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Change Starts Here  

Unplug and Play Week

Jan 25, 2015 / 5:00 am
Screens are a part of family life and they play many roles in our technology-based society. It is important for parents to be aware of screen time and strive for a healthy balance with other activities. Here are a few strategies to reduce the screen time battles in your home: 1. No...

Basics for babies

Jan 2, 2015 / 5:00 am
For many families, welcoming a new baby brings joy as well as additional financial obligations. Unfortunately, for some families the basic items needed by their infant are simply beyond reach. Essentials for Life, a program run by the Karis Support Society and funded by United Way, ensures that...

Success By 6

Dec 3, 2014 / 5:00 am
Louise Osmond knows that strong relationships are the foundation to working effectively with children and families. At 24 years old, with a 3-year old toddler and a newborn baby, Louise Osmond became a single parent. With the support of many community agencies and programs she was able to...

Support for seniors

Nov 2, 2014 / 5:00 am
Asking for help is difficult for most people. It can be especially daunting if a senior has always been independent, and then suddenly needs more support because of an illness, injury or other sudden life change. For many years, United Way has helped ensure that assistance is available to...

The engagement equation

Oct 1, 2014 / 5:00 am
It’s interesting when words or phrases become buzz words in our everyday language. One that you may have heard lately is the word ‘engagement'. You may have heard of it in terms of ‘volunteer engagement’ or ‘community engagement'. Let’s look at this...

Leveraging people power

Aug 17, 2014 / 5:00 am
Organizations, by and large, strive for win-win outcomes. The United Way loaned and sponsored representative program goes even further. It is a triple win benefiting individuals, businesses and communities. A Loaned Representative is temporarily loaned from a business to assist during United...

Putting donations to work

Jun 1, 2014 / 5:00 am
With so many charitable organizations seeking public support, donors want to know “how much of my donation actually gets to the people who need it?” United Way helps both non-profit organizations and businesses to achieve their community goals, by providing a hand up. As a broad...

Volunteers are indispensable

Apr 20, 2014 / 5:00 am
It’s fitting that April is the month that we nationally recognize our volunteers: spring brings to mind images of flowers blooming, new growth and with it, new opportunities. Volunteers in turn breathe new life into non-profit organizations like United Way, providing helping hands, friendly...

Success through connection

Mar 6, 2014 / 5:00 am
Connection is a necessary element for living a healthy and successful life. When we are connected to other people and our community, we feel supported, listened to and valued. When we are connected to other people, our struggles, challenges and obstacles appear more manageable and life is brighter....

Parent conference filling a need

Feb 3, 2014 / 5:00 am
Success by 6®, as a United Way impact initiative, focuses on supporting preventative health and development programs for children six years of age or less and their families. Amanda Turner is the Success by 6 Coordinator and a mother of two boys. Ever questioned whether you are doing...

United Way is about you

Dec 3, 2013 / 5:00 am
Many people are surprised to learn that there are more than 100 local United Ways in Canada. Each United Way serves multiple communities within their territory. In the Okanagan region, there are two United Ways: North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap (serving the region spanning from Vernon to Golden ,...

Facilitating community impact

Nov 4, 2013 / 5:00 am
At the United Way, our business is in facilitating Community Impact! Community Impact is lasting change that benefits this amazing place that we all love to live, work and play in. We facilitate community impact in two ways – through consultation and participation. In terms of...

Helping kids be all that they can be

Oct 5, 2013 / 5:00 am
United Way has three focus areas that the groups they fund must be working towards: moving People from Poverty to Possibility, Healthy People in Strong Communities and Helping Kids Be All That They Can Be. The Family Place program at Enderby & District Community Resource Centre works in these...

New grants for charities

Aug 6, 2013 / 5:00 am
There is new funding for charities that make an impact in the Central Okanagan, thanks to United Way. The application can be downloaded at unitedwaycso.com or by calling 250-860-2356. Charities are encouraged to submit their applications quickly; those received at the United Way office by September...

Unity House: healthy connections

Jul 2, 2013 / 5:00 am
The United Way’s mission is to improve lives and build communities by engaging individuals and mobilizing action. The Canadian Mental Health Association is one of the United Way’s community partners that focus on building healthy people and strong communities. This is one of three areas...

Moving from poverty to possibility: Jim's story

Jun 2, 2013 / 5:00 am
Jim Paduch was a regular working guy for most of his life. Had a good paying job, a wife, family and friends. Then, during the 1980s Jim started using drugs. In order to live the drug life he began selling drugs and thus, Jim spent ten years in the drug sub-culture. However, as with almost any...

Changes & the charitable sector

Apr 28, 2013 / 5:00 am
When I tell people I grew up in West Kelowna, the question that often follows is, “You must have seen a lot of change, eh?” And indeed it’s very true. When I attended Westbank Elementary, there was no couplet highway, mega-stores or double-laned highway to the Lower Mainland. For...

Giving back: Part 2

Jan 20, 2013 / 5:00 am
In my last column, I talked about finding a rewarding way to give back to community. This week’s topic is choosing the cause you will support. We all make careful choices about where we put our time and money. There are hundreds of causes and organizations saying “pick me!”...

Giving back: Part 1

Jan 6, 2013 / 5:00 am
In this column and the next one, I will share ways of ensuring a satisfying experience when giving back to community. This week, I focus on important questions to ask yourself. Next time, we turn our attention on questions to ask of the causes and organizations you may give to. Giving back to...

Hampers for Holidays

Dec 23, 2012 / 5:00 am
This time of year, many families struggle with expenses. It’s not just being able to buy presents and serve a turkey dinner; with utility costs going up, many families fear they won’t get through the winter. Every little bit of help can make a difference, and when families feel...

360 Degree Young Professionals

Dec 9, 2012 / 5:00 am
There are many ways for young professionals to contribute their time, energy and talent to their communities. However, not all volunteer opportunities are designed to meet the unique needs of people in their 20s and 30s. Non-profit organizations in Kelowna are evolving in order to gain access to...

Inn from the Cold

Nov 25, 2012 / 5:00 am
As a former shelter worker, I was often asked “what happens if the shelter is full?” That question comes up every day at Inn from the Cold, Kelowna’s winter homeless shelter . “The first night we opened this year we were at 29 guests and our capacity is 35 guests. In...

Those who serve

Nov 11, 2012 / 5:00 am
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “it is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced with the ideal of service.” On Remembrance Day, we take time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of those who have served (and are currently serving) our country. There...

Community Living Month

Oct 28, 2012 / 5:00 am
This column was submitted by the Kelowna and District Society for Community Living in acknowledgement that October is Community Living Month in British Columbia. Eleanor Roosevelt said: "The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get, but what you give." ...


Oct 14, 2012 / 5:00 am
This column was guest written by Aimee Jensen, a social work student from UBC Okanagan, who spent her summer working at United Way, thanks to a Canada Summer Jobs Grant from Service Canada. Ten years ago, Kelowna resident Jackie Douglas was living a life with addiction. At the time...

Essentials for women

Oct 6, 2012 / 5:00 am
The United Way is pleased to welcome NOW Canada as one of our newest Community Partners! When a community need is urgent, and resources are limited, non-profit organizations innovate to make change happen. That’s exactly what is happening in the Essentials Program at NOW...

Reducing stigma

Sep 16, 2012 / 5:00 am
Chris Schneider wants to show people how to think, not what to think. This Assistant Professor of Sociology from UBC Okanagan especially wants students, and society at large, to think critically about issues like crime, stigma, and media influences. In short, he wants us to question where we...

Campus community

Sep 7, 2012 / 5:00 am
Abdulrahman Alnaar arrived at the UBC Okanagan Campus on September 21, 2009 to study political science. An international student from the Kingdom of Bahrain, he had volunteered extensively through his high school back home (with mentoring and environmental initiatives). Abdul quickly discovered...

Getting involved

Sep 2, 2012 / 5:00 am
Beryl Itani has dedicated much of her time over the years to causes like Snowfest and Sunshine Theatre, but is perhaps most widely known for coordinating volunteers during the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in Kelowna. Now retired, she still volunteers in the Emergency Social Services...

Medwatch miracles

Aug 19, 2012 / 5:00 am
Sue Selzler has become a passionate advocate for the program that saved her life. The West Kelowna senior is speaking out about the Medwatch Program, with the hope that other people will benefit in the same way. “It’s the best thing that has come to our community,” says...

Give a memory

Aug 5, 2012 / 5:00 am
Many of my childhood summer memories involve doing something fun with my family. Those summer days and nights seemed endless, filled with camping trips, days at the beach, and long bike rides. Family life has changed in the past few decades. Relationships are more rushed, and many Okanagan...

No hungry children

Jul 22, 2012 / 5:00 am
In a community as prosperous as Kelowna, it is hard to believe that kids can go hungry, and yet child hunger is the biggest issue facing the Kelowna Community Food Bank. Forty percent of the food bank’s clients are under the age of 15. Good nutrition is essential. Nutritionally...

Go green and give

Jul 8, 2012 / 5:00 am
It’s a time honoured tradition with a twist. Along with the usual fundraising activities at the United Way, there is a new and exciting way to raise money that benefits the environment as well. United Way is tackling the growing problem of electronic waste and literally turning it into...

Making memories

Jun 24, 2012 / 5:00 am
When I was a kid, summer camp was a total blast. Being away from home and running around the woods with a band of other kids is one of my favourite childhood memories. I had the opportunity to try things I had never done before, like sailing and archery. We stayed up all night playing a wild game...

Gardens to go

Jun 10, 2012 / 5:00 am
There is something very gratifying about knowing that the carrot or beet you are eating was nurtured by your own hands. Increasingly, social service programs are recognizing that people need access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as a component of good health and well-being. Community garden...

Words and Wine

May 27, 2012 / 5:00 am
I used to believe that literacy meant a person could read. That was before I got to know the folks at Project Literacy Kelowna Society (a United Way funded Community Partner Agency) and learned that literacy is a much broader spectrum of abilities beyond reading and writing. Many of us take our...

Gently used generosity

May 13, 2012 / 5:00 am
There are a lot of places in the Central Okanagan where you can donate your second-hand stuff, and we all seem to have a lot of it to get rid of. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to donate these goods, which will free up your space, and help someone else. Some of these ways will...

Under the surface

Apr 29, 2012 / 5:00 am
When we think of elite athletes, what comes to mind is someone at the top of their game. To be at the peak of health and performance, and to achieve success and public admiration at a young age, is something that most people would consider desirable. What goes on under the surface of such...

Where charity starts

Apr 15, 2012 / 5:00 am
We have all been inspired by the creators of charitable organizations. From celebrities like Bono to local role models (such as Alaina Podmorow of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan), there are many amazing people motivating others to join together for a cause. United Way receives...

More than breakfast

Apr 1, 2012 / 5:00 am
Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day for Peachland residents– it’s the most important meal of the week. And if you are a fan of a big, hearty breakfast with great company, you will be delighted to discover the Jerry Dober Sunday Breakfast at the Peachland Wellness...
About the Author

The mission of United Way is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.

We call this our Community Impact Mission. Community impact is about achieving meaningful, long-term improvements to the quality of life in Canadian communities, by addressing not just the symptoms of problems but also getting at the root causes. It’s about making fundamental changes to community conditions.

United Way is achieving this mission by moving people from poverty to possibility, promoting healthy people and strong communities, and supporting all that kids can be.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.