Putting a price on care and compassion for special needs children is difficult, but for those who do the job, sadly it is a necessity.
That’s why raising the dollars and cents is so important at this time of year for the OSNS Child Development Centre.
It is also the reason why so many people give of themselves to help get the badly needed $300,000 to make up annual budget shortfall for the facility.
And while this year’s projected total of $53,000 from Sunday’s Share-a-Smile Telethon is down compared to last year, centre executive director Judy Sentes couldn’t be happier with the results.
“We knew coming in it was going to be tough and indeed it was, but like it has in the past, this community has been utterly amazing,” said Sentes, who announced earlier this was her final telethon. “You can never say this is what we did last year or what the all time high was because every year is a different year.
“Unfortunately there are more and more good charities who are forced into fundraising. The philanthropic dollar to all of this is not only weak, it hasn’t grown and there’s more of the charities needing a slice of that pie.”
She added the impact on both businesses and individuals who do their best to help can literally be draining.
Perhaps one of the most important things now is for those who did contribute is to honour their pledges.
Calling it a “gentle” reminder, Sentes points out that without the cash to back up the donation, the figures are only on paper.
That is true especially in years like this one where the amounts are lower, every penny counts.
According to the executive director, there are an increasing number of children in need of support in the centre’s wide coverage area.
One spot in particular is the Princeton region where the mine re-opening has brought an influx of younger families.
“There has been a dramatic rise in the number of children who have need of our services there,” said Sentes. “Families are working and they can’t get their kids to us, so we go to them and that’s costly. It’s easy for a bureaucrat to say they (children) should come to us but that’s two hours away and many of them just can’t do that.”
One very familiar face on the screen for the nine-hour telethon again this year was CHBC Television’s Mike Roberts.
While he may have lost count of the number of years he has been giving of his time to the event, he doesn’t regret a minute of it.
“It’s been a long time but a good time,” he said during an off-camera moment. “It’s still a lot of fun and I really enjoy it. Especially meeting the people who work here because you get to find out the joy and satisfaction they get out of it and the wonderful changes they make in children’s lives and families’ lives.
“We get to meet the staff and parents and people who come here to get the services the centre offers and it is heart warming to help out the child development centre.”
He added it is not just the individual kids who benefit.
“You get a problem in a family and it can affect everybody. You get a solution and it can affect everybody and that’s neat,” said the host. “This is just a treasure of a place.”
Rotary Club member Carl Tymm was just one of the many volunteers who manned the telephones, taking pledges and twisting the arms and wallets of friends.
“The child development centre is very important,” said Tymm, who added this is his way of giving back to the community he loves so much. “It’s an area that’s not really addressed properly and we would like to see it funded so that more kids can come here.
“The kids are the most important thing, they’re our future and the more we can do for them, the better the future will be.”
Donations can still be made to the development centre by calling 250-492-0295 or online at osns.org.
The organization’s other major fundraisers include the annual Evergreen Ball next month and the Harley Davidson raffle, with tickets going on sale in late December.