Our Community: Still time to sign up for Warrior run

The Wounded Warrior Run B.C. is set to start on Feb. 25 in Port Hardy and arrive at the B.C. legislature on March 3.

The run, in which athletes cover more than 600 kilometres in seven days, is to raise funds and awareness for service personnel struggling with operational stress injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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In the relay-style run, the team will stop at Legions and communities to raise awareness and funds for the support that Wounded Warriors Canada offers.

“The Wounded Warrior Run B.C. team is on a mission to honour Canada’s ill and injured veterans, first responders and their families,” said Jacqueline Zweng, run director. “We provide a source of hope as we reach out and talk about the wounds that are not visible.”

The run is in its sixth year and has become the largest fundraiser for the Vancouver Island chapter of the charity.

This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 for programs for veterans, first responders and their families on Vancouver Island.

Programs that are operated on Vancouver Island include: Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday in Victoria, and compassion-dog training in Qualicum Beach.

You can show your support by donating or by joining the team and running a portion of the route.

For more information, to see the route or the stops along the way, go to woundedwarriors.ca/ways-to-give/wounded-warrior-run-bc.

Claremont student earns top science award

Nicolas Fedrigo, a Grade 12 student from Claremont Secondary, was one of two B.C. students to receive top honours at the Taiwan International Science Fair.

Fedrigo was awarded first place in the engineering category for his project titled Improving Spinal Fusions: Redesigning the Pedicle Probe to Prevent Vertebral Breaches.

His innovation, which helps prevent complications during spinal fusion surgery, also received top awards at the 2018 Canada-Wide Science Fair and the European Union Contest for Young Scientists.

“This marks the fifth consecutive year that B.C. students participating in the Taiwan International Science Fair have returned home with medals,” said Madeleine Guenette, director of operations of the Science Fair Foundation of B.C.

The organization is the largest science and technology outreach network in the province. It supports science education by inspiring curiosity through the Science Fair program. For more information, go to sciencefairs.ca.

Gift boxes brought joy to thousands

Victorians packed almost 4,500 gift-filled shoeboxes during the 2018 Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign.

They were among the 517,437 shoeboxes packed with toys, hygiene items, school supplies and many other items generously donated by Canadians coast to coast.

Over the next few weeks, children in Central America, Haiti, western Africa and Ukraine will receive shoeboxes packed by caring Canadians.

“We are extremely thankful to Canadians, many of whom are unemployed or facing significant economic uncertainty, for their generosity in continuing to support this vital program year after year,” said Randy Crosson, director of Operation Christmas Child Canada. “Each shoebox that someone fills is an opportunity to show hurting children that they are loved by God and by us, and the gifts Canadians have provided will once again bless children — many of whom have never before received a present.”

The boxes donated were part of a worldwide total of 10,623,776 collected in 2018 in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Finland, Japan, Germany and Australia.

The next collection week is Nov. 18 to 24.

For more information, go to samaritanspurse.ca/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.

New choir looking for members

Discover what the Resistance Rising Choir is all about at its Monday evening meeting.

The new choir is dedicated to elevating awareness, building community and inspiring action to create lasting change.

It is open to all genders, all ages and all levels of experience. At the meeting, people can inquire about volunteer opportunities and new membership, especially tenor, baritone and bass voices. Auditions are not required.

“Our unified voice with a unified message has a greater impact than any one of us alone,” said founder and director Rama DelaRosa.

The choir meets 7 to 9 p.m. every Monday (until the season ends in May) at 765 Rogers Ave. For more information, contact resistancerisingchoir@gmail.com.

Gala supports bullying prevention

Support award-winning bullying-prevention programs at the Pink Shirt Gala, the first fundraising event for the WITS Programs Foundation (formerly Rock Solid), Feb. 23 at the Victoria International Marina.

The event will be an evening of pink, with pink-inspired cocktails, food, décor, dress, entertainment and surprises. It begins with a cocktail hour followed by a three-course dinner and live entertainment.

Proceeds support WITS, which stands for Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out and Seek help. The program was created in Esquimalt 20 years ago and has since been adopted by elementary schools across the nation.

More than 200,000 children across Canada have been introduced to the program.

Tickets are $150. The event runs 6 to 10 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Victoria International Marina, 1 Cooperage Pl. For more information, go to pinkshirtgala.com.

Esquimalt high wins tech grant

Esquimalt High School was one of 13 secondary schools to be recognized in the Best Buy Canada School Tech Grant program awards.

The 13 schools will receive more than $200,000 in grants. They will receive either general tech grants or science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) tech grants. The latter are for schools looking to enhance technology in programs, which includes robotics clubs, math programs, computer coding and digital-media courses.

Esquimalt High School won a STEM tech grant and will use the money to purchase cameras and equipment for students to develop skills in digital media and express their ideas in non-traditional ways. The school will also purchase Sphero robots to engage students in learning code in a fun way.

“Year after year, we are overwhelmed with the quality of applications we receive,” said Karen Arsenault, the Best Buy community investment manager. “As school curriculums advance, so does the need for upgraded or increased technology in the classroom. Each of our recipient schools clearly illustrated creative teaching methods and ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms to inspire the next generation of innovators.”

Best Buy Canada focuses its community investment on supporting youth to connect with technology to inspire, motivate and empower their education. For more information, go to bestbuy.ca/community.

Monopoly Affair is almost here

Time is running out for tickets for the Canadian Cancer Society Monopoly Affair, Feb. 23 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa.

Anticipate a night of fast-moving property deals and friendly competition.

The event includes a non-traditional stand-up dining experience, live auction and an opportunity to donate with a Gift of Hope.

Tickets are $100 for individuals $600 per table (six players) or $2,500 for VIP tables (six players, VIP reception, concierge table service and one room at the hotel for the night).

The event runs 7:30 to 11 p.m., Feb. 23 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, 100 Harbour Rd. For more information, go to themonopolyaffair.com.

Hillside-Quadra rallies for community hub

Residents of Hillside-Quadra are set to rally today at the former Blanshard Elementary site to demand that the City of Victoria purchase the property and revitalize it.

They are urging the city to create green space and public amenities for the community — such as wellness services, childcare spaces or a library.

The Hillside-Quadra neighbourhood association supports the establishment of ongoing beneficial neighbourhood amenities at the property.

The Blanshard School building was formerly the site of more than 30 homes that were demolished in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal project.

At the rally, people will have an opportunity to commemorate the community that was destroyed by the project.

Speakers include Jenn Neilson and Vincent Gornall, Hillside-Quadra residents and rally organizers, and Ben Isitt, Victoria councillor and Capital Regional District director.

The rally runs 1 to 2 p.m. today at 950 Kings Rd.

Religions conference opens today

How Do We Find God? will be the primary topic at the 12th World Religions Conference Canada, today at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada is the host of the conference with more than 400 guests planning to attend.

The conference will be moderated by Saanich Coun. Karen Harper, with Ravinder Khalon, parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism, presenting a greeting from the premier.

The conference is open to the public, with an Indian dinner included. It runs 2 to 5:30 p.m. today at Saanich Commonwealth Place, 4636 Elk Lake Dr.

For more information, go to worldreligionsconference.ca.

Opera volunteer honoured with national award

Dr. Lydia Wingate of Pacific Opera Victoria has been honoured as 2019 recipient of the Opera.ca National Opera Directors Recognition Award.

Now in its 11th year, the award highlights the tenets of good governance, celebrates models of volunteer excellence and raises the bar for board-director commitment.

“Lydia epitomizes what it means to be a volunteer, an ambassador for the arts, a proponent of good governance and a philanthropist,” said Carey Newman, a member of the board of Pacific Opera Victoria.

Wingate joined the board of Pacific Opera in 2005 and has served as vice-president since 2009.

Opera.ca is the national association for opera in Canada.

211 line helps around the clock

Monday is 211 day across North America. The 211 line is a free and confidential lifeline for people in need. People can access community, social, non-clinical health and government services by calling or texting 211 or online at bc211.ca.

The 211 line operates in partnership with United Way across Canada, reaching about 26 million people. It offers confidential help 24/7, 365 days a year.

In B.C., 21,000 people have been helped by bc211 since it launched in June 2017.

For Vancouver Islanders, the top reasons people contact bc211 concern: Housing and homelessness; mental health; health; income and financial assistance; and substance use.

BC211 also operates the Shelter and Street Help Line, thanks to funding from United Way Greater Victoria. This assists people to find a warm place to stay on any given night and helps frontline responders direct people in need to shelters where there are beds or mats available.

Encouraging people to dial 211 for non-emergency services helps reduce congestion on 911 dispatch lines. People should always call 911 for emergencies.

For more information, go to bc211.ca.

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