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Tournament wraps up

The 7th and Final Annual Basran Charity Open, held this past August, raised $28,332 for the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation and Canadian Mental Health Kelowna.

One of the largest annual golf tournaments in the valley for the last seven years, over 1,400 golfers have participated and $100,000 has been raised for healthcare in our community since the beginning of the Basran Charity Open. Mayor Colin Basran has always kept community impact top of mind.  “Everyone who participates in the event does it to make a difference,” explains Basran.  “Thanks to everyone who has helped me organize this event and who has participated over the years. And thanks to my Grandma Basran for being the inspiration for wanting to raise money to help others. I am so grateful!”

Title sponsors Flaman Fitness and Andre’s Electronic Experts, along with Lake City Casinos, generously contributed cash and prizes.  Combined with dedicated hole sponsors, media support, organizing committee, volunteers and a record-breaking 240 golfers, and the tournament was bound to be a success.

“Colin is very generous and always has the welfare of the community in mind and we’re so grateful for everything he does to support a healthy and vibrant community,” said Doug Rankmore, Chief Executive Officer, Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. “It was a great day of golf, and of giving, and the funds raised will make a real difference for the people in the Okanagan.”

Revenues from the event will be dedicated to KGH’s new Perinatal Unit as well as mental health programs and services that support families at CMHA Kelowna

Thanks for your support

West Kelowna Fire Rescue would like to thank West Kelowna residents for their tremendous generosity during its 19th Annual Food Drive for the Central Okanagan Food Bank. 
This season 390 boxes packed with food and $2,626.81 in cash donations were collected and provided to the Food Bank.
If your home was missed, donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
West Kelowna Fire Rescue Station #31
3651 Old Okanagan Highway
West Kelowna Fire Rescue Station #32
2708 Olalla Road
Central Okanagan Food Bank
#104 - 2130 Louie Drive

$1M Bursary Program

Four years ago, Interior Savings Credit Union announced a bold intention to award $1 million every year for four years to help young students further their education. Yet, every year, money has been left on the table.  The Credit Union sees that changing this year.
According to Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Savings, it took a couple of years to get the word out to young students and families but they’re now seeing the program pick up steam, and quickly. Last year, they received just over 1000 applications from local students, 857 of which were approved to receive a $1000 bursary.
In fact, just last month, Interior Savings surpassed $1 million in awards since launching the program.  The one-thousandth recipient was Kaitlyn Schrauwen from Kamloops.  To celebrate this milestone, Interior Savings surprised Kaitlyn by doubling her bursary award.
Kaitlyn’s reaction, after a moment of stunned silence, was ecstatic. “This is the best news. I don’t even know what to say. I’ve had such a crazy week and with finals coming, I can’t tell you how much it means to have this great opportunity presented to me. This will definitely aid me in the pursuit of a career in medicine.”
Kaitlyn is enrolled in her first year of UBC Okanagan’s Bachelor of Science Program, working towards her Masters in Medicine so that she can become a GP or specialize in radiology. 
“As a locally-based cooperative,” said Conway, “we measure our success by the success of our members and our communities.  This program, while representing a very large financial commitment, has the potential to make a real difference in educating and empowering our next generation of leaders and community builders.”
Students can apply for this bursary until May 1st, 2017 but the Credit Union is suggesting they don’t wait.  It’s only December and they have already received over 400 applications.
To qualify for the bursary is simple – you need only be between the ages of 17-24 and an active member of Interior Savings.  Not yet a member? Students have until February 1st to open up a no-fee chequing account at the Credit Union to be eligible.  To learn more or apply, go to milliondollarbursary.com
Conway added that in the last three years, every person who applied and met the eligibility criteria received a bursary. 

On a charity challenge

This week's Volinspire Volunteer of the Week is Ryan Lancaster.

What inspires you to volunteer?

I believe volunteering is one of the greatest things that anyone can do. It's fulfilling knowing you're making a positive impact on your local community, it's rewarding helping those in need of assistance, the atmosphere is always so inspiring and upbeat, and it's a place where I'm constantly challenged to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.

I have committedto taking on a #CharityChallenge this month. By volunteering at 12 different charities over the holiday season, I hope to connect with some really amazing new charities and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Which causes are you most passionate about?

Mental health and poverty have a personal connection for me. I battled with my own struggles with depression late last year before I started Scale My Life. It took a toll on just about every area of my life and was really difficult to pull myself out of. I really think the Canadian Mental Health Association is doing some positive work to try and address these issues, and I'm always happy when I can support them. 

Poverty is something I was exposed to at a young age as my mom had to struggle as a single parent to take care of my brother and I. We always had enough, but at times things were very tight. I see incredible programs like Mamas for Mamas, Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, Kelowna's Gospel Mission and others, and I am inspired.

What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?

I've seen elderly men and women at the Good Samaritan Canada Mountainview Village who have Alzheimer's and dementia go from being quiet and reclusive to active, smiling and happy just by engaging with them and giving them something positive to do. At Canadian Blood Services, I saw high school students organizing a grad blood drive because they cared enough to become a champion for the cause. I learned about a local girl with an undiagnosed blood disease who is forced to get a transfusion every couple weeks. It's donations like those that help keep her alive. With 10 more charities still left to volunteer with this month, I can't wait to see more positive stories.

How can people get involved?

Whether it's Canadian Blood Services or the BC SPCA, every organization could always use more help. These are places supported and maintained on the kindness of volunteers, but surprisingly, I have found the demand for time in most cases is very small. With just a few hours a week, you can make a massive impact. The simplest thing you can do is help share their message. 

Is there someone else you would like to recognize?

Honestly, if I were to recognize any organization, it would be Volinspire. Its efforts to connect charities and non-profits to caring individuals and businesses is truly inspiring. I hope it continues to grow to one day drive a national or global volunteer movement.

– Do you know an inspiring volunteer? Nominate them for a volunteer spotlight.

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