Our Community: Across Canada — on a wooden bike

Zac Wagman will cycle across Canada on a wooden bike for more than four months to bring awareness to the official launch of Project Learning Tree Canada’s Green Ride for Green Jobs campaign.

Wagman, the manager of the program, will cycle more than 8,750 kilometres from Victoria to St. John’s, N.L., on a Montreal-made Picolo Vélo wooden bicycle.

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He will visit up to 50 employers in 30 different communities in nine provinces. Along the way, Wagman will profile more than 25 different youth working in green jobs and share their experiences on social media to highlight the types of careers that exist in the forest, conservation and parks sectors.

Wagman begins his journey at 1 p.m. Monday from the Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 Burnside Rd. West. Project Learning Tree Canada fosters community interest in the benefits of environmental education and responsible management of Canada’s natural resources. For more information, go to pltcanada.org.

Engagement program for seniors a NEAT idea

Saanich Parks and Recreation is working to address social isolation among older adults with a new program called Neighbours Engaging in Activities Together.

The program is offered in partnership with Island Health, the City of Victoria, District of Oak Bay and the Town of Sidney.

The program’s goal is to build self-confidence, create connections and provide a sense of belonging to participants.

Social isolation is a nationwide concern for maintaining the health of older adults. As the population ages, people without strong social connections can become socially isolated. It is recognized that social isolation puts a person at risk for decreased physical and mental health in their senior years.

Social networks are an important part of staying healthy and happy.

The NEAT program is offered at apartment buildings or local meeting spaces, places where people already feel comfortable.

Participants initially get to know each other in a relaxed space with fun ice-breakers and exercises.

After two weeks of leisure education, the participants get to choose activities they would like to experience. These activities can be anything from art to sports and everything in between. Each of the following weeks will include an activity of the groups’ choice.

They will be responsible for their attendance and finding their own transportation, but will be supported by the group. Emerging leaders will be encouraged to take on an ambassador role and help make the group sustainable after the program is finished.

Local Parks and Recreation staff from participating municipalities will maintain a supporting role to the group.

For more information, contact Julie Wallace, Saanich Parks and Recreation, Community Services at 250-475-5408 or julie.wallace@saanich.ca.

Kids need your old skates

Kick-start your spring cleaning by donating gently used skates to local kids who need them at the Skate to Great skate drive on Tuesday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

Skate to Great and FedEx Express Canada have teamed up to collect used skates and hockey equipment — much-needed items for children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to play.

Volunteers from both organizations will be on hand on Tuesday, in advance of the Stars on Ice show at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, to accept donations.

FedEx Express Canada will provide free shipping to get all collected skates and equipment to kids who need them.

Hockey and skating are expensive. Some parents are not financially able to provide their children with the tools and resources for skating and/or hockey.

Similar skate drives will take place in 12 cities across Canada until the end of May

Volunteers will be on hand collecting after 6 p.m. Tuesday (one hour before show time) at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard St. After the kickoff at this location, you can find locations and hours of operation of local drop-off sites until May 31 at skatetogreat.org.

Mental-health champions granted service awards

The Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use South Island Advisory Committee has awarded two Community Service Awards to recognize local mental-health champions.

The awards were presented to retired provincial court judge Ernie Quantz and restaurant owner Lori Tronko during national Mental Health Week.

The two were honoured for their kindness and compassion and how they made supporting people with mental-health and substance-use challenges an extension of their work life.

“By recognizing that mental-health and substance-use challenges are health conditions — and not a sign of weakness or moral failure — we can make it easier for more people to realize they are not alone and reach out for help,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Community champions like Judge Quantz and Lori Tronko are building stronger and more inclusive communities by helping people to feel seen, heard and cared for and by helping people get the support they need to rebuild their lives.”

Each year, the committee works to identify community members who continue to make a difference in the lives of people with mental-health and substance-use challenges. The committee also purchases artwork from artists with lived experience to present to the award recipients.

For more information, go to islandhealth.ca.

Help victims of B.C. wildfires

Four students at Royal Roads University are hoping Victorians will support Beyond the Haze, a class social venture that supports families and victims of B.C. wildfires.

A group, enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management program at the university, has created Beyond the Haze, a social venture, selling branded drinkware that is printed in-house.

The project will operate for a month, with proceeds donated to a charity that supports families and victims of B.C. wildfires.

The young entrepreneurs have four items and boundless enthusiasm. For more information, go to beyondthehaze.ca.

Walk supports people with brain tumours

Join a movement to end brain tumours at the Victoria Brain Tumour Walk 2019, Sunday May 26 at the University of Victoria.

Brain tumours are unpredictable and complex. They can affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Their effects are physical, emotional and financial, and last a lifetime. There is no cure.

Each year, money raised at Brain Tumour Walks across Canada helps the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada support thousands of Canadians affected by a brain tumour through information, education, support and research. The foundation has been providing hope to Canadians affected by a brain tumour for 35 years.

You can participate by starting a team, joining a team or donating to a walker or team.

People can choose between a 2.5- or five-kilometre walk. Registration starts at 8:30, survivor photo at 9:45, opening ceremonies at 9:50 with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday May 29 from Parking Lot #10 at the University of Victoria (off Gordon Head Road). For more information, go to braintumour.ca.

Habitat officially opens latest home

Habitat for Humanity Victoria will officially cut the ribbon to mark the completion of its latest build on Tuesday in the heart of Central Saanich.

Sarah and her two boys will receive the keys to an affordable, small single-family home on a micro-lot in the Polo Village Residences. The lot was donated by Cube Development Ltd.

For more information, go to habitatvictoria.com.

Learn all about B.C. Ferries

Attend this year’s Scouts Canada’s annual Barnard Club Breakfast and learn all you wanted to know about B.C. Ferries, May 28 at the Victoria Mariott Inner Harbour.

This is the 13th year of the fundraising event, an opportunity for Victoria’s business community to come together for a tasty and enlightening early-morning gathering.

This year, Mark Collins, president and CEO of B.C. Ferries will tell you everything you the story of the world’s largest marine passenger systems.

You will find answers to questions such as: Why there is a 30-minute cut-off for reservations and what happened to the Sunshine Breakfast?

Proceeds from the event will benefit funding for Camp Barnard and more than 1,100 youth enrolled in Scouting programs.

In addition to Scouts, Guides and Cadets, school, church and cultural groups also use Camp Barnard for their activities. Maintaining this facility while keeping it affordable for all involves the larger community.

For almost 75 years, this 250-acre camp has provided a nurturing environment for young campers to learn new skills and experience nature and their place in it, experiences that develop well-rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world.

Scouts Canada is Canada’s leading youth organization, with programs for all youth age 5 to 26.

Tickets for the breakfast are $100 ($75 tax receipt provided). Doors open at 7. The event runs 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. May 28 in the Pacific Ballroom of the Victoria Mariott Inner Harbour, 728 Humboldt St. Tickets at barnardbreakfast@scouts.ca. For more information, go to scouts.ca.

Community leaders to be honoured

You are invited to help recognize 20 individuals who have made a lasting contribution to our community at the 2019 Victoria Community Leadership Awards, May 23 at Government House.

The awards and recipients include:

  • Healthy Standard of Living: Ensuring stable employment and resources for a healthy community with access to secure and sustainable housing — Elysia Glover and Emily Rogers
  • Thriving Children and Youth: Supporting and promoting social, mental, physical and cultural well-being for people under 30 — Jacquelin Green and Kim Breiland
  • Lifelong Learning: Providing attainable formal or informal learning throughout life for personal or professional development — Peggy Wilmot and Tracy Humphreys
  • Belonging and Engagement: Connecting our residents in meaningful community so we experience a sense of participation and belonging — Annette Wall and Dr. Rhonda Hackett
  • Healthy Safe Environments: Innovating and ensuring our built and natural environments are beautiful, safe, sustainable and accessible — Jane Devonshire and Rebecca Wolf-Gage
  • Health and Wellness: Improving access to enjoyable and effective fitness, health care and food security — Lee Fuge and Terry Edison-Brown
  • Arts and Culture: Connecting and engaging Victoria to a significant array of arts and cultural opportunities — Rebecca Hass and Jane Chadwick
  • Getting Started in our Community: Engaging and welcoming newcomers to our community and leaving a great impression for visitors to Victoria — Adrienne Carter and Ruth Mojeed
  • Innovative Science and Technology: Developing and sharing technology for the community to connect and make a local lasting difference now and into the future — Samarth Mod
  • Extending Reconciliation: Deepening and improving the relationship between the various nations that make Canada home — Prof. Billie Allan and Monique Gray Smith
  • Outstanding Leadership Award — Angela Adamson

Tickets can be purchased at leadershipvictoria.ca/vclas. The event runs 6 to 8 p.m., May 23 at Government House, 1401 Rockland Ave. For more information, go to leadershipvictoria.ca.

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