Get Involved  

COHA Swinging with Stars

On Saturday evening, the Swinging with the Stars event raised over a quarter of a million dollars for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA). Since the inception of the fundraiser nine years ago, more than 1.4 million dollars has been garnered for this organization through this signature event which is their largest annual fundraising event.

Presented by title sponsor Jane Hoffman Group Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, the event saw local ‘dancing stars’ perform in an Oscar style evening showcasing dances from Hollywood films.

All funds raised this year help support their bereavement program and move to their new Centre at 1890 Cooper Road. The help from the professional dance instructors is so important to this event and they help us keep it going. Event coordinator, Jan Woolsey said the event was a huge success thanks to the amazing participants and the movie theme this year provided a very entertaining evening.

“With dances performed from movies like Grease, Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever that everyone audience knew provided a most entertaining night”, said Woolsey. “We could not produce this event without the amazing support of our local ‘dancing stars’ and the dance community. Our performers sign on with a goal to not only learn and perform a dance routine but also to raise funds with a campaign team in support of COHA.”

This year, the ‘Most Pledges Raised’ trophy was awarded to Alex Lambert, CEO, The Garage Sale Luxury Auction House with a record breaking $85,310 raised. The six dance teams raised over $156,265. Maria Graziano, Owner Bliss Bridal Boutique and her professional dance partner Jaime Cuberos, Latinesque Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio won the Judges’ Choice trophy performing the iconic dance routine to the song, Time of My Life from the movie, Dirty Dancing.

The Audience Choice trophy was won by Wilbur Turner, owner of Kelowna Wine and Art Piano Bar and his partner Albert Ascona, Westjet flight attendant. They wowed the audience with an energetic disco performance from Saturday Night Fever. Their routine was choreographed by Carley Bailey, Canadian School of Ballet.

COHA Executive Director Natasha Girard commented on the nine years of success for this event. “We know we have a truly unique, entertaining and popular event that the entire community enjoys.

It is something people look forward to, something different from our other fundraising events. This is a key to our success and we look forward to our 10th year.“

The event is based on the popular TV show, Dancing with the Stars. Other community dancing stars who performed this year were Lisa and Dave Stephenson, Reg Sahay and Valaura Vedan and Vincent Jones.

$1,500 for Easter Seals

Kylaina Afonso, a financial advisor with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, and her class of CanSave students from Davidson Road Elementary in Lake Country presented a $1,500 cheque to Rick Harker, manager of Easter Seals Camp Winfield. 

CanSave is a partnership between Enactus Okanagan College and Valley First that educates children in grades 2 to 4 about basic money management skills. Valley First makes a donation to the classes’ charity of choice for completion of the program. 

The $1,500 will send one deserving child to camp this summer. 

Celebrating contributors

United Way CSO celebrated the 2016 campaign at Hanna’s on the Waterfront last week. Over 100 community leaders, corporate sponsors, media partners, workplace campaign contributors, volunteers and funded partners were treated to an evening of appreciation thanks to sponsor, Your Dollar Store with More.
As a result of the annual fundraising efforts and provincial funding, a total of $1.45 Million will be invested in the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen communities this year. Last year, United Way invested a similar amount in 51 programs and initiatives delivered by community agencies that support children, youth, families and seniors in the community. More than 85,000 people in 22 communities are impacted by United Way investments in 3 focus areas: supporting all that kids can be, moving people from poverty to possibility and building healthy, strong communities.
“We partner with hundreds of people and organizations throughout the year to strengthen our community. People across the Okanagan are committed to taking care of each other, and it’s encouraging to see the local, community spirit that is helping people who are most in need,” said Kathy Conway, volunteer Chair of the United Way CSO Board and CEO of Interior Savings.
In addition to the social services provided by more than 40 local charities, the United Way investments support strategic initiatives like the new Central Okanagan Family Hub, 100 Homes Penticton Campaign, Emergency Transportation Tickets, Youth Initiative Grants and Child Safety Car Seat initiative. It also includes province-wide projects that United Ways deliver in partnership such as Better at Home and Success by 6.
“We are so thankful to every caring person and company that contributed to this year’s campaign,” said Ian Gerbrandt, Interim Executive Director for United Way CSO. “Our community is filled with everyday heroes. Working together, we can do amazing things to address local challenges that no one organization can solve on its own.”
Individual and corporate donations amounted to $1.25 million in 2016, with 70% of gifts generated by workplace campaigns. At the upbeat appreciation event, over 100 appreciation certificates were prepared for each workplace, corporate and media partner and presented to those in attendance. Locally, this year’s top 3 workplace campaigns were Costco, BMO and Gorman Bros. Lumber.

Walk for Alzheimer's

Last night at The Vibrant Vine Winery, the 2017 Kelowna Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s was launched at a special event promoting dementia awareness. The event was emceed by city councillor Maxine DeHart and featured speakers who shared insights about the dementia journey.  Speakers included Maria Howard, Alzheimer Society of B.C. CEO, Deanna Matthewson, representing this year’s volunteer honourees, and Dr. Andis Klegaris, associate professor at UBC.

Kelowna’s Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s volunteer committee chair Alex DeGrace says, “The event was a powerful reminder about how important it is to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. I urge everyone to join us at the Walk on Sunday May 7, to show support for people living with dementia. Together, we can make memories matter.”

More Get Involved articles