Penticton Eagles help lift OSNS centre

Thousands of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre’s young clients are the beneficiaries of nearly $9,000 in funding.

Ashton Konechy (right) and Bowen Bifford were hard at work Thursday harvesting potatoes from the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre learning and sharing garden. Recent donations are going to expand the centre's nutritional goals.

Ashton Konechy (right) and Bowen Bifford were hard at work Thursday harvesting potatoes from the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre learning and sharing garden. Recent donations are going to expand the centre's nutritional goals.

Thousands of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre’s young clients are the beneficiaries of nearly $9,000 in funding thanks to two local organizations.

The Eagles Ladies Auxiliary (#4281) donated $1,100 and the board of directors of the First West Foundation is giving another $7,500 to the non-profit agency, which provides a variety of services to children and teens throughout the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

Money from the Eagles will go to repairs and upgrading of the outdoor learning area of the Kinderplace Developmental Preschool. Built in 1996 ,the area is used year-round to inspire creativity and promote motor skills.

“We’ve been strong supporters of OSNS and the children of our community for decades and are happy to help provide funding for equipment” said Helen Little of the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary.

“Yes the Eagles are longtime supporters but they are also supporters who understand the need for foundation pieces,” said Manisha Willms, the centre’s executive director. “There are many people who we are grateful to who help us buy equipment for the kids and people like the Eagles are very good with helping us with things like floors and infrastructure. The outside learning structure was rotting underneath and it’s not an easy thing to fundraise for and the Eagles did that.

“They are helping us put our children on solid footing, literally.”

Read more: OSNS leader driven to help children

The First West donation will play a key part in the development of the Valley First Teaching Kitchen, which coincides with the OSNS learning and sharing garden put in two years ago through the support of Garden Works and Home Hardware.

“We have lots of children who are now involved in growing food and learning motor skills and sequencing skills in the natural environment of a garden,” said Willms. “It’s the next phase of that dream to take the produce and to partner with a dietician to teach children and parents about healthy eating. It will also make sure the over 1,200 children who come here a year annually start out with a positive relationship with healthy food and so the Valley First Teaching Kitchen will make that dream come true.”

She added children are more likely to eat healthy food if they have hand in growing it and learning and preparation skills.

“We’re very excited to partner with an organization that has such a holistic approach to children’s health and wellbeing,” said Seline Kutan, Executive Director of First West Foundation. “Having the capacity to teach not only the parents but the whole family in the new Valley First Teaching Kitchen goes a long way to establishing positive relationships with nutritious food.”