afford our upcoming trip to Children’s Hospital. I want to be able to do absolutely everything possible to get my sweet girl healthy and living the life she deserves!”

The Vernon area family is hoping to raise $2,000 through the GoFundMe page to help with expenses and travel.

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