The Warmer Side of Chill
CHILL is a "learn to ride" snowboard program that is targeted at youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in such activities. Although the Prince George CHILL program targets underprivileged young people aged 12-18, that demographic is further narrowed to select youth who may be deemed "at-risk" and therefore involved with such services as the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Intersect Youth and Family Services, mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment, Aboriginal Youth Mentoring, the youth justice system, Carney Hill Neighborhood Centre, the Native Friendship Centre and the Reconnect Youth Shelter. The CHILL program has a significant impact on these youth for many reasons such as; it allows the youth to accomplish goals they would never have thought they could, it builds healthy relationships, self esteem, self-confidence, healthy lifestyles and life skills. As a result of the participants learning to snowboard with their service providers. a much stronger professional/client relationship is created and thus promotes stronger holistic services for children in our community.
Bridging a Gap
The Prince George and District Senior Citizens Activity Centre Society is home to an active group of Prince George Seniors. Whether its supporting the good work they do to promote a healthy active lifestyle, or enhancing their opportunities for meeting and socializing, the Prince George Community Foundation is proud to contribute to making a difference for our seniors in this community. Last years' grant of $2500 assisted with the purchase of 12 bridge tables, 10 chairs, a new slicer and miscellaneous kitchen supplies which were very much
needed. The centre, being a society, relies heavily on grants to help maintain services to the Senior population,both members and non-members. Its amazing just how far these contributions go to make a difference in what services can be offered.
The Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum and the Prince George Community Foundation have a longstanding partnership of working together in the community on projects that will enhance the community forever. When they applied in the fall of 2011 for a grant to enhance the access to the Yalenka Bunkhouse which houses the historic chainsaw display, it seemed a natural project for the Foundation to be involved in. Together with a team of youth from Katimavik and assistance from labourers from DART (Drug Awareness Recovery Team) and Future Cents SWAMP (Seasonal Worker and Maintenance Program), the project was completed in time for "Accessibility Day" on September 24, 2011. This was a day where all residents and visitors were invited to join the inclusive community of the Railway Museum.
This is No High School Party
When emergency room doctor Pat Turner brings his slides to show high school students what can happen to accident victims, the shock value always leaves a lasting impression.
There's an image of a stab-wound victim with his chest cavity wide open to reveal the puncture wounds to his heart that led to his death. Another slide shows a man who wasn't wearing a seat belt with his lacerated scalp peeled back after he hit the windshield of a car in a head-on collision. Some students react with open-mouth horror, while others feel faint and have to leave the room, where a waiting nurse in the hallway is there to attend to them.
This day-long field trip to University Hospital of Northern BC is no high school party. It's an attempt by the volunteer-driven P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) to deliver the stark reality that injuries are the No. 1 cause of death in teenagers.
"None of it is made up, it's all things we see coming through emergency," said Turner.
"It's not dramatization and they need to know when they're involved in a trauma, it's not pretty. The purpose of the day here is partly to shock and partly to educate that it's predictable and preventable, it's all about good decision-making.
"This program is the best part of my week, I love it. Here we have the opportunity to affect a whole group and hopefully they will go home and pass that on to their family and friends. It increases the discussion about trauma and playing safely and trying to avoid alcohol when they're involved in these activities. If we could cut down on one injury from each school every year, we would be ahead."
The day starts with Prince George RCMP spokesman Gary Godwin discussing safe driving and what can happen in accidents which involve alcohol or if people fail to use seat belts or helmets. Godwin also points out how the risk of an injury increases when drivers are speeding, fatigued, or if they get distracted using cell phones while driving.
Students are broken into four groups to tour the hospital emergency room, intensive care unit, morgue and chapel, where they experience a mock funeral for a young child killed in an accident.
BC Ambulance Service paramedic Courtney Ethier leads her group into the emergency ward where a male body lies covered on a table with its toes exposed. She peels back the sheet to reveal an anatomically-correct model of man to demonstrate some of the first-aid techniques paramedics use to keep seriously-injured accident victims alive.
In the morgue, P.A.R.T.Y. tour guide Corinne Wiebe showed students the room where family members go to identify deceased accident victims and the freezers where bodies are stored. She opened one of the doors to slide out an unoccupied tray, then led the tour to the adjacent autopsy table, showing students post-mortum tools most had only seen before on TV episodes of C.S.I.
Using rubber gloves, Wiebe dipped her hands into a bucket and picked up a human brain that was donated to the hospital for study purposes.
A touch of levity is added to the tour when P.A.R.T.Y. facilitator Lynn Primus selects some students to wear the "drunk goggles" which simulate how vision is impaired when a person has been drinking alcohol. Two students are asked to walk a straight line and attempt to high-five each other as they meet in the middle of the room. Then they play a simple game of throwing and catching a ball, with predictable and amusing results.
Lunch time involves student simulating disabilities of accident victims as they eat blindfolded or try to hold a sandwich while wearing oven mitts. The tour ends with people who have experienced traumatic injuries or were left brain-damaged after a drug overdose telling students what led to those accidents to illustrate how their lives have been forever changed, and what could have prevented those injuries.
One student said she was nervous about going on the P.A.R.T.Y. tour, but the message it delivered made the trip to the hospital entirely worthwhile.
"It did scare me at first, because I hate horror movies and I don't like seeing people mangled up," the student said.
"The pictures show that this can happen to you if you don't wear your seat belt or get in the car of a drunk driver. I don't understand why people put themselves in those situations, it's not worth the risk. Hopefully it will make people think twice before they do something stupid."
Courtesy of Ted Clark, Prince George Citizen staff
P.A.R.T.Y. is very grateful for the $1,100 grant from the Prince George Community Foundation. It was truly helpful in providing this program to our local students and saving families the anguish of accidents or even death.
Ancient Forest Universal Boardwalk gets a little help from Community Foundation
Caledonia Rambler hiking enthusiast Nowell Senior wanted to make the Ancient Forest accessible to everyone, including those with mobility issues, keeping his Duchess Park special needs students in mind as he organized the Universal Boardwalk project.
A magnificent woodland stream is the destination of the 400-metre boardwalk trail complete with a platform ideal for viewing, said Senior.
There is 120 metres of the boardwalk built and the remaining 280 metres will be completed by October 2012.
"What we've noticed is since the Ancient Forest trail opened in 2006 it's become a very popular place for families to visit yet it's out of reach for a segment of our population," explained Senior, who has worked with special needs students for 21 years.
As part of the fundraising effort to ensure the boardwalk would be built Senior and the Caledonia Hiking Club applied for a Prince George Community Foundation grant that would help make the boardwalk a reality.
"The Prince George Community Foundation is very highly regarded in our community and our club feels very privileged that they share our vision of making the Ancient Forest as inclusive as possible," said Nowell Senior. "Last year the Community Foundation contributed $1,200, and this year they gave $2,500."
The circle route trail at the Ancient Forest is not suited for a wheelchair accessible boardwalk so Senior said at the bottom of the circle if you draw a tangent line, it follows a route that's almost completely flat and 400 metres from the parking lot is a beautiful stream. After the stream the terrain is too steep to build a boardwalk, he added.
"People can enjoy the stream and it's just a very nice place to be," said Senior.
Over the last two years $42,500 has been contributed to the Universal Board Walk and Senior said he's very grateful.
"The Ancient Forest is such an incredible place and I need to share it with others," said Senior. "Since the trail opened people have signed in at the trail head from 27 countries, 12 provinces and territories of Canada and 33 states from the U.S. The comments they've made about the unique area are so incredible and I just like to feel that if the Ancient Forest is so well loved by so many people then I would just like to extend that a little further to those people who without the boardwalk could not get in and experience that forest."
Senior's students have been involved with the Ancient Forest Universal Boardwalk project from the very beginning and have made several visits to work and enjoy it.
"My students have helped me install all the interpretive signs along the trail," said Senior. "I will definitely be making a special trip on the day that we open with my students."
'O' is for Opera, 'O' is for Opportunity
It was quite a coup for the Prince George Cantata Singers to host the 2011 Chorfest in May. The provincial choral weekend is administered under the umbrella of the BC Choral Federation and every year a different community in BC is honoured to host it. "After several attempts, we were finally successful in our bid to host the event again. It took 25 years for it to return to Prince George," commented Evelyn Lee, member of the bid committee. "We were thrilled to host the event, and see all the talent come to Prince George for the second time".
Chorfest is an opportunity for singers to rehearse and perform together and participate in workshops. Three workshops were offered for the singers' participation. Two were adjudicated by Kevin Zakresky, a Prince George alumnus who is considered a true prodigy in the choral community. Zakresky is a graduate of Kelly Road Secondary School, and a past performer with the PGSO. He achieved is MMA degree with distinction from Yale University in 2008. Zakresky led the workshops "Singing in Italian" and "Vocal Health". Another workshop on choreography, "Step to the Left," was adjudicated by Kristin Helfrich, another successful Prince George resident.
The singers also had the opportunity to perform with a symphony orchestra, which is something most never get the opportunity to do. "We partnered with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra for this event and Leslie Dala, concertmaster for the symphony, directed the assembly" commented Lee. "The choir members were thrilled with the opportunity," she added.
The theme for the weekend was "O is for Opera," and Dala worked with the performers to put on an exceptional entertainment spectacle for his final performance with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. Special guest soprano Sarah Kirsch joined the group for an amazing performance.
Out-of-towners felt like royalty as they were wined and dined at several special events, including an opening reception at Two Rivers Gallery, and a "Come as your Favourite Opera Character" banquet at the Civic Centre. Feedback from every one of the 163 participants was very positive. "Many of our singers had never been to Prince George before," commented Lee. "They were absolutely blown away by the city and the hospitality that they were shown".
None of this would have been possible without the contributions of the Prince George Community Foundation, said Lee. " The Community Foundation were our first supporters, and without their funding we could not have gotten other donors on board," Lee noted. She added that the Foundation is well-known in the community for doing their homework and supporting worthy causes, so that support allowed other donor groups to feel confident about their contributions. "The $2,500 that the Prince George Community Foundation provided was vital in the overall budget of $30,000 for this event because of the leveraging it provided," she added. Of the 163 participants for Chorfest 2011, more than 100 were from out of town.
Their contribution to the event, and the local economy was substantial. "We truly appreciate the contributions made by the Prince George Community Foundation and the positive benefits that the Cantata Singers will receive for years to come," concluded Lee.
Family Funds Make a Difference
Mitchell and Andrea Davy wanted a way to give back to their community year after year. In 2007 they decided to establish a family fund with the Prince
George Community Foundation. Knowing the history of the community foundation and the various avenues of support available to donate to, it seemed like a natural fit with the Davy's philanthropic wishes. The creation of this fund has allowed them to present donations to organizations close to their heart.
Now with a growing family they are able to model to their young children the importance of giving and sharing as an important part of being an active citizen
in our society. The oldest two children are now at an age where they can participate with their parents in deciding where this year's donations should go.
One of the benefits of having a fund like this is that their original gift to the fund is held in perpetuity with the annual returns being available to hand out as grants. By involving themselves and their children in the process of deciding where the grants will go, the Davy's are creating a meaningful family legacy for their children to inherit. As a result the Davy Family Endowment Fund will be able to contribute to worthy causes forever. The Davy's hope their example will encourage other families to think about how they might make a long term investment for their community.