Two community organizations received grant funding from the South Cariboo Community Enhancement Foundation (SCCEF) during a grant announcement at the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre on May 15.
The event began at 10 a.m. with refreshments and snacks available for board members and guests. Murray Casey, a director with the Friendship Society, sang a southern Shushwap welcome song before the grant presentations were made.
The society received a grant of $2,500 to fund their Cultural Workshops, which are also financially supported by the Canim Lake Indian Band. The Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre serves as the gathering place for many First Nations cultural workshops.
The second grant was presented to the Special Olympics of BC- 100 Mile House, who received $1,500 towards their Snowshoeing Program.
Doug Dent is the president of the SCCEF board. In the future, Dent hopes that the SCCEF will “get its name better known in the community” so that the organization can receive more donations and provide further grant funding to local non-profits.
Lisa De Paoli is the vice president of the SCCEF board of directors and was present alongside Chris Pettman, who is the executive director of the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre (CFEC). SCCEF directors Judy Simkins and Martina Dopf were also present, as well as Elsie Urquhart and Wendy Hamblin, directors with the Friendship Centre.
The SCCEF held their first annual grant ceremonies in 2018, when they awarded funding to the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy’s (CCPL) Story Walk program and the CFEC’s Relate Parenting program.
The CFEC’s Relate Parenting program was designed to provide support and information to parents with teens. The CCPL Story Walk program promotes literacy for children via an interactive walk featuring community storyboards. Participants read a few pages before walking to the next chapter of their adventure.
Cariboo Regional District (CRD) chair Margo Wagner was present to help award the grants. Wagner became the first female chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) in April.
She explained that the NDIT initially provided a set of “seed funding” to the SCCEF in collaboration with the District and the CRD. That funding was invested and has grown to generate interest that the SCCEF is able to award to local non-profits via grants.
This year, Wagner explained that: “The fund matured enough to do some much needed good.”
Last year’s funding was awarded to projects that are now ongoing features in the community.
“You can’t put a value on that,” said De Paoli.
Ralph Myhill-Jones is the local coordinator for Special Olympics BC—100 Mile House (SOBC). The Special Olympics athletes participate in 5-pin bowling, snowshoeing, and golf. In addition to their weekly practices, the group also travels for competitions outside 100 Mile House.
“I cannot tell you how happy we are to have been accepted,” said Myhill-Jones.
“Everyone started snowshoeing in March,” he said. The athletes attended a snowshoeing camp and are excited by the opportunity to progress their skill sets.
“We’ll be going like crazy for next season,” confirmed Myhill-Jones. “It’s fantastic.”
At the grant presentation, De Paoli said that the SCCEF helps to foster a sense of belonging in the community through the many opportunities for connection that it provides via the Friendship Centre.
Mary-Anne Archie is a councillor from the Canim Lake Indian Band. She attended the presentation to accept the grant for the Gathering Place’s cultural workshops.
“It’s important to have a centre that lets everybody experience another person’s view or culture and understand it,” she said.
Archie stressed the significance of passing on one’s culture to younger generations through shared spaces: “This is very important to keep our people together.”
The SCCEF board would like to thank the Northern Development Trust Initiative, the Cariboo Regional District and 100 Mile House District for their contributions of endowment funding which enabled the awarding of these yearly grants.