Our Community: Special Olympics gala a trip in time

Experience a memorable night of fun — and make a difference in the lives of local Special Olympians — at the Great Gatsby Gala, May 28.

The event, in support of Special Olympics Victoria, will be a night to remember, with classic cars, a vintage photo booth, and decadent food and wine.

Guests are encouraged to dress up in 1920s attire.

Entertainment includes the Craig Henderson Trio, the Eryn Sharpe Trio, and the magical steps of ballroom dance performers Tom Webber and Diane Durvisseau.

Rounding off the display of talent will be Special Olympian Ali McKee, performing rhythmic gymnastics. The event also includes an array of live and silent auction items, with the talents of CHEK TV’s Tess VanStratten and Ed Bain as auctioneer.  

Proceeds from the evening will help 235 local Special Olympians with their athletic goals. Special Olympics Victoria offers more than 20 different local sport programs for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  

Costumes evocative of the 1920s can be rented from Victoria Costumes, at victoriacostumes.com.

Tickets are $125 with a portion of the price eligible for a charitable-donation tax receipt. The event starts at 6 p.m. May 28 at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel, 728 Humboldt St. Tickets are available through selectyourtickets.com. For information, contact Patti Anthony at Patti.Anthony@investorsgroup.com.

For more information on Special Olympics, go to victoriaspecialolympics.com.

Teens can learn valuable life skills

Sign up your 16- to 18-year-old to Get Your Ship Together, a free, insightful, save-your-life day of vital life skills on Wednesday.

The program is hosted by Leadership Victoria’s Inclusive-Us team and the Boys and Girls Club Outdoor Centre in Metchosin.

It was designed based on extensive youth engagement to reflect and fulfil their perceived knowledge and education gaps.

At the program, young adults learn basic life skills, from employment and tenancy rights to taxes, from budgeting for food to stress management.

Facilitators include Jesse Roper, Alison Bigg, Power to Be’s Megan Miler, Vancity representative, Sonya Kofler and Al Kemp.

Donors include the Victoria Foundation, Odd Fellows Columbia Lodge 2, Kiwanis International, Vancity, Coast Capital Savings, Lions International, Peninsula Co-op and Quality Foods.

A shareable ebook/PDF will be created to share the day’s knowledge with many other youth. For more information, visit Get Your Ship Together on Facebook, call Gillie Easdon at 250-888-7175 or email inclusive.Us1@gmail.com.

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Wear2Start helps women dress for success

The Zonta Club of Victoria has donated $8,000 to the Wear2Start Society.

The Wear2Start Society is a non-profit organization and registered charity that provides women with a wardrobe to make their best impressions in job interviews and the workplace.

Over the years, it has helped thousands of women in need increase their chances of employment through a more polished appearance. Boutique specialists provide clients with a two-hour consultation — along with suggestions on how to continue to dress their best.

“The Zonta Club and Wear2Start share the goal of empowering women, and this funding goes a long way to support that,” said Joanie Hesketh, president of the Wear2Start Society. “The support we receive from the Zonta Club provides our organization with the necessary stability permitting us to focus our volunteer efforts on directly helping the women who come to us for services.”

Run entirely by volunteers, Wear2Start relies on fundraising and donations of gently used clothing, shoes and accessories suitable for the workplace. For information, go to wear2start.com.

Operation Trackshoes needs volunteers

Volunteers are urgently needed for Operation Trackshoes, a sports festival for British Columbians with developmental disabilities, held June 10 to 12 at the University of Victoria.

The group is looking for counsellors at the event. The role of a counsellor is to accompany one or more competitors through a track and field meet, family picnic-type games, swimming, softball, basketball, entertainment and a banquet and dance. No previous experience is needed.

Volunteers must register now because all counsellors have to complete a criminal-record check, which takes between one and two weeks to get done online.  

People can complete an online application form by visiting the counsellor section at trackshoes.ca.

Veterans honoured by French government

Residents of the Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead and clients of Veterans Health Centre were recently paid a visit by Antoine Mention, deputy consul of France in Vancouver, who thanked them for their actions during the Second World War.

Jack Porter, Bill Capek, Ken Parton, Geoff Lesueur, Philip Jeffrey and Earl Clark had each received French Legion of Honour medals in the mail in January, and Mention came to Victoria to honour them for their contributions to the liberation of France.

At the same ceremony, the deputy consul also recognized Leonhardt Beck and Stanley Charles Maher with Legion of Honour medals for their part in the conflict.

The medals are part of commemoration events around last year’s 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead is hosting an online auction ahead of the 13th annual Commissionaires/Broadmead Care Charity Golf Tournament on Friday.

Four inspiring items are up for bids, including a painting by local artist Marlene Howell, a home dining experience from Salt & Pepper Fox, exotic plants by Le Coteau Nursery and a poetry commission.

Golfers taking part in the sold-out golf tournament can also bid on silent and live auction items in the evening, which wraps up at 8 p.m., the same time as the online auction.

Proceeds from all events benefit Second World War and Korean War veterans and other seniors at the care home. Follow the online auction at 32auctions.com/Broadmeadcare. For more information, go to broadmeadcare.com.

 Hospice events open the conversation 

National Hospice Palliative Care week, an opportunity to start the conversation about end-of-life care in Canada, starts with events hosted by Victoria Hospice that start today and continue throughout the week.

Everyone is invited to join the fifth annual Hike for Hospice, a scenic 3.5-kilometre walk, today.

The family-friendly event includes a variety of entertainment, including live music by local favourite Celtic band Cookeilidh.

Check-in and entertainment starts at 9 and the walk begins at 10 a.m. at Fisherman’s Wharf Park.

Later in the week, the Avenue Gallery’s second annual A Little Something exhibition. This event sees 20 gallery painters producing more than 100 works, with a percentage from each sale donated to Victoria Hospice. The exhibition runs May 5 to 8.

On Friday, the Rotary Club of Victoria Gala and Auction, in honour of Patrick D. Crofton, takes place at the Victoria Golf Club. People can sip on champagne, dine on canapés and dinner and hear stories at the event. Tickets are $125.

The week will wrap up May 7 with the sixth annual Anneswer to Cancer. At this event children, adults and families team up to compete in fun soccer games and contests to raise funds and win prizes. The event runs noon to 5 p.m. at the Finlayson Turf in Topaz Park.

Donations fund almost half of Victoria Hospice’s annual operating costs and are critical for the operation of programs for patients and families and for education and research. To learn more about any of these events, go to victoriahospice.org.

 Hospitals Foundation aims for new equipment 

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation kicks off its Spring Campaign this week to raise funds for advanced equipment focused on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

The funds will pay for new equipment for laboratory medicine, diagnostic tests and in-patient surgery to care for people from across Vancouver Island.

“We are counting on the generosity of the community to help raise more than $366,000 for several pieces of equipment that will help medical teams deliver the highest standard of care,” said Cathy McIntyre, board chairwoman. “For people in our community with cancer — and many other critical illnesses — this equipment will increase their chance for survival at every stage of their diagnosis and treatment.”

The funds raised will purchase a new automated hematology system, high-resolution monitors and an electrosurgical unit for the endoscopy department. A digital ultrasound device that helps physicians precisely locate tumours and other abnormalities during surgery is also needed.

Contribute by calling 250-519-1750, mailing a donation to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay St. or donating online at victoriahf.ca.

 Rotary Club honours three Victorians 

The Rotary Club of Oak Bay recently honoured three outstanding Victorians as Paul Harris Fellows, its highest recognition.

The service group named Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, author and broadcaster; Tania Miller, music director of Victoria Symphony; and Hazel Braithwaite, Oak Bay councillor and volunteer.

The award is the Rotary Club’s way of expressing appreciation for a substantial contribution that an individual makes toward social, humanitarian and other voluntary causes. Recipients exemplify Rotary’s principal motto: Service Above Self.

Rotary, established in 1905, boasts 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in 168 countries. In 2015, their cumulative donations to communities stood at $3.8 billion US. The Rotary Club of Oak Bay meets every Tuesday at noon at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. For more information, go to oakbayrotary.com.

Golf deals aid lung association

Golfers can save at more than 90 golf courses in British Columbia and Washington state by purchasing a B.C. Lung Association Golf Privilege Club Membership Book.

Purchasers of the book receive 50 per cent off green fees and discounts at pro shops, restaurants, golf cart rentals and more.

Proceeds from the sale of the $35 books support lung health and clean-air initiatives, helping the one in five British Columbians living with lung disease breathe easier.

“For less than it would cost for one round of golf, our Golf Book gives you great deals and saving opportunities while supporting a worthy cause right here in B.C.,” said Mike Ellis, the association volunteer director for Victoria.

The B.C. Lung Association has been the voice and primary resource for lung health in Canada for more than 100 years. For more information on the courses and discounts, or to purchase a book, go to golfandsave.ca or 1-800-665-LUNG (5864).

 Spring blood-donor campaign kicks off 

Canadian Blood Services is calling on all eligible Canadians to roll up their sleeves, as it looks to collect 200,000 blood donations over the next 10 weeks.

The need for blood donations never takes a holiday, but with people away or busy with other activities, there tend to be fewer blood donations during the summer.

Recent factors, including new donation rules to protect the blood supply from the Zika virus, temporary deferrals associated with travel plans, seasonal health conditions such as the flu and missed appointments, have also put added pressure on the blood supply.

“We need about 5,000 blood donations in Victoria to help patients throughout the summer,” said David Patterson, director of donor relations in the B.C. and Yukon region.

“We have a greater need for donors with Type O blood, but all donors are encouraged to get involved.”

Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, as well as related services, for all the provinces and territories, except Quebec.

Victoria area residents can donate blood by appointment at the Victoria blood donor clinic, 3449 Saanich Rd. The clinic runs 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on alternating Saturdays.

Download the app or visit blood.ca.

Container filling with used bikes for Africa

Put your bike to good use by donating it to Bicycles for Humanity’s third annual Bike Drive, where every bike can help change a life in Africa.

The group is looking for good used bikes, financial donations and spare parts for communities in Africa. This will be the group’s eighth container load and marks its 3,500th bike shipped to Africa. Two containers have gone to Namibia, two to Uganda, and the last three have gone to Malawi.

Some of the bikes are donated to organizations. The rest are repaired, giving employment to local citizens. The refurbished bikes are sold for modest amounts and give the new owners easier access to food, water, employment, school and work.

Any profit is plowed back into the program, to purchase spare parts and pay for the shipping costs of the containers.

The latest container load will be shipped to Zomba, Malawi, in early to mid-June, depending on how quickly they can fill the container.

There will be a bike-donation drive, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Moss Street Market. Bicycles can be dropped off at Recyclistas, Brentwood Metal Salvage and at 847 Royal Oak Ave. Pickup also available, call Chris or Linda Wille at 250-479-7415.

For info on where the bikes go and how they are used, go to b4hvictoria.blogspot.ca or bicyclesforhumanity.org.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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