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Our Community: 8,000 flowers handed out on Kindness Day

Victorians walking downtown just over a week ago got an unexpected gesture of kindness — a flower to commemorate World Kindness Day. A Victoria group, KindnessYYJ, marked Friday the 13th by handing out 8,000 flowers all around downtown Victoria.
Bill Purkis, a retired bank manager, gives Tamara McNeil one of 8,000 flowers distributed to unsuspecting recipients during World Kindness Day celebrations in downtown Victoria on Nov. 13.

Victorians walking downtown just over a week ago got an unexpected gesture of kindness — a flower to commemorate World Kindness Day.

A Victoria group, KindnessYYJ, marked Friday the 13th by handing out 8,000 flowers all around downtown Victoria.

Over the past years, recipients have teared up, walked away with a bit more bounce in their step or said the gesture brightened a difficult day. Some recipients asked for flowers to give out to others and one even took an extra one for his parole officer.

“For me, it’s about bringing people together, regardless of how different we may be, by doing something kind for one another just because,” said Angela Frattaroli, who organizes the event.

“The flower represents the start of a chain reaction. While we might not see all the kind things people do for their friends, families, co-workers or strangers, we hope that we can build momentum to create a community of caring and kindness.”

As many as 90 volunteers from all walks of life, from retired bank managers to the Grade 7 class from Rock Heights Middle School, took part.

“My students are all really excited to be a part of this event. They all came rushing in with their permission forms for the field trip on Friday,” said Hilary Gibson, one of the Grade 7 teachers. “It’s a great opportunity for them to give back to the community and to see how a random act of kindness can put a smile on someone’s face.”

The group promotes kindness every day of the year and has created the hashtag #KindnessYYJ, so residents can share stories of random acts of kindness.

Free family concert comes to conservatory

The Victoria Conservatory of Music hosts Barney Bentall in a free family concert sponsored by Island Savings today.

Bentall will be joined by other musicians including his son, Dustin Bentall, and fellow Canadian country music star Ridley Bent.

The country-themed concert, curated by Daniel Lapp, artistic director of the School of Contemporary Music at the conservatory.

Free admission. Doors open at 2, the concert starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, 900 Johnson St. For a full program of events, go to

New wheels for a hole-in-one

Brent Wilson will receive a new 2015 Subaru XV CrossTrek from Saunders Subaru for a hole-in-one he made while playing in the Battle the Elements golf tournament for the TLC Fund for Kids.

The charity, an initiative of radio station 100.3 The Q, raised more than $5,000 at the tournament, which took place at the Olympic View Golf Club this month. For more information, go to

Program offers help for lonely seniors

The holidays can be a time when feelings of loneliness and loss surface for seniors. The Silver Threads Service has partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association, B.C. Division, to offer a program, Living Life to the Full, to seniors.  

At the program, seniors will be taught strategies to deal with feelings when they are fed up, worried or hopeless. Using Cognitive Behavioural Principles, participants will learn how to reverse negative habits and develop new processes to rebuild happiness.   

The four-week program starts on Thursday. Topics include:

• Nov. 26: Why do I feel so bad/I can’t be bothered doing anything
• Dec. 3: Why does everything always go wrong/I’m not good enough
• Dec. 10: How to fix almost everything/The things you do that mess you up
• Dec. 17: Are you strong enough to keep your temper/10 things to do to feel happier straight away

The program costs $25. It runs 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Silver Threads Service, 2340 Richmond Rd. To register call 250-388-4268 or go to

CRD arts program taking grant applications

Are you a registered, not-for-profit society looking for funding for arts-related programs?

Capital Regional District Arts Development is accepting applications for Innovate, Develop, Experiment, Access (IDEA) and for Project grants.

Project grants provide funding for arts organizations; IDEA grants provide funding for arts-based initiatives by non-arts organizations.

The deadline for Project applications is 4:30 p.m. Jan. 8; deadline for IDEA applications is 4:30 p.m. Jan. 29. Prior to submitting, please contact:
CRD Arts Development, 625 Fisgard St., Victoria, B.C. V8W 1R7, or 250-360-3215.

For more information, go to or visit Feed the Arts in the CRD on Facebook.

Marathon charity program raises $122,000 

The 2015 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon’s CHEK Charity Pledge Program raised more than $122,000.

The top fundraising charity was KidSport Greater Victoria with more than $31,000. Second was Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy with more than $23,000, followed by the Special Olympics B.C. with almost $14,000.

Other charities included the B.C. Cancer Foundation, Greater Victoria Lifetime Networks; Headway — Victoria  Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre; Help Fill A Dream Foundation of Canada; James Bay Community Project; Mount St. Mary Hospital Foundation; Move Adapted Fitness and Rehabilitation Society of B.C.; MS Society of Canada; NEED2 Suicide Prevention Education and Support; Pacific Centre Family Services Association; Team Diabetes — Canadian Diabetes Association; USC Canada; Victoria Cool Aid Society; Wounded Warriors Run B.C.; and Young Moms Program — YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria.

The charities raised funds by encouraging individuals to collect pledges for their runs or walks.

The top individual fundraisers were: Milton Cassasco with Special Olympics B.C., almost $7,500; Jennifer Maxwell with Move Adapted Fitness and Rehabilitation Society of B.C, more than $4,000; and Fran Shields with Need2 Suicide Prevention Education and Support, $3,300.

More than $1.5 million has been raised since the pledge program’s inception, and this year 18 charities joined the program. Applications for the 2016 program will be accepted after Nov. 30. For more information, go to

Barbers cut to aid ailing colleague 

Status Barbershop is hosting Christmas Cuts for Cancer next Sunday. The event is a fundraiser for fellow barber Joy Hamilton, who has just been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Ten barbers and stylists will offer their services by donation with 100 per cent of the proceeds going directly to Hamilton’s living expenses and lengthy recovery.

The event runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 at the barber shop, 1010 Yates St. (behind Moxie’s Grill).

Hotels ease transition for homeless people

Six local hotels have donated toiletry packages to homeless people moving into permanent homes as part of the Greater Victoria Streets to Homes Program, a community collaboration run by Pacifica Housing Advisory Association.

The Fairmont Empress, Hotel Grand Pacific, Delta Hotel, Chateau Victoria, Victoria Marriot Inner Harbour and Magnolia Hotel & Spa have collected welcoming baskets containing shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and body lotion to help new residents make the transition from the streets into a new home.

“We are thrilled over the generosity of local hotels. It’s gestures such as this that make Victoria such a great place to live,” said Dean Fortin, executive director at Pacifica Housing.

“When people band together with acts of kindness, addressing the very real issue of homelessness begins to feel more like the community effort it is.”

The program moves adults experiencing chronic homelessness directly into stable, private market housing for $7,500 per year — half the cost of emergency shelters. The program currently assists 125 adults with permanent housing in the private market. Streets to Homes provides rental supplements and individualized support workers to help participants stay housed. For more information, go to