Our Community: Fashion fundraiser aids Cool Aid

A Grade 11 student has his sights set on combining fashion with philanthropy.

Stuart Cameron is a 16-year-old student at Glenlyon Norfolk School who also runs Concept-Couture, a fashion production company that produces philanthropic fashion events, as well as events for local designers and boutiques.

Last month, he staged Fashion for Relief Victoria, a large fashion show and social at the Robert Bateman Centre. Boutiques and designers who showed their spring 2016 collections included: Tulipe Noire, Not Just Pretty, Leka, Breathe, Verve, True Boutique, Chai Fashions, Stika and others.

The event helped raise more than $3,000 for the Cool Aid Society toward building 350 new apartments to house the homeless.

Buoyed by his success, Stuart  is working on The Fashion Exhibition, a large fashion event that will take place next April. It will consist of a day-long designer showroom experience followed by a large fashion show featuring  B.C.’s top designers. For more information, go to concept-couture.ca or coolaid.org.

Cheer on participants in MS Victoria Walk

Walk along with or cheer the participants at today’s Scotiabank MS Victoria Walk.

Organizers are hoping hundreds of people will feel inspired to participate in the annual event, which supports multiple sclerosis programs. It starts at 10 a.m.

“The need for donations is immense as we fight to find a cure and advance research efforts,” said Rowena Veylan, senior director, development, B.C. and Yukon Division. “Here in B.C. alone, there are approximately 12,000 people currently living with MS. Whether you are a long time participant or have yet to get involved in our fundraising initiatives, now is the time to join us on the walk where every step matters.”

Participants in teams or as individuals will walk three, six and nine kilometres along the Galloping Goose Trail to collect donations that go towards research, programs, services and advocacy work.

The walk starts at 10 a.m. from Marigold Elementary School, 3751 Grange Rd. The event is accessible to everyone, including those using wheelchairs, scooters or strollers. For more information, go to mssociety.ca.

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Green groups fund LifeCycles Project

The LifeCycles Project Society has been selected by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Tree Canada to receive more than $12,500 in a TD Green Streets grant.

The grant was awarded for the Rex Welland Legacy Park and Community Orchard project, a public orchard partnership with the Town of View Royal. It was one of 140 applications submitted from across Canada.

The funding will enhance Welland Legacy Park, creating a new model of public park stewardship, with workshops, events and volunteer days to highlight sustainable food production and community orchard management.

The park has more than 200 established fruit trees, including a heritage apple collection with 100 varieties as well as more unusual fruits like medlars, paw paws, kiwis and quince. For more information, go to tdgreenstreets.ca or lifecyclesproject.ca.

Students pitch in to aid community gardens

An energetic group of 24 students from 10 colleges in China rolled up their sleeves last week to help prepare Pacifica Housing community gardens for the upcoming gardening season.

The students, with the Beifang International Education Group, are attending a three-month study program at Royal Roads University.

They took time away from their studies to work alongside residents and staff at Pacifica Housing’s Oak Park property to prepare the gardens by weeding the garden beds, working the compost and cleaning the greenhouse.

The community gardens are used by families and individuals living on the property to grow food and flowers.

The gardens are also a part of the charitable organization’s Virtues Youth Group curriculum — to understand the relationships between the natural environment and the food we eat.

Pacifica Housing is a leading provider of affordable housing and support services in Greater Victoria, Duncan, and Nanaimo, housing over 1,500 people in 842 units. In addition to housing, the non-profit runs youth groups, community gardens and community meal programs.

For more information, go to pacificahousing.ca.

May is Huntington Disease Awareness Month

Huntington Disease is a debilitating brain disorder affecting about one in every 7,000 Canadians, with approximately one in every 5,500 at risk of developing the disease.

It is a genetic disorder, which means that each child of a parent with the disease has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the disease. Males and females have the same risk of inheriting Huntington, which occurs in all races. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 and 50, but the disease can appear in children or seniors.

The disease causes cells in specific parts of the brain to die. As it  progresses, a person with the disease becomes less able to manage movements, recall events, make decisions and control emotions. Huntington leads to incapacitation and, eventually, death. There is no known cure.

The Huntington Society of Canada is a leader in the worldwide effort to end the disease. It is the only Canadian health charity dedicated to providing help and hope for families impacted by the disease across Canada.

This month is a time to raise awareness and public support so that research can continue to find a treatment for Huntington.

For more information, go to huntingtonsociety.ca.

 Foundation seeks riders for Big Bike event 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is looking for teams to ride their Big Bike. The event, which returns to Vancouver Island May 24, is a major fundraiser for the foundation.

Participants get a 15- to 20-minute ride aboard a bicycle built for 30.

The foundation is recruiting teams to ride the bicycle on Vancouver Island, Powell River and the Gulf Islands between May 24  and June 17.

“By fundraising and taking a seat on the Big Bike, you can be in the spotlight and have a blast riding the biggest bike in Canada,” said Janice Krall, Vancouver Island area manager. “You will also help create more survivors coast to coast by supporting life-saving research on heart disease and stroke.”

The team that raises the highest amount in donations for their region will win an automated external defibrillator, to be placed in a community location of their choice.

Last year, Royal LePage Qualicum Beach raised more than $12,000 and placed a life-saving defibrillator with a search-and-rescue truck in the community.

The winning AEDs will join the B.C. Public Access to Defibrillation program and be linked to the B.C. AED Registry and the 911 dispatch system. This enables a bystander who calls 911 to be directed to the nearest AED.

The goal is to place 750 AEDs in public places around the province — 500 have already been placed, with 80 on the Island.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery.

For more information or to register, go to heartandstroke.ca or bigbike.ca.

Fundraiser boosts schizophrenia awareness

The B.C. Schizophrenia Society, Victoria Branch is holding an Iris luncheon fundraiser to mark National Schizophrenia and Psychosis Awareness Day on Friday.

Schizophrenia affects one in 100 people. It is youth’s greatest disabler and often manifests in adolescence or early adulthood. Most individuals living with schizophrenia and psychosis experience barriers to education, employment, housing, social participation, social services and health care due to stigma and discrimination.

Cost for the lunch is $65 (with a $35 tax receipt). The event runs 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 20 in the main dining room of the Union Club, 805 Gordon St. For more information, go to bcssvictoria.ca.

Victoria Foundation seeks input on community issues

The Victoria Foundation is asking capital region residents to weigh in with their opinions on 12 areas critical to the community.

Survey respondents are asked to identify what they think are the most important issues facing the region today as part of the annual Victoria’s Vital Signs community check-up produced by the foundation.

The survey is a combination of public opinion and statistics that provides a snapshot of livability and well-being in Greater Victoria.

“At our foundation, we make granting decisions based on the top issues and opportunities identified in Vital Signs,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO. “Each year, the number of people and organizations contacting us to say they also use the report grows. After a decade of producing the report, it’s become a much-anticipated publication.”

She said information tracked in the report helps non-profit organizations, civic leaders and individual donors make decisions about granting, policy-making and charitable giving.

Victoria’s Vital Signs was launched in 2006 as an initiative of the Victoria Foundation’s 70th anniversary. This will be the 11th consecutive year for the report.
The survey runs from May 9 to July 1.

Residents can find a link to the survey on the Victoria Foundation website at victoriafoundation.ca.

St. Luke's Cemetery cleanup this Saturday

The residents of St. Luke’s Historic Cemetery aren’t likely to complain if you accidentally step on their toes during the clean-up day on Saturday.
Community cleanups are scheduled on the third Saturday of the month from now through  August.

People may find that the residents, made up of Cedar Hill, Lake Hill and Gordon Head pioneer families and their descendants, make good listeners — and rarely talk back.

Just don’t be insulted if they don’t thank you personally for helping clean headstones and weeding.

Bring along your gloves, pruners, clippers, hoes or scrappers. Water is available for cleaning monumental markers, but bring your own bucket and scrub brush please.

Refreshments will be served.

The event runs 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the St. Luke Cedar Hill church cemetery, 3821 Cedar Hill Cross Rd. For more information, go to stlukesvictoria.ca or call 250-477-6741.

Group hosts fundraiser for Fort McMurray victims

Attend a fundraising barbecue or donate to a Facebook group set up for families affected by the Fort McMurray fire.

The group, With Love, Victoria, is hosting a fundraising barbeque on Wednesday and leaving for Fort McMurray and surrounding evacuation centres to deliver donations of essential articles of survival and that Island warmth  that Victorians are known for.

Donations will be taken to less-common locations that are seeing a disparity of supplies due to a surge in need.

A fundraising barbeque will take place noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Quality Foods parking lot, 977 Langford Pkwy. A team is set to leave Victoria on Thursday morning and will be stopping at various locations along the route to collect donations.

A list of locations and times for donation drop-off is available on the Facebook page: With Love, Victoria.

 Awards luncheon honours RCMP employees 

The public is invited to attend a special luncheon to recognize RCMP employees for their outstanding community activities and police service on May 27.

RCMP veterans, serving members, employees and others are gathering to honour three employees for their exemplary service at the inaugural RCM Police Service Appreciation Awards.

Two employees and one volunteer will receive an Appreciation Scroll for their distinguished service, reflecting their outstanding contributions to police work, public service and the community.

The award has been initiated and organized by the local RCMP Veteran’s Association.

Nominations for consideration were drawn from local RCMP detachments (West Shore, Sidney, Salt Spring, Outer Gulf Islands and Sooke) and the Island District Headquarters in Victoria.

A limited number of tickets, $35, are available to the public and must be purchased before the event by contacting Roger Barrie at 250-474-4355.


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