Early childhood support, community outreach and food security are some of the themes that stand out in the latest list of social sector projects receiving funding through Columbia Basin Trust’s Social Grants. The Trust recently approved nearly $1 million in funding for 28 projects that address social well-being in the Basin.
“We are committed to improving the social well-being of Basin residents, and our grant program works with the social sector that brings about these positive changes. It’s really quite remarkable the work that these groups take on and how it contributes to the health of all of our communities,” said Liz Gillis, Columbia Basin Trust Manager, Social Initiatives.
The Entry to Early Childhood Education pilot project is one of the grant recipients. The Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society in Windermere will develop a 15 week program to help 12 students prepare for their Early Childhood Educator Assistant certificate. The project combines BC Child Care Occupational Standards with ?Akisq’nuk Nation values, beliefs, traditions, teachings and ways of being.
“This funding support is making it possible for individuals interested in early childhood education and related fields of study to step onto a career path that can enhance their lives and the lives of children and families within the Columbia River Valley,” said Kathy Bonell, lead instructor and owner of Rural Communities Early Childhood Institute. “Students who have registered in the program are as excited as we are about this incredible opportunity,” added Carrie Rickards, general manager of the Little Badgers Early Learning Program which is operated by Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society.
Another funding recipient is the Robson Valley Support Society in Valemount. Their Community Advocate and Outreach Program will help people access government and community services and programs to improve their independence and participation in society. It will also help connect their clients with the appropriate services and programs to improve their quality of life.
“Through this grant, we will be able to help community members identify and overcome obstacles as they access support services,” said Peter Doukakis, executive director of Robson Valley Support Society. “We are excited to have the opportunity to help residents make the right decisions, find resources to overcome barriers and inspire them to make improvements in their lives.”
North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society received approval for their two-year Harvest Share Food Recovery Program which will oversee a wide range of operations enhancing food security in Kaslo and Area D. The society will manage donor relationships, volunteers, the community garden, organize educational events and partner with other organizations to foster food security and support clients to find long-term solutions.
“The folks who most benefit from the Harvest Share Food Recovery Program are residents with limited finances,” said Helen Lutz, executive director of the North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society. “Our next phase will broaden our work into other segments of the population. We will work with local businesses and farmers around food donation, strengthen residents’ employment skills through food preparation and growing, foster community well-being through shared events and experiences, reduce bear attractants in the Village of Kaslo, and explore options for program sustainability.”
The Trust has distributed more than $5 million to improving social well-being in our communities since starting the social grants program in 2012. The Social Grants Evaluation Committee reviews the applications and makes the granting recommendations. The Committee is a volunteer group of Basin residents that includes individuals who have experience and expertise in the social sector and individuals who have broader community development experience.
View all funded projects here.