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Kelowna  

ChangeUP in the Okanagan

The top change makers in the Okanagan were acknowledged at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Thursday, with 12 finalists pitching their ideas at Kelowna’s inaugural ChangeUP.

The finalists represented youth-led ventures, non-profits, for-profits and charities as they vied for $20,000 in prizes, in areas as diverse as financial literacy for low-income individuals to helping businesses decrease their carbon emissions.

Audience members then voted for their favourite ideas or those they felt would make the most effective change in a positive way. The following are a list of winners.

Youth-led venture:
Teagan Adams, founder of DooGoods Trading Cards, $600
DooGoods is trading cards that teach children to act locally, think globally and make a difference in the world through simple actions.

“Let’s create a generation of upstanders and not bystanders and put an end to bullying and make caring cool,” Teagan told the audience.

For-Profit:
Jeff Hoffart, ED-ucation Publishing, $1,000ED-ucation Publishing is founded on the premise that people learn from stories. The company creates books and curriculum to teach and empower the next generation of youth change agents. Its first published book is A is for Action.

Non-Profit:
Ailsa Beischer, Central Okanagan Food Policy Council’s Fruit Tree Project, $3,000
Thousands of families rely on food assistance yet often food in our community goes to waste. The Fruit Tree project aims to change this by having volunteers pick leftover fruit and vegetables from peoples’ homes and gardens to donate to food banks and charities. Last year, the Fruit Tree Project picked 17,000 pounds of fruit, which was shared with 22 charities.

Established Registered Charity:
Michael Wendland, Metro Up, $6,000
Metro Up provides a financial literacy  and matching grants program for low income individuals to move forward in life. Metro Up is helping people to save money to continue their education, starting a small business, and more.

“It’s a huge honour just to be acknowledged for social impact and helping our community,” says Michael Wendland, cofounder of Metro Up, on winning. “I know the dollars are going towards helping those less fortunate than us, to move forward in life so I’m just excited for that.”

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