The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan | Similkameen (new window) awarded a $10,000 grant to the Neil Squire Society (new window) in April, 2015. This grant was critical in sustaining key programs for people with disabilities in the Okanagan.
The Neil Squire Society works in partnership with the Penticton Indian Band (new window) and their Footprints to Technology Centre (new window) to offer programming to all residents, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, throughout the Okanagan. Programs include Computer Comfort, a computer skills development program, and Employ-Ability, which prepares participants for future employment opportunities. The facility also provides drop-in computer access, job search assistance, and community based education programs such as Money Matters financial literacy with TD (new window), Patient Voices (new window) health info session, Okanagan College (new window) trades presentation, and Elections Canada (new window) voter information.
In a period of six months, funds from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan | Similkameen provided services to 290 individuals with disabilities, of whom, 9 found employment, and 4 returned to school. It enabled 6 people to enhance their computer skills in the Computer Comfort Program, and 11 people to enhance their job readiness and graduate from the Employ-Ability Program. Funding provided 253 people with drop-in services, and facilitated 248 hours of volunteerism.
“I have taken a few courses at Footprints to Technology; Employ-Ability, wage subsidy program, money matters, living life to the full program, and have really enjoyed them,” said participant, Gord. “I now have a long term goal to work in the jail in Oliver. I am currently working part time in silvaculture. The programs and staff at Footprints to Technology helped me job search, connect and stay on track.”
The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan | Similkameen is a living legacy firmly rooted in the communities it serves. Since its inception, over 100 Funds have been established, the value of which currently exceeds $9.9 million. Over $340 thousand is now granted annually, enriching the quality of life by supporting a broad range of charitable agencies whose programs encompass a wide variety of programs that meet evolving needs and opportunities.