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Passion for giving back

The Volinspire Volunteer of the Week is back – and this week it's Jenny Agar.

What inspires you to volunteer?

I grew up in a small town with a strong sense of community, which I believe is why I am so passionate about volunteering. I enjoy making a positive difference in the community in which I live. I am so proud to work for a company that aligns its values with the values by which I try to live by every day.

Which causes are you most passionate?

I am very passionate about the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, United Way Central & South Okanagan/SimilkameenTerry Fox Run Kelowna, and other events that Prospera Credit Union sponsors or volunteers with. I have friends who have had to stay at Children's Hospital, and the difference the donations make is what allows the hospital to do what they do. I have always been passionate about supporting causes that help or give back to children.

What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?

One event that was created by Prospera staffer Angela Burnell that I believe makes an impact is Bats For A Cause. This softball tournament inspires sponsorship and community participation that helps make our community a better place, and the event has gotten bigger every year. The fundraising we do fort this event goes to BC Children's hospital. Last year, I believe we raised over $80,000!

How can people learn more or get involved?

Volunteer time is always needed by organizations in the community, and I have found Volinspire to be a wonderful platform to get involved and learn more.

Is there anyone you would like to recognize?

I am forever grateful to work for Prospera Credit Union.

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


Tetra can make it happen

Tetra's goal is to create or modify assistive devices for people with disabilities that will help alleviate barriers in all aspects of life (i.e. mobility, communications, or personal care.)

The Tetra Society of North America is a non-profit organization that recruits skilled volunteers to create customized assistive devices catering to those with physical disabilities.

These devices can facilitate education, work, and recreation. We work together to create a customized device that would increase access within households (i.e. modify taps, cutting boards, etc.) and other environments, such as vehicles or places of business.

“Currently, we find ourselves in a unique situation,” says Ean Price, Chapter Coordinator, Tetra Society, Kelowna “as the number of skilled volunteers available to take on projects outnumbers the available projects.”

Price explains, “We at Tetra are trying to reach potential clients to let them know who we are, what we do, and how we can help.”

Tetra clients can be anyone from infants to seniors, or anyone in between, at any level of physical disability.

No challenge given Tetra’s volunteers is deemed too great or too small. “In short, customized assistive devices. created by Tetra focus on improving quality of life,” comments Price.

To inquire about what Tetra volunteers can do for you, simply contact your nearest Tetra chapter using the “Find a Chapter” feature on their website www.tetrasociety.org.

For people in the Kelowna area you can call Ean Price, Chapter Coordinator, Tetra Society, Kelowna at (250) 863-0650 or send an email to [email protected]

Local students to give back

Students in Grades 1-3 from Shannon Lake Elementary learned an important lesson in giving last week when they donated more than $2,000 to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation as part of their participation in Enactus Okanagan College’s CANsave program. 

Five classes from Shannon Lake took part in CANsave, which is a financial literacy program developed by Okanagan College students to teach primary students the importance of saving for themselves, saving for their future and saving to help others in need. 
The Enactus team partnered with Valley First, a Division of First West Credit Union, to help further the students’ understanding of how saving can help others. Valley First’s sponsorship of the CANsave program allowed the students to have a larger impact on the charity of their choice, in this case the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. In addition to the $2,000 the students were able to give thanks to Valley First’s support, they also contributed more than $225 of their own money to support the foundation. 

“Valley First is very proud to partner with Enactus Okanagan College to deliver financial literacy programming to over 100 classrooms and 2,500 students in the Okanagan in this school year,” says Marion Henselwood, branch manager at Valley First’s Vintage Hills branch. “It’s a testament to the high demand for financial literacy programs and the important role financial education plays in setting our youth up for success.”

In total, $30,000 will be donated to local charities through the CANsave program, with over half of that money already given to a wide range of local initiatives.

“We are so grateful to the students who chose to support the hospital through their CANsave fundraising,” says Chandel Christie, Annual Programs Officer at the KGH Foundation. “The students speak so maturely about money after participating in this program and it’s so inspiring to see how excited they are to donate the funds to help sick kids get better.”

CANsave has grown since its inception a year ago, and is now being used by teachers in every single province and territory in Canada, impacting almost 100 distinct communities. In the Okanagan, more than 2,500 students have completed CANsave this year, while that number exceeds 6,200 students nationally.

“The growth of CANsave has been an inspiring experience to be a part of,” says Cody Troutman, Enactus Okanagan College founding member of CANsave. “Our community partnerships have helped us grow the program beyond our expectations for the first year.”


New steamer a huge help

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s staff were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Morningside Rotary Club with a timely gift of a commercial steamer to help prepare over 600 meals per day.

The shelter relies on a steamer to cook their eggs, potatoes, vegetables, rice and pasta. They were distraught when it broke down with the big Easter banquet coming up.  With the limited stoves and stove tops, they weren’t sure how they would cook the 300lbs of potatoes that the banquet required. This is when the Morningside Rotary Club stepped in. After hearing about the breakdown they purchased a brand new steamer at the cost of $5,000.

Kitchen Manager Mandy Phillips said, “I was overwhelmed and very excited to see the new, improved steamer.  We cook between 500 and 600 meals everyday so this was a huge blessing to us.  As a bonus, it is superior to our last steamer as cooks twice as fast and doesn’t need to be filled up with water manually.  We couldn’t be happier!”
Mike Morrison, Development Director and member of Morningside Rotary said, “The cooks had come to me in a panic. They didn’t know how they would get through the banquet without a steamer.  When I mentioned it to my Rotary club they didn’t hesitate to provide the funds for a new one.  This was an incredible act of kindness and shows that a small group can make a big difference in our community.” 
Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is extremely grateful for the donation of the steamer which is a major part of serving our meals to people who are without homes or in need.   Please contact the Gospel Mission to donate, volunteer or give an in-kind gift.

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