Our Community: Get fit for Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House B.C. and Yukon is hosting its second annual Step Up for Families, a virtual fundraising campaign that encourages people to virtually assemble a team of family, friends, classmates or co-workers to walk, run or roll a total of 73 kilometres.

The campaign takes place throughout May, and participants can track their progress with MoveSpring, an interactive step and activity challenge platform that features a live leaderboard, team chat platform and photo challenges.

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Proceeds will support the 2,000 families who stay at Ronald McDonald House B.C. and in the dedicated family room at Surrey Memorial Hospital each year.

In operation since 1983, Ronald McDonald House B.C. is a 73-bedroom house on the grounds of B.C. Children’s Hospital. It allows family members to be close to their children as they receive medical care.

For more information, go to give.rmhbc.ca/stepupforfamilies.

Youth orchestras play together online

Watch as 350 musicians with the Apollo Initiative, a collection of youth orchestras from across B.C., perform a free virtual concert to celebrate Youth Mental Health Day on Friday.

Participants include students from the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, five conductors and one Juno Award-winning composer. They’re staging the virtual performance to raise funds in support of youth mental health.

“Faced with a full season without live performances, we conductors put our heads together and came up with the Apollo Initiative,” said Rosemary Thomson, co-conductor of the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra. “The name takes its inspiration from Apollo, the Greek god of, among many things, music, healing, the arts and protection of the young.”

Students from Greater Victoria rehearsed and performed collectively in a digital format with the Coquitlam Youth Orchestra, Langley Community Music School Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra, Surrey Youth Orchestra and the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra.

The performance is free to watch. The event starts at noon on Friday at youtube.com/user/cmhabc and on the Apollo ­Initiative’s Facebook page. Donations will be accepted during the event.

Keeping adults with disabilities active

Play Beyond Expectations, a non-profit organization that offers supervised gym-based activities for adults with ­disabilities, is hosting COVID-safe outdoor sessions in May.

The program allows adults with disabilities and their cohorts to have fun safely and together. Cohorts can be from family, support workers, a group home, a day program or school.

Activities include floor hockey, pickleball and stretching. There will be six fun/skill stations. Participants play at each station for 10 to 12 minutes before rotating.

The cost is $5.75 per client. The program runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Mondays, May 3, 10, 17 and 31 at the lacrosse box at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser St. Register at the Esquimalt Parks and Recreation website. For more information, go to playbeyondexpectations.com.

Electronics safely shredded, recycled

Securely destroy your personal data and recycle unwanted electronics at a free Electronics Shredding and Recycling event hosted by the Better Business Bureau, May 14.

It’s the first electronics shredding and recycling event hosted by the Vancouver Island BBB, in partnership with the Electronic Recycling Association.

Rosalind Scott, president and CEO of the Island BBB, said the goal is to encourage people to protect their electronic data from cyber theft while collecting donations of unwanted devices that can be refurbished and donated to local charities.

“If you want, you can have your hard drive destroyed free of charge while you watch. Every­thing dropped off will be recycled — nothing will end up in the landfill.”

Items accepted include computers, laptops, cellphones, gaming consoles, printers and tablets.

Refurbished electronics will be donated to Women in Need, Victoria Natural History Society, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and Bridges for Women Society.

Any surplus will go to other charities on the Island.

The service is free. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 14 in the Tillicum Centre parking lot (outside Old Navy), 3170 Tillicum Rd.

For more information, go to bbb.org/vancouver-island.

Campaign educates on period poverty

Members of the Oak Bay High School Interact Club are initiating a campaign to educate their peers and the community on period poverty and the taboo of menstruation.

The club has partnered with Shed Red, a Canadian student-run organization that works to address menstrual equality, to organize a hygiene drive at the school and the local community. The club hopes to raise money and collect period products from within their school and local businesses.

A third of people who menstruate in Canada struggle to afford sanitary hygiene products, which results in many developing health problems and having to miss work or school.

The students hope the campaign can start conversations in the community to help dispel the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation.

They plan to donate everything they collect to people in need who menstruate.

For more information, ­contact Katie Bentley at ­katiebentley26@gmail.com.

Ride Don’t Hide helps mental health

The Canadian Mental Health Association British Columbia is launching its Ride Don’t Hide campaign at the start of this year’s Mental Health Week, May 3 to 9.

The fundraising campaign, which runs May 3 to June 14, brings together local riders, walkers, runners, yogis and ­others for a virtual physical activity challenge.

This is the 10th anniversary of the event in Victoria.

Participants in Victoria can take part in Decoding Mental Health, a new initiative that allows registered riders and walkers to scan QR codes at over 20 local businesses to win prizes.

“People can set their own goals and move in their own way, on their own time, but it all rolls up to more timely, more accessible mental health help when people need it,” said Gillian Carleton, local Ride Don’t Hide ambassador and cycling Olympian. “Find that cycling/walking buddy and join with friends and neighbours to raise funds, raise your heart rate and raise your spirits.”

Funds raised from the event will go toward youth mental health programs.

Ride Don’t Hide is the largest mental-health bike ride in Canada, raising more than $10 million in the past decade for community-based mental-health programs and services.

The ride in Victoria attracted more than 600 participants in 2019.

For more information and to register, go to ridedonthide.com.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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