Our Community: Service offers cycling with a smile

After two years of preparation and fundraising, Cycling Without Age finally hits the road in Sidney on Monday.

Volunteers with the non-profit agency will offer free, hour-long rides to less-able residents of the community in a trishaw. Passengers will be picked up from their care residences and homes, anywhere in Sidney.

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Pilots, as the drivers of the rickshaw-like bikes are called, will take up to two people for a tour of local sites, nearby beaches and downtown areas, all the while engaging the passengers in conversation.

The jaunt will be taken at a comfortably low speed, enabling them to stop as often as possible to take in the view or chat with bystanders.

The service is possible due to in-kind contributions from All Care Canada (Sidney All Care Residence) and Russ Hays Cycle and grants given by the Town of Sidney, the Sidney Lions and Sidney Waterfront Inn and Suites. For more information, call Steve Duck at 250-891-6599 or visit cyclingwithoutagesociety.com.

Join the Fetching Ball for the Humane Society

Enjoy a fun evening of food, drink and entertainment at the Fetching Ball, a fundraiser for the Victoria Humane Society on Friday.

This will be the inaugural event, chaired by Starr McMichael, with dog demonstrations by the Mutley Crew team and a puppy petting station.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the Victoria Humane Society’s dream of acquiring a facility.

Currently, all animals in the care of the society are in foster homes. When those homes are full, animals, no matter how in need, have to be turned away. With a facility, dogs and cats could be housed until a new foster home is found.

Since 2013, the society has rescued and rehomed more than 4,000 animals.

Tickets to the Fetching Ball are $125. The event runs 6 to 10 p.m., April 5, in Pier B at Ogden Point. For more information, call 250-818-4755 or go to thefetchingball.ca.

Art show comes with music

Enjoy an afternoon of art and music at the Art Show and Sale, hosted by friends of Community of Conscious Living, today at the Church of Truth.

View the works of 25 artists in a variety of media while listening to music by community members.

Refreshments are available.

Admission is $2. The event runs 1 to 3 p.m. today at the church, 111 Superior St. (by Fisherman’s Wharf).

More information can be found here.

Newport backs Peninsula foundation

Newport Realty Sidney recently presented a $7,000 cheque to the Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation to enrich and enhance the quality of life for area residents.

The cheque represented proceeds from the sold-out Sidney’s Got Soul concert, which was sponsored by the real estate company, held at the Mary Winspear Centre last month.

“This was the first and largest fundraising event for us,” said Holly Critchison, the real estate company’s administrator. “At $7,000, we got off to a good start.”

Following its success, the company is looking forward to hosting the event again next year.

She said the company decided to make the donation to the Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation because of a personal recommendation from one of the real estate agents and the history of all the good work it does in the community.

The foundation, celebrating its 20th year, contributes to positive change in the community by supporting organizations and community projects with grants and donations through its community fund.

Critchison also hopes the publicity around the donation will help raise local awareness of the foundation, which is often overshadowed by larger organizations.

For more information, go to sp-cf.ca or newportrealty.com.

Victoria marked World TB Day

Last Sunday, the fountain on the grounds of the legislature, the face of the clock at Victoria City Hall and the Capital Regional District headquarters were bathed in red to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day.

Victoria joined cities from across Canada and around the world to show solidarity with the millions who suffer — as well as those who have lost their lives — to this disease.

Mayor Lisa Helps signed a proclamation declaring March 24 as World TB Day in Victoria.

In British Columbia, 300 people are infected with this deadly disease. Like the measles virus, tuberculosis is airborne, making it highly contagious.

Results Canada is asking the federal government to commit $1 billion to the Global Fund to fight TB, malaria and AIDS in parts of the world where these diseases are most prevalent and deadly.

For more information, go to results-resultats.ca/en.

Textile artists work on theme of heritage

See the works of local textile artists at the Consider the Lilies Show and Sale, Saturday to April 14 at the old St. Mary the Virgin church in Metchosin.

The show, in its 18th year, showcases the talents of members of Fibres and Beyond, a women’s art textile co-operative on Vancouver Island.

This year’s show is based on the theme of heritage. Artists are free to choose the avenue to pursue — as a person, as an artist, ethnically, geographically, individually or as a group member. Every artist can interpret the theme in their own preferred technique.

Group members are Linda Danielson, Gail Erickson, Janet Harper, Irm Houle, Phyllis Lysionek, Stephanie Saleem, Judy Seeley, Dana Sitar, Elizabeth Tanner, Joan Taylor, Jessie Taylor-Dodd, Isabel Tipton and Mary Wolfe.

This year, Lisa Urlacher joins the group, displaying works that feature silk fusion mounted on ice-dyed fabric created by her mother.

At this time of the year the venue, the St. Mary the Virgin church, is itself worth a visit. Built in the mid-1800s, the church is situated in a Garry oak meadow and a carpet of erythronium (fawn) lilies and other local wild flowers, which will be in full bloom.

The exhibition is free to attend. It is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday from April 6, noon to 4:30 p.m. April 7 and noon to 4 p.m. April 14 at St. Mary the Virgin church, 4354 Metchosin Rd., Metchosin.

For more information, call 250-642-2058 or go to fibresandbeyond.com.

Writers’ society seeking Island’s best

The Victoria Writers’ Society is kicking off its 18th annual writing competition with a call for Vancouver Island’s best writers.

Organizers are looking for short stories, creative non-fiction and poetry from published or unpublished writers.

“This is a great way for people to get their work published, especially if they are trying to kickstart a writing career,” said competition organizer Diana Jones. “We’ve had some well-known local names on the winners’ list.”

The winners in each category will receive a prize of $300, with $200 for second place and $100 for third. Winners will have their entries published in the Island Writer, the society’s literary journal, and even those who did not win can also be considered for publication.

The deadline for submission is May 1.

To be considered, entries should be submitted in hard copy, along with a $20 entry fee, to the Victoria Writers’ Society, Annual Writing Competition, P.O. Box 8311, Victoria, B.C., V8W 3R9.

For more information, go to victoriawriters.ca.

Participate in Victoria’s budget process

The City of Victoria’s Participatory Budget Steering Committee is inviting proposals for how to invest $52,000 in youth in the city.

Participatory budgeting is a process that gives the entire community an opportunity to choose projects.

“This is an incredible opportunity to invest in projects and activities for youth — including those by youth — while also increasing participation in an exciting form of democracy,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We’re encouraging residents of all ages to be involved in this exciting and direct process of bringing proposals forward.”

Residents with ideas to improve the lives of youth in Victoria can submit a proposal for up to $50,000. An additional $2,000 of micro funding has been earmarked for youth-led projects up to $500.

Proposals could include art installations, park play features, youth events or anything else designed to benefit youth in Victoria.

The steering committee is hosting two events in the upcoming weeks to help individuals and organizations learn about participatory budgeting, generate ideas and help build effective proposals.

Deadline for submission is April 30.

For more information, go to cvyc.ca/pb.

Leonard Street gets innovative hub

Meet residents of Leonard Street today as they welcome the newest addition to their block: a shared emergency-supply bench.

The Leonard Street Neighbour Hub gives neighbours a gathering spot to interact and connect, while enhancing emergency preparedness by storing shared emergency supplies. It features an internal storage compartment that contains supplies such as a first-aid kit and water-purification equipment.

The bench also provides residents with solar powered outlets to charge their phones off the grid and a community bulletin board to share information.

“The bench is multifunctional, acting as a spot to hang out but also showcasing resources like solar panels and the emergency supplies stashed inside,” said Leah Karlberg, community-development lead at Neighbour Lab, the local planning and design studio that led the bench design process. “We hope that through its design, the Neighbour Hub prompts proactive behaviour, including making emergency plans with neighbours and loved ones.”

The project was initiated and led by Shift Collaborative’s Building Resilient Neighbourhoods project, supported by the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association and funded by the City of Victoria’s My Great Neighbourhood grant program, with emergency supplies provided by the city’s Victoria Ready program.

The public is invited to join residents at the hub’s unveiling at 2 p.m. today on Leonard Street between Cook and Cambridge streets. For more information, go to resilientneighbourhoods.ca.

TeenWork finds success for youth with disabilities

Patricia Hajdu, minister of employment, workforce development and labour, was in Victoria this month to learn more about a program that addresses the need for employment support among youth with disabilities while they are still in high school.

TeenWork is a program developed by CanAssist at the University of Victoria in 2009. It serves teens with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, mental-health challenges and physical disabilities. This group tends to have much more difficulty finding part-time employment while they are in high school.

According to Statistics Canada, only 32 per cent of those ages 15 to 24 across the country are employed, compared with 65 per cent in the same age group without disabilities.

TeenWork provides hands-on sessions to teach participants how to develop effective resumés, write cover letters, take interviews and practise appropriate workplace behaviour. Teens also learn about work readiness, covering areas such as hygiene, work attire and transportation.

After a job is secured, TeenWork job coaches shadow each youth to ensure that he or she fully understands workplace responsibilities and is able to master tasks. As the teen becomes more comfortable, the job coach gradually withdraws on-site support, eventually providing only periodic check-ins.

TeenWork participants experience an employment rate of up to 93 per cent while they are in the program.

For more information, go to canassist.ca/EN/main/teenwork.html.

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