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Our Community: Jeneece Place turns 10, fire chief runs for Wounded Warriors

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Jeneece Place, which houses families of children who have to go to Victoria to receive medical care, recently marked its 10th anniversary. VIA CHILDREN’S HEALTH FOUNDATION OF VANCOUVER ISLAND

Jeneece Place, which has helped thousands of families, turns 10

Jeneece Place, a home away from home for more than 2,000 families who have had to travel to Victoria to seek medical care for their children, marked its 10th anniversary last Friday.

The home was built thanks to the fund–raising efforts of Jeneece Edroff, who became known as the Penny Girl because she reminded people that they could help make a difference by donating pennies. She started her penny drives when she was seven.

Edroff began raising money for Jeneece Place in 2009 and managed to raise 95 per cent of the $5.5-million goal in 14 months.

Now called Frankie and using male ­pronouns, Edroff celebrated his 28th birthday last Thursday.

“As a family, we are tickled pink on how things have progressed in the last 10 years,” said Angie Edroff, Frankie’s mother.

“We are so blessed and happy to see how well the house has been respected and loved. It means a lot to us.”

Jeneece Place is managed by the ­Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, which recently opened Q̓ʷalayu House, a similar facility in Campbell River.

Plans are afoot to hold a celebration this summer, if public health orders permit larger groups to gather once again.

“We’ve lost touch with some of the ­families and volunteers from the past ­decade and want to make sure that ­everyone who has stayed or volunteered at Jeneece Place is invited to celebrate with us,” said Veronica Carroll, CEO of the ­Children’s Health Foundation.

“If you have stayed at Jeneece Place or volunteered there over the past 10 years, please reconnect with us at­ ­­ info@islandkidsfirst.com.”

• For more information, go to ­islandkidsfirst.com.

View Royal fire chief joins Wounded Warriors run

Paul Hurst, View Royal’s fire chief, will join this year’s Wounded Warriors Canada annual fundraising run.

Hurst, representing View Royal Fire, West Shore firefighters and the RCMP, will run 600 kilometres from Port Hardy to Victoria to raise funds and awareness for Wounded Warriors, which helps veterans, first responders and their families who are struggling with mental-health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“For me, this is a personal journey that not only recognizes the brave women and men of our military and first responder community, but the past four generations of military heroes in my family, including my daughter Megan,” said Hurst.

Hurst’s daughter, Officer Cadet Megan Lee Hurst, attends Royal Military College in Kingston.

For more information, or to donate, go to the Wounded Warriors run website.

$5-million boost for an array of Island community projects

Community-led projects across the province, including six on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, have been awarded $5 million from the Community Gaming Grants program.

The program will help 45 not-for-profit groups across B.C. upgrade their facilities, update technology and buy equipment for programs. Some organizations will also use the money to make modifications to allow physical distancing and other measures to ensure they meet public health guidelines.

“The pandemic has highlighted the critical need and created an increasing demand for the kinds of services not-for-profits provide for people in British Columbia,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “These organizations work hard to raise money to buy equipment and make renovations that create more inclusive and accessible spaces like transition and recovery homes, elevators and universal washrooms.”

The grants program requires that all funding complies with provincial health orders, and allows organizations to delay project and service delivery until they can do so safely.

Vancouver Island recipients include Saanich Inlet Lifeboat Society in Brentwood Bay; South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club in Cowichan Bay; The Ita Wegman Association of B.C. for Curative Education and Social Therapy in Duncan; Mayne Island Early Childhood Society; B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities in Victoria; and Campus View Elementary School PAC.

Community Gaming Grants provide funding to arts and culture groups, sports, environment, public safety, human and social services, as well as parent advisory councils in schools throughout B.C.

As much as $140 million of gaming revenue benefits communities through the 5,000 organizations that the grants program supports each year, with $5 million dedicated to funding the capital project sector. Since 2017, capital project sector grants have helped 332 not-for-profit organizations in 110 communities buy equipment and make renovations essential to their operations.

Telus Internet for Good program expanding for seniors

Telus is expanding its Internet for Good program to provide 415,000 eligible low-income seniors in B.C. and Alberta with access to low-cost, high-speed internet, as well as digital literacy training.

The program addresses the financial barriers low-income seniors face to remain connected with their loved ones during the pandemic. A recent study shows more than 35 per cent of British Columbians over the age of 65 report that their mental health has worsened, with feelings of isolation and loneliness on the rise.

First launched in 2016, the program initially was geared toward low-income families, people with disabilities and youth leaving care.

The program offers seniors on Guaranteed Income Supplement access to the Internet starting at $9.95 per month. The company also has a Mobility for Good program, a subsidized cellular plan with access to a discounted smartphone.

Nominations open for Victoria Leadership Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2022 Victoria Community Leadership Awards.

The awards, presented annually by Leadership Victoria, recognize 10 individuals for their contributions in categories ranging from work in science and technology to truth and reconciliation and safety and sustainability.

Every year, in partnership with local sponsors, numerous leaders across Greater Victoria are nominated for this award.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 15.

For more information, or to nominate an individual, go to leadershipvictoria.ca.

Peninsula Streams seeks volunteers for weedy task

Peninsula Streams, with support from the Victoria Airport Authority, is looking for volunteers for an invasive-weed-removal work party in the Airport Woods (Dickson Woods) on Jan. 29.

The work party will be tasked with cutting and pulling back English Ivy from trees and the ground, which is uneven in some places, with tripping hazards. Please assess your physical fitness and balance before registering.

Peninsula Streams will provide gloves and tools. Snacks and refreshments (coffee and hot chocolate) will be provided by the Airport Authority.

While work gloves will be provided if needed, bring your own if you have them. Dress in layers and bring waterproof gear should it rain. Wear sturdy footwear.

Pre-registration is required. The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at the end of Dickson Avenue (North Saanich). All COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed, with all volunteers required to wear masks when physical distancing is not possible.

For more information, go to peninsulastreams.ca.

parrais@timescolonist.com