Rendition of the new Health Sciences Centre being built on the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College. (Contributed)

Rendition of the new Health Sciences Centre being built on the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College. (Contributed)

Okanagan College fundraiser counters pandemic

Health Sciences Centre campaign has raised $2 million in midst of COVID economic slowdown

Raising money for health care education is an issue that strikes at the heart of many donors.

That relationship has enabled the Okanagan College fundraising campaign for the new Health Sciences Centre now under construction on the Kelowna campus.

Despite the economic impact of the coronavirus this past year, the Your Students, Our Health campaign has raised $3.5 million, with $2 million of that in the past year, towards its $5 million goal.

The province kicked in $15.4 million towards the project, about 75 per cent of the cost, leaving the college to make up the remainder.

“We can see the building going up so there is a pressure to meet our funding obligation,” stated Helen Jackman, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, the fundraising arm of the college.

“The plan is still to have the facility open when students return for fall classes in September.”

The college is coming off a successful campaign to raise $8 million for the building trades centre on the Kelowna campus, and looking past the Health Sciences Centre will be the next project.

The college’s Capital Master Plan includes a Wellness Centre and Food, Wine Tourism Centre on the Kelowna Campus. Both of these projects would require provincial approval to move ahead. At this point neither are confirmed.

The next capital project, announced by Premier John Horgan in March, will be the new student residences on Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Vernon Campuses.

But Jackman acknowledges COVID-19 has not made the fundraising task any easier, but yet many donors have stepped forward with individual significant donations.

READ MORE: City councillor gives from the heart

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor, WFN chief join haircuts for health care campaign

With the emphasis on health care, Jackman suggests striking a chord with donors is the students graduating with health care field supporters will be the people caring for us as we age.

Jackman said college grads will filter out into jobs at Kelowna General Hospital, long-term care facilities, pharmacies and dental clinics.

“Graduates of our health care assistant diploma program are in big demand right now,” she said.

Besides being an upgraded building, Jackman noted the Health Sciences Centre will be outfitted with health are training labs that mirror what students will face in the health care workforce.

She said health program students now take classes in buildings that date back to 1963.

“They just don’t fit the purpose anymore of what and how students today need to learn, so when you think about teaching and learning, it is pretty exciting to see the potential for simulating real-life health care experiences in a learning environment,” she said.

Maxine DeHart, the Your Students Our Health campaign ambassador, said she has been amazed by the generosity of donors in this past year.

“When we started this campaign it was pre-pandemic, so we really didn’t know what the pandemic was going to mean…but people have come forward with significant donations,” DeHart said.

“The odd thing is the pandemic has helped in a way because it has made people stop and think, ‘Oh God, this is exactly what we need more than ever.’ I would not have thought that would have been the reaction.”

Echoing Jackman’s sentiments, DeHart said people are supporting the campaign because they see the relationship of how health sciences program graduates will be sustaining a health care system that will look after them in the future.

“And it is just not about care for seniors. We are talking about physiotherapists, massage therapists, pharmacy assistants…health care services that benefit people of all ages,” she added.

DeHart said fundraising hurdles caused by the pandemic have been countered by the relationship that Okanagan College has built with the city.

For more info on the project and to donate go to www.ourstudentsyourhealth.ca. To book a tour or donate over the phone call 250-762-5445, ext 4772.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Okanagan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Participants of the Okanagan Nation Purple Ribbon Campaign march over the William R. Bennett Bridge from Westbank to Kelowna's City Park on Aug. 28, 2019, in support of International Overdose Awareness Day. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

Just Posted

The Township of Spallumcheen collected an honourable mention in the 2020 UBCM Community Excellence Awards for its sustainable service delivery and water improvment district conversion plan. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen water district conversion plan gets recognition

Township collects UBCM Community Excellence Award honourable mention

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Spallumcheen

Township wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Oliver Fire Department had to put out a fire on their own training ground, and it wasn’t one they set. (Facebook)
Vehicles torched at Oliver Fire Department training grounds

This suspected arson comes after the cars were vandalized earlier and suspicious fire the night before

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Tavis Stevenson, son of Pam and Bruce Stevenson, founders of The Book Shop on Main St, is the creator of the whimsical animal farm carts seen above The Book Shop. He also painted the book mural in the back alley behind the shop. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
The Book Shop in downtown Penticton is one of those rare gems

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read