At our AGM on Tuesday, we voted to now support children and families from Osoyoos AND Ok Falls traveling for medical care, not just Oliver! This expansion of our service area is only possible because of your continued and generous support! If you live in either Osoyoos or Ok Falls and want to help us reach out to your town, please contact us.
The concept for H2H was first brought up at a Rotary Club of Oliver visioning session in the spring of 2011. Throughout 2012 a committee of Rotary members explored the feasibility of such an organization: by speaking with families who had experienced a need for distant medical care for their child; by gaining knowledge from 2 other similar organizations; and by researching programs and assistance that was already available. The committee identified a need and set about to create a society to provide families with funding and information. The Highway to Healing Support Society was officially registered in November 2012 with a board comprised of five Rotarians. The plan was to eventually include other members of the community on the board.
So with a $300 start-up donation from the Rotary Club of Oliver and a $1,000 donation from a generous Rotarian H2H came into being. The next year was devoted to building the structure of the organization which meant registering as a charitable society, creating policies and procedures, opening bank accounts, sourcing potential funding, creating a website, engaging on social media and on and on and on.
On November 21, 2013 we held our official launch and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Right from the start citizens, service groups and businesses in Oliver saw the merit of H2H and on that first evening we received donations totalling $4,600. And now in 2017 we continue to marvel at the generosity of this community.
This new charity in Oliver, B.C. received registration by the Canada Revenue Agency on August 21, 2013. Since then we have supported 11 families whose children were faced with a variety of medical conditions that required travel away for medical care – some straight forward for assessment or consultation and others for life threatening conditions. This past year H2H support was made available for two new families and for 3 repeat families.
These families received $300 to $500 for a first trip depending on the length of their stay in Vancouver and support for longer stays up to $2500. We also supply a list of other agencies that may be available to help families that find themselves in this situation such as: the B.C. Families Residence Program that provides up to 30 days funding for accommodation and other agencies have helped with transportation needs.
Highway to Healing relies on donations from service organizations, corporate and individual donors. New this year were generous donations from C.C. Jentsch Cellars, Fairview Cellars, and the Kiwanis Club of Oliver. This support from the community has been tremendous and very much appreciated by the families that we support.
This year we held our second annual “Ride to Provide” bike ride cosponsored by Double O Bikes. We appreciated help from the Lions/Lioness Clubs with the barbeque that followed the ride. Also, many thanks go to the volunteers and the Oliver businesses that make this event possible.
Planning has started for the 2017 “Ride to Provide” to be held on Sunday, June 11. It is a fun event, so mark it on your calendars.
The “100 Women Who Care” organization chose Highway to Healing to receive funding from the members at their first meeting. Each of the women who attended donated $100 to our cause. This unique way to support charitable organizations is appreciated.
Riley Martin’s 2.1 km swim across Okanagan Lake was another third-party event where the funds were directed to H2H. The pledges for his great effort raised over $5000 thanks to Riley’s successful swim across the lake.
Community awareness is an important part of the work of the H2H Board of Directors. We want to be certain that all the families who need to travel for medical care know about the assistance that H2H provides. On our website, there is a simple application for families to complete if they are seeking help from H2H. We also want any potential donors to know how to contact us. We have a continuous ad on Oliver Daily News and we have phone, email and postal contact numbers. The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen (CFSOS) Knowledge Centre is another good website for information about the Highway to Healing Support Society. We have also made presentations to various clubs and groups in the Oliver area to increase community awareness and to reach out to families.
The new provincial Society’s Act has been introduced to non-profit societies in B.C. The Highway to Healing Support Society board will have to transition to the new legislation by November 2018. All of our bylaws need to be in an electronic format. This should not be an onerous task since we are a relatively new society and our correspondence with the registrar’s office has been through electronic means, however, we will take this opportunity to make minor changes to our bylaws. One change will be to expand our service area. To that end we are considering expansion to include the Town of Osoyoos, Area A of the RDOS, and the O.K. Falls area. Details for these changes in boundaries are being discussed with individuals in those areas.
This report is a collaboration with Joan McCaughey and me. Joan McCaughey was elected president at the 2015 AGM, but moved to the Comox Valley during the past year. We have missed her dearly. Since she was one of the original Rotary members to develop the H2H organization, we owe her a big debt of gratitude for all her hard work in getting H2H where it is now.
I would like to acknowledge the other board members and thank them for a job well done:
Tanya Martin, treasurer; Gail Barriskill, secretary; Riley Martin, director; Cindy Gosling, director; and Jim Cade, director. This Board worked conscientiously for the benefit of the families who we support.
The support received by Highway to Healing is an excellent example of how much the community cares about children and families.
At our 2016 AGM on February 28, 2017 we voted in our new board of directors, which reflects the departure of long-time director, president, and founder Joan McCaughey.
Our new board of directors, from left to right: Tanya Martin (treasurer), Jim Cade, Riley Martin, Gail Barriskill (President), Alesha Grimard, Cindy Gosling (Secretary), Ernie Dumais (Vice President). Gail Barriskill steps in as our new President to pick up where Joan left off, and Alesha Grimard is our newest board member who filled the vacant seat!
The directors of Highway to Healing want to give a heartfelt thank you to all the participants, pledgers, volunteers, corporate sponsors, and local businesses that helped make our 2nd Ride to Provide a reality!
Oliver Daily News contributed $200 to our cause today! Thanks to Jack Bennest for the continued support! What a wonderful and generous community we live in. He is pictured here donating the cheque to H2H directors Gail Barriskill, Joan McCaughey, and Ernie Dumais.
H2H Secretary and Director Gail Barriskill presented to WOW recently, and they decided to donate $500 towards our cause. Thanks so much, ladies!
Gail (centre) is pictured here with WOW members Cathy Gushulak (left) and Terry Beddome (right).
Photo credit to Jack Bennest at oliverdailynews.com.
100 Women Who Care is a group of Women from Oliver, Ok Falls, and Osoyoos who get together twice per year, prepared to donate $100 each. They have three local charities present their cause, vote on who they’d like to donate to, and the winning charity receives all of the donations. On Monday April 4th, director Riley Martin presented H2H’s cause, and won the vote! The wonderful ladies donated a total of $5900 to Highway to Healing! The entire board of directors is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to present, and of course, for the incredibly generous donations.
We give our thanks to Shelley Bolingbroke for her two years of work on the board of directors as she has stepped down from secretary at our 2015 AGM. Gail Barriskill has taken on the secretary role moving forward, and to fill the newly vacant spot on the board, we welcome Jim Cade as our newest director to help with fund development!
Looking back on 2015 brings up many feelings, particularly feelings of compassion for Oliver families who are faced with the stress of having a sick child and trying to determine how they are going to deal with the details of getting the care their child needs. I feel tremendous gratitude for the volunteers, donors, sponsors and supporters who show their kindness through giving time or donations to Highway to Healing Support Society (H2H). I also appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Highway to Healing Board of Directors. They are a well-connected group of individuals who are very familiar with the community that we serve.
This past year we have helped six more families get to their special medical appointments in Vancouver. H2H helped families access free accommodation and provided funds for costs associated with their travel to Children’s’ Hospital. We supported families whose children were faced with a variety of medical conditions – some straight forward for assessment or consultation and others for life threatening conditions.
We made a very beneficial connection recently with “Variety, the Children’s Charity”. It administers the B.C. Family Residence Program for the provincial government. This program provides funding for accommodation for up to 30 days per stay to families of children requiring travel away from home for medical care. For most of our families this is a huge savings. Needless to say, we advise Oliver families how they can access this program.
Community awareness is an important part of the work of the H2H Board of Directors. To that end, we have developed a number of initiatives including a website that the public can go to for information about our organization. On that website there is a simple application for families to complete if they are seeking help from Highway to Healing. Director Riley Martin, together with Laurena Rehbein of “Write this Down” web design, have been working to revise our original website. This work will result in easier access to our website to help families get funding and to provide a means to make online donations to H2H.
Other community awareness initiatives include our attendance at the following events:
- Mainly for Women Trade Show (WOW)
- Youth Cares regular meeting
- Lions Anniversary and Purina Dog Walk
- Rotary 70th Anniversary celebration
- Sunshine Festival Parade
- Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 97 Meat Draw
Advertising has been done on the following:
- CFSOS Community Knowledge Centre
- Parks and Recreation Spring and Fall Guides
- Various ads on Oliver Daily News and the Oliver Chronicle
Fund raising is another important part of what we do. On September 13, 2015 we were the host sponsor of the “Ride to Provide” biking event. It included a 30 km ride along the bike path and roads in our community and a 10 km ride from Lions Park along the bike path to the power line crossing and back to Lions Park where a barbecue lunch was served by the Lions/Lioness clubs. This event was co-sponsored by Double O Bikes. Other local businesses supported the event as well: Interior Savings Credit Union, Dr. Daniel Ng, PJR Contracting and TRU Building Centre. Gift prizes were provided by other Oliver businesses. We were very thankful for their support. The volunteer help was vital to the success that we had putting on this event. We cannot thank those volunteers enough for their help! We registered approximately 75 riders of all ages. We netted about $5000 for the days’ event including the registration fees, pledges, donations and sponsorships. We hope that this event will become an annual event for those people that took part this year. We have learned a lot in putting on the event and hope to make the next year’s “Ride to Provide” even more successful. An important change for next year is the date. Please put Sunday, June 12, 2016 on your calendar for the Ride to Provide.
The community support received by Highway to Healing is a good example of how much the Oliver Community cares about children and families. The families that have had to travel for medical treatment have indicated their appreciation of the community support. Our Board gets great satisfaction for their part in helping these families in their time of need.
Luckily for us, as we become more well-known within the community and the number of families that we assist rises, so does the support we receive from the community! The Oliver Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion donated $3000 to H2H today!
Photo credit to Jack Bennest at ODN. Pictured is H2H president Ernie Dumais, director Riley Martin, Secretary Shelley Bolingbroke, RCL Branch 97 President Marty Foss, and Sgt/A Jim Stewart.