Making a call that counts for kids is what organizers are hoping people will do during Sunday’s Shaw Share a Smile telethon for the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre.
The 36th annual fundraising event begins at noon and can be seen live on Shaw, channel 11 and streaming on the centre’s website, www.osns.org.
In 2014, thanks to the generosity of people throughout the regions served by the non-profit agency, over $42,000 was raised to help keep the centre operating.
“The way we’re looking at it, is that any amount we receive is wonderful and very appreciated,” said Manisha Willms, the centre’s executive director.
In fact one component of the fundraiser, the online auction has already begun and can be accessed by going to the website.
This year it’s even bigger and better according to the executive director.
“We are growing this idea and loving this idea and we have such generous partners in the South Okanagan Similkameen,” said Willms “Last year we had 30 online auction items this year we have 80 and they’re fantastic. Bidding will continue until 5 p.m. the day of the telethon.
“The telethon is important to the centre for two reasons, first of all it is our biggest fundraising effort of the year and it literally does help us keep our doors open,” said Willms. “We do get money from government cover the cost of wages for our therapists, but everything we need in terms of materials and having the right equipment to do the therapy work we do comes from telethon.”
She added the second reason is public awareness and education. To show people exactly how the kids are helped to move forward and improve their quality of life.
“It is so difficult those first years after a child is diagnosed with a difficulty when your little ones are so young,” said Willms.
Many people who have attended the centre in the more than three decades of operation are very much active in the community.
Those services are not just for the children, but every member of the family.
“It’s critical to the success of the work we do here that the kids get that support from the parents in the home environment,” said Willms.
Every year the numbers of challenged children needing assistance with a wide range of emotional and physical issues grows.
In 2014 alone the centre saw more than 700 kids from over 300 families and many more on the waiting list.
During the telethon the Carmi Avenue location will be transformed into a television studio.
As part of the program there will be a number of features as well as a good representation of local talent as part of the entertainment.
There will also be testimonials from those who have benefited from the services and as well, a close-up look at the work involved.
During the broadcast the executive director will also be proudly unveiling the paediatric climbing wall recently installed the gym.
“We work hard to make sure every space in the centre is a space of learning, but also a space that’s fun and motivating for children to be able to just have more enthusiasm about learning something that is difficult for them,” said Willms. So a paediatric climbing wall offers children an opportunity to learn balance, to increase their muscle strength to think about sequencing and motor control.”
Custom-built, it was designed in co-operation with the OSNS physiotherapy department for maximum benefit to all levels of children’s instruction.
Money for the project came from a variety of individuals, businesses and a KISU swim team swim-a-thon which raised $2,000.
“That’s a great story of kids helping kids and what a wonderful story that is,” said Willms who expressed her gratitude to the nearly 200 volunteers who give of their time to make the show a success.
Starting at noon Sunday those wanting to donate can call the centre’s regular number 250-492-0295 or go online at www.osns.org.