Kiwanis Grants $185,000 to Support Vulnerable Local Youth

KELOWNA, BC, – May 18, 2021.  The Kiwanis legacy of supporting the health and well-being of local youth continues, with over $185,000 in community grants to be awarded in 2021.

“Our mission is more important than ever, especially given the added challenges our local young people have had to grapple with this past year,” says Wendy Falkowski, Kiwanis Legacy Fund (KLF) Committee Chair.  “These projects are so needed and we know that they will have an impact in supporting some of our communities most vulnerable youth.”

“This year, the KGH Foundation KLF committee was able to approve five grants for funding with a dedicated focus on supporting youth and child mental health initiatives, including:

  • The Benvoulin Housing Initiative, operated by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Kelowna, provides 18 self-contained, safe, secure, affordable studio suites to young adults (age 16- 24) in need, many of whom are under the care of the Ministry of Children & Family Development. The grant provided by Kiwanis will fund a Youth Mental Health Navigator who will be instrumental in providing education and development in life skills, on-site supports and connection to community services.
  • The Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) Resilient Families Program provides trauma support and health and wellness resources to struggling youth and families. The Kiwanis funding helps to support a Resilient Families Coordinator to build and manage the program, as well as provide on-site counselling and crisis management for victims and non-offending families.
  • Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) will be implementing Text Lifeline for Youth, as youth have expressed this is a preferred option for communication. KCR centralizes calls from four local and national crisis and suicide lines to ensure Central Okanagan youth speak to an individual in their home community.  The Kiwanis grant will support a Part-Time Coordinator to build, supervise and market the new texting service as well as recruit and oversee training of crisis line responders.
  • The Interior Health Adolescent Psychiatric Unit’s Wellness Support Project provides much-needed necessities to support safe daily living for those youth impacted by homelessness and poverty in the community.  The grant will fund essential items such as backpacks stocked with personal hygiene products, socks, undergarments, hats, bus tickets, blankets, sunscreen, masks and sanitizer, among many other necessities, for those living on the streets or impacted by poverty.
  • Kelowna General Hospital Pediatrics Wellness Support Project provides coping tools to pediatric patients with mental health concerns.  The Kiwanis grant will fund items that will help staff provide positive coping strategies and patient comforts to promote calming and healing including hygiene supplies, stress coping tools and weighted blankets.

The Kiwanis Legacy Endowment Fund was established in 2017 following the sale of the Kiwanis Tower. Annual proceeds from the historic $4 million endowment gifted to the KGH Foundation are dedicated to supporting local healthcare programs and projects to benefit the Central Okanagan’s children and youth.  Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class healthcare close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the interior of B.C.  Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

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