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Access to literacy programs

Community-based adult literacy programs in the Okanagan are giving people the reading, writing, math and computer skills needed to manage personal finances, join in community activities and help their children with their homework.

"Supporting adult literacy programs that are delivered in the community gives people the confidence and skills to thrive," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "We know that many adults have some difficulty with daily living tasks like calculating medicine dosages or reading the newspaper. That's why we're funding community literacy programs in communities around the province including Kelowna."

The Province is providing $67,043 this year to Okanagan College to support four community adult literacy program partners. The partners are:

* Project Literacy Kelowna Society: $11,765

* Revelstoke Family Literacy Program: $4,943

* Volunteer literacy tutoring program in Revelstoke: $25,535

* South Okanagan Community Literacy Program: $24,800

Okanagan College works with community literacy providers to connect adult learners with the skills they need to build a strong future for themselves, their families and their community. Literacy providers and post-secondary institutions collaborate to support improved outcomes and encourage transition from programs delivered in the community to post-secondary studies.

"Community adult literacy programs help students gain skills and confidence in reading for everyday life, for pursuing employment or for establishing a pathway to further education and training," said Andrew Hay, vice president education at Okanagan College. "Partnership arrangements between the college and community groups, supported by Provincial funding like this, are enabling learners to work with skilled tutors in welcoming and convenient environments, bringing developmental adult education into communities across the region."

Available literacy programs include one-on-one tutoring and small group training for adult learners, often delivered by volunteers. Smaller, community-based literacy programs are well situated to meet the educational needs of adult learners.

A total of $2.4 million for 101 community adult literacy programs will help adult learners in 75 communities in 2018-19.

The government's support of community-based literacy programs is part of its commitment to connect people with the education and training they need to succeed. On Aug. 8, 2017, the Province also made adult upgrading and English language learning programs in B.C. tuition-free.

Quick Facts:

* More than 700,000 adults in B.C. have significant challenges with literacy.

* 45% of adults in B.C. have some difficulty with daily living tasks due to limited literacy skills. Literacy challenges can include difficulty understanding newspapers, reading health information and following instruction manuals.

* 52% of adults in B.C. have difficulty in accomplishing some daily living tasks due to limited numeracy skills. Numeracy challenges can include difficulty calculating interest on a car loan, using information on a graph or calculating medicine dosage.


Concussion Clinic launch

Local non-profit organization, BrainTrust Canada, is launching a social enterprise providing concussion recovery for children and youth ages 5 to 25 who have been diagnosed with a concussion. The BrainTrust Concussion Clinic grew out of a need to serve the growing number of children and youth who sustain concussions and are diagnosed in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and walk-in clinics, but receive no follow-up monitoring or direction. The clinic offers a safe and affordable, medically supervised approach to helping children and youth heal from concussion, so they can get back to regular life as quickly and safely as possible. 
BrainTrust Concussion Clinic physician, Dr. David Rhine, has over 35 years of experience in concussion management. “Whether at home, school or in sport, we are more aware than ever that concussions have a huge impact on our children’s health,” he says.  “A concussion can result in long-term problems if not treated properly. BrainTrust Concussion Clinic fills that gap by walking young people and their families through the process of recovering from concussion from the day of injury to 30 days post-concussion.” The clinic provides immediate assessment, personalized recovery plans, and daily guidance until the child/youth is cleared by the physician to go back to school, sports, and other activities.
“Healing from concussion begins immediately, so it’s important to provide early intervention and guidance right from the start.” says Mona Hennenfent, BrainTrust CEO.   “BrainTrust offers a Safe Start program at a reasonable price point to ensure that all children and youth can afford to receive assessment and specific strategies for their recovery.” 
Ontario recently became the first province in Canada to pass concussion safety legislation following the death of Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old athlete who sustained a concussion during a high school rugby game; it was her second concussion within a week.  Rowan’s Law was passed on March 7, 2018 and draws attention to the reality that concussion is an injury to the brain, and must be taken seriously.
Olympic gold medallist, Kelsey Serwa, knows firsthand the experience of concussion, so deciding to act as BrainTrust Canada’s spokesperson is a choice she’s pleased to make.  “Our brain is our most important asset,” says Kelsey.  “When a child or youth has a concussion, we want to provide them with a safe, effective way to return back to normal life.
BrainTrust Canada is an Okanagan-based, non-profit organization with a mission to bring the issue of brain injury to the forefront, maximize the potential of those who have been affected by brain injury, and reduce preventable brain injury, especially among youth.  BrainTrust Concussion Clinic is a social enterprise whose profits will go back into funding BrainTrust’s brain injury prevention, education, and support programs and services.  For information go to www.braintrustcanada.com/concussion-clinic or call (250) 762-3233 ext. 112.

Water Board recognizes

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) and its Okanagan WaterWise program has wrapped up its valley-wide outdoor residential water conservation campaign “Make Water Work” for another year with the awarding of prizes.

As part of the annual campaign, Okanagan residents are encouraged to visit the Make Water Work website  review a list of water-saving tips, and pledge to conserve. In addition to saving water in our valley, residents are then entered to win prizes. There were three winners this year, one each in the North, Central and South Okanagan. 

Kelsey Powell of Vernon won the $500 in WaterWise irrigation material from ProSource Irrigation Supply, Pam Kirstiuk from Lake Country won $500 in drought-tolerant turf material from Eco Turf Farms, and Summerland’s Holly Dunlop won $500 in plant material from the Make Water Work Plant Collection courtesy of Grasslands Nursery.

“That’s awesome!” Kelsey responded when called with the news. “We put in a raised bed for veggies this year but we really wanted to expand our garden. Putting in the right irrigation will make sure water is getting to only what needs it.” Asked what drew her to the contest she noted: “There needs to be more responsibility by homeowners to take care of what is a finite resource.” Plus, with two young children, there is even more reason to be concerned she added, noting that she and her husband Ryan are already teaching their four-year-old and 16-month-old boys to use water wisely, helping ensure a secure water future for them.

Les Gillespie is with ProSource and added that his company’s partnership in the Make Water Work initiative makes sense. “With water being such a valuable commodity in our region and with today’s advances in products and techniques, we believe that by educating on proper irrigation and installation we can make a difference. We are really proud to be a part of this program,” he added.

As for Pam, she noted the amount of water waste in the dry Okanagan and the need to conserve as her reason for taking the pledge. “I’m on a water meter now and can see how much I’m using, so over the last few years I’ve been doing things to do my part. Make Water Work is a great way to learn ways to do that.” Asked why she chose the drought-tolerant turf prize, Pam explained she has planted a number of drought tolerant plants, including Sedum, lavender, yarrow, hens and chicks, wooly thyme, and more. Plus she has in-ground irrigation and drip irrigation in her garden beds. Re-doing a small part of her yard with drought-tolerant turf for her Chihuahuas Mojito and Tink, “is the last part of the yard that needs doing. It’ll make them very happy!”

Sue and Barry Paull, with Eco Turf, have been a Make Water Work partner since 2014. As for why they’ve stayed with the program, Sue said it’s an easy choice. “We value our environment. By working together, we are able to reach more people with our mutual message of water conservation and raise awareness about how to create beautiful, WaterWise yards in the Okanagan. Plus, we have kids. It’s important to us to lead and set examples for our children, teaching them to make eco-friendly choices and preserve our water.” 

As for Summerland prize winner, Holly, she decided to pledge after seeing an ad on Instagram, not realizing she would be entered to win a prize. “I thought I could do my part to be WaterWise because I try to do these things. I make sure to not water during the day… I talk to my neighbours about xeriscaping…” She lives in an apartment and helps with the gardening, and has even been converting the space to include more low-water variety plants. But, Holly decided to donate the prize to a friend, Melissa Johnson, also from Summerland, who has been xeriscaping her yard.

“This is amazing. It’s amazing that she’d choose me!” said Melissa when told. “She’s quite a giving, thoughtful person. I need to find a way to give back to her.” According to Melissa she started her front yard makeover last spring but there’s more to do. Asked why she took an interest in re-doing her yard, she notes, “I know how in the Okanagan it’s so dry and I don’t want to waste water.”

Thanks to Lauren Forsyth of Grasslands, Holly and Melissa spent Wednesday checking out a wide variety of low-water plants, part of the Make Water Work Plant Collection.

Lauren said that being involved in something where she is making a difference is important to her and her partner Mike Hughes, as well. “We do encourage customers to be WaterWise. There is a concern about water in the Okanagan. So we encourage people to conserve, we promote rainwater capture. The Make Water Work program has been great at helping us extend that message, with the Plant Collection list, the contest, and more.”

OBWB’s Communications Director Corinne Jackson, who manages the MWW program, notes that participation in this year’s campaign exceeded last year’s numbers.

“We had 603 unique entries this year, an increase of 33% over last year,” she said. “That’s great news when we know the need to conserve is an ongoing challenge in our valley.” Of course, for the second year in a row, the Okanagan was hit with flooding followed by drought. “The more we can help residents prepare their landscapes for these two extremes the more resilient our communities will be.”

In addition to the individual contest winners, a “Make Water Work Community Champion” is announced based on the number of pledges a community collects, per capita, each summer. The 2018 champion was announced as part of this year’s OBWB Annual Meeting in August. The City of Armstrong won the title again, after winning in 2015 and 2017. Other community champions have included Oliver in 2014 and Peachland in 2016. And, even though the Annual Meeting was held a month earlier than normal, with one month less to collect pledges, Jackson said the results were phenomenal. “Congratulations to Kelowna and West Kelowna who doubled their pledges this year, and to Coldstream and Lake Country who tripled their pledges!”


Ex Nihilo raises over $19K

Ex Nihilo Vineyards Okanagan Valley Inc. has raised $19,155 for Parkinson Society British Columbia.
The funds were raised through a combination of silent and live auction items that were available at our Fall
Harvest Dinner on Saturday, October 6 at the winery. One hundred per cent of the funds raised will be
donated to Parkinson Society British Columbia.

The Parkinson Society is a charity that is close to Ex Nihilo Vineyard’s partners, Jeff Harder and Janet
Azhadi, as both their fathers were diagnosed with Parkinson. “My father was a private pilot and my memories of weekend flying with Dad were some of my fondest. Today he struggles just putting on a seatbelt. It’s difficult to watch as eating, speaking and walking are very challenging for him.” Harder’s father, who is now in his mid ‘70s, was diagnosed at the age of 28. “We are going to continue to be a part of the Parkinson Society as we want to help and understand the disease. “I do believe that Science and doctors are close to finding the cause and cure,” Harder states. 

For close to 50 years, Parkinson Society British Columbia has served to support and empower people with Parkinson’s and their families and caregivers across the province. Fundraising events like this one help the Society expand its efforts to ease the burden of Parkinson’s through support services, educational resources, awareness and advocacy efforts and research contributions.

This year, they extend their reach to provide support and education services to remote communities
through online resources with hopes to continue to do so until each of the 13,000 people with Parkinson’s
in our province have access to the support they need.

Ex Nihilo Vineyards is located in Lake Country, BC. Established in 2004, we create wines that embody the
essence of our unique location in the Okanagan Valley.

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