Imagine leaving your war-torn homeland with the clothes on your back and arriving in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language. Add poverty, extremely low levels of literacy, unemployment, isolation, mental health issues, trauma and hopelessness to that mix and that is where Umoja Operation Compassion Society steps in.
A $20,000 grant from the Envision Financial Community Endowment Fund assists Umoja in offering programming to minority immigrants and refugees from all around the world. Citizens from Egypt, Somalia, Burma, Uganda, Botswana, Yemen and Russia, to name a few, seek new opportunities and a new life here in Canada.
KVR Middle School is home to some of the poorest children in Penticton. Serving both English speaking and French immersion students, many inner city students at KVR are without supervision during out-of-school hours and receive their only balanced meal at school.
For the second year in a row, Valley First is pleased to support School District 67’s initiative with another$2,000 Community Endowment grant to promote increased food security and nutrition within the Penticton community.
The Food for Thought Breakfast Program is an integral part of the school and the community it serves. As the economic situation has declined, the need for the program has increased to nearly 80 students each day. Nearly 50 students also receive lunch program services.
While food security worries are not top of mind for young children, too many kids have first hand experience of what it’s like to be hungry.
John Allison Elementary School in Princeton wanted to make a difference for their students and launched the JA Kitchen Kids Program. Thanks in part to a $5,500 Valley First Community Endowment grant last year, the school was able to purchase the kitchen appliances, equipment, and of course, food, to get the project off the ground.
Strong, nurturing relationships are essential to fostering safe, prosperous, healthy communities. Thanks to a recent $10,000 grant from the Envision Financial Community Endowment, the Community Justice Initiatives Association (CJI) was determined to facilitate just that with its established Educating for Peacebuilding program in Langley.
A partnership between the Langley School District and Community Justice Initiatives was born out of the need to create safe schools through an effective, sustainable approach that does not rely upon punishment and isolation to deal with discipline issues. Instead, the focus is on creating a safe, respectful classroom where students are encouraged to share their feelings and be accountable for their actions.
Many abused women and children live at or below the poverty level. The South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) is aiming to change that with a special project in Penticton; thanks in part to a $5,000 Valley First Community Endowment Grant.
The twelve month program, We Nurture the Nourishing Nature of Women is an innovative curriculum that combines personal growth and food security. It does so by encouraging participants to build self-confidence and empowerment skills through practical learning and food safety basics. Women will learn how to garden, prepare and preserve their produce and stretch their food budget while cooking and eating healthfully.
The Canadian Red Cross has its sights set on bringing awareness to bullying. It aims to do just that at Hope Secondary, and Envision Financial is happy to help.
In 2013, Envision Financial provided Red Cross with a $5,170 community endowment grant to support the Red Cross anti-bullying initiative at Hope Secondary.
Students heading back to school are going to face many decisions in regards to bullying over the next school term, and it’s just not those who bully or youth being bullied that have to make tough decisions; bystanders witnessing bullying have decisions to make, too.
The transition into secondary school is a daunting part of every adolescent’s life and grade seven boys and girls are faced with many choices, challenges and changes in their first year of secondary school. To help with this transition, with funding support from the Envision Financial Community Endowment, the YWCA Metro Vancouver has been delivering an after-school program for grade 7 girls and boys in Surrey.
Foodies and healthy eating advocates alike have been praising farm to table efforts for a number of years, and with its Farm 2 School Salad Bar initiative, School District 53 is bringing the health, nutritional and food security benefits of farm to table eating to Oliver Elementary School in Oliver, B.C. “It’s really a community effort,” says Bart Tumlinson, Principal of Oliver Elementary.
Good nutrition fuels both our bodies and our minds. This is what the Kelowna & District Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) firmly believes and is working to enhance among the youth they support in Kelowna through their Connected by 25 Supper Club. The Supper Club is a program that supports at-risk youth (ages 16–24) in their transition to adulthood by providing knowledge, skills and community connections to successfully address issues of food insecurity and hunger.
This program has also helped participating youth become more connected to their community, discover peer support and volunteer opportunities, gain vocational skills and development, and at the foundation of all this, improve their nutrition education and food security.
Research has shown that when people eat alone, they are less likely to eat a nutritious meal. This is especially true for seniors. Peachland Wellness Centre’s Cooking with Company program is working to make sure that seniors in Peachland have access to a healthy meal and social environment, and do not have to eat alone. The program started in fall 2012 with the assistance of a $1,000 Valley First Community Endowment grant and received an additional $1,000 grant last year.