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COF funds financial literacy program for elementary

A $6,630 grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) is helping Enactus students from Okanagan College continue their efforts to support financial literacy among elementary school children.

The grant from the COF is supporting the College students as they develop a new teacher resource page for the CAN$ave program, thanks to a large grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation.  CAN$ave is an innovative award-winning financial literacy program aimed at Grade 1 and Grade 3 students, developed by Enactus students. Can$ave 2016

The elementary school participants learn the importance of buying for need over want, the differences between good and bad debt, and how to save for their future while putting money aside to help those in need.  The program is taught using a simulated economy, allowing students to earn pay for things like good behaviour and for completing their CAN$ave workbooks.  Students are also charged desk rent and are met with unforeseen expenses like the teacher’s SmartBoard breaking.  Students are enticed by toys from a "store", which may cause the students to incur debt, which can be as frustrating for a six-year-old as it is for an adult.

“We see this as a valuable investment that will benefit grade school students, as well as support the work of socially-conscious College students doing good things in our community,” says Cheryl Miller, Central Okanagan Foundation, Director, Grants & Community Initiatives.

The Enactus team partnered with Valley First Credit Union, a division of First West Credit Union, which donated $25 to the charity of a class’s choice for each student who successfully completed the program.  A Valley First representative also helped facilitate a lesson that teaches students how to open a savings account and how banking works.  In the spring, over 200 students successfully completed CAN$ave, resulting in almost $5,000 donated to local charities.

This fall, the Enactus CAN$ave team hopes to significantly increase the number of students exposed to financial literacy.  The creation of a teacher resource page means educators from across the province will be able to access CAN$ave curriculum and lesson plans free of charge. 

 “The grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation validates all of the hard work my team and our teacher partners have put into CAN$ave,” explains Abbey Jones, CAN$ave project manager. “We can't wait to see how much more impact we will have with these extra resources at our disposal.”

Jones, her team and area teachers will also be presenting CAN$ave to primary teachers from across the Central Okanagan at the School District 23’s Pro-D week before schools starts this September. 

The $6,630 grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation is the second grant received for the CAN$ave program in the past few months.  In April, the Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth and United Way's Gennext gave the Enactus team $2,000 to help purchase supplies for the CAN$ave program.

The CAN$ave program was introduced to teachers in January by Jones and a team of four other Okanagan College students.  In the winter, Jones and CAN$ave team member Hannah Griffin, earned first place at the Western Canadian Enactus Championships.  In May, the CAN$ave program was awarded second place at the Enactus Nationals, against 55 universities across Canada. 

“Teaching financial literacy to students has been a wonderful experience,” says Cody Troutman, another CAN$ave team member.  “We've learned that you are never too young to learn these important life skills.  When you see a seven-year-old starting to understand debt avoidance and how to save to help others, you really know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.”

“The Enactus OC students have put a tremendous amount of effort into creating and implementing CAN$ave,” says Okanagan College Professor Devin Rubadeau, who serves as advisor to the Enactus team. “It's very rewarding seeing other community programs come to our aid as Okanagan College students work to educate youth about the perils of debt and not saving for their future.”

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EDS: Please find attached an image of a Grade 3 class from A.S. Matheson Elementary, with (left to right) Enactus members Hannah Griffin, Julia Lalach, and Abbey Jones. 

For more information:

Allan Coyle, Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5413
acoyle@okanagan.bc.ca

Medical Office Assistant training helps launch graduate into a career she never planned for

JeromeLindsay Jerome never expected to go into the medical field.
 
Yet, Jerome decided to take the Medical Office Assistant (MOA) certificate at Okanagan College and upon graduation was hired by the North Okanagan Medical Clinic at Superstore in Vernon, B.C. Three years later, she enjoys a challenging career at the clinic where every day is different.
 
“I had no idea what I wanted to do and was just working retail – going nowhere,” says Jerome. “I knew I wanted to make more money, and I also wanted a job that was in-demand and that I could be proud of.”
 
Jerome decided to start investigating post-secondary education and her research led her to consider a career as a medical office assistant.
 
“Everybody that I talked to about the job had been doing it for 20-plus years, and they loved it,” says Jerome.
 
Jerome enrolled in the College’s part-time, Medical Office Assistant certificate and worked two jobs – retail and dog grooming – while completing her education. The flexibility of the program, which includes evenings and some weekend classroom time, allowed her to fit both work and school into her busy schedule.
 
Jerome found the instructors knowledgeable and ready to answer all of her questions, and appreciated the fact that her training included an observation.
 
“I did my observation at the clinic that I now work at, and I know for a fact that they wouldn’t have hired me without the course,” says Jerome. “Plus, there’s only so much the books can tell you. Our teacher would often say ‘it depends on where you work.’ So by doing my observation I learned things that were specific to working in a walk-in clinic.”
 
The Medical Office Assistant program is offered at the Vernon and Kelowna campuses and covers medical terminology, medical office procedures (including computerized medical billing), medical office guidelines, and medical and legal ethical standards. Instructors also help students develop time management and effective verbal and written communication skills.
 
“The training really is a great jumping off point for our graduates to go into a versatile career,” says instructor Carrol Tull. “We’ve got grads working in doctor’s offices, vet clinics, walk-in clinics, and hospitals.”
 
Tull also says that the instruction is designed to be hands-on and practical.
 
“Having been an MOA for many years I get great pleasure passing on my knowledge to the students who are eager to be part of this industry. It’s exciting to be part of this learning process, watching the students become skilled, confident and eager to start their rewarding careers.”

What does Jerome like best about her job?
 
“You never know what’s going to walk through the door!” she laughs. “It’s chaotic, it’s crazy busy, and it’s challenging because the medical field is always changing and we have about 20-30 doctors who rotate through here. So you’re always learning and definitely never bored.”
 
Jerome has a message for students considering the program: “Just do it – you won’t regret it.”
 
To find out more about Okanagan College’s Medical Office Assistant certificate, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/moa.
 

Local student athlete gives back

Okanagan College Media Release – Wednesday, July 20

Local student athlete gives back

An elite cross-country mountain bike racer and business student has shown he has the generosity to match his world-class prowess on two wheels.

Kelowna-born Evan Guthrie, 25, has been racing bikes at the highest levels since he was only 12-years-old. In 2009, at age 18, he was already a four-time national champion in cross-country mountain biking and cyclo-cross, and that year earned a silver medal in team relay at the World Championships and was named BC Male Mountain Biker of the Year.

Seven years later, Guthrie is still competing on the national and international stage, while also juggling life as a full-time student. He’s currently completing a diploma in Business Administration at Okanagan College and will graduate next year. And with national championships on the horizon this summer and a busy competitive season that extends well into the fall, Guthrie has already chalked up one of his most rewarding victories this year: he recently launched a scholarship fund to help student athletes pursue their dreams.

“As someone born and raised in Okanagan, it means a lot to me to be able to support our local student athletes,” says Guthrie, who graduated from Mount Boucherie Secondary and now lives in Peachland.

“It was also a priority to meevan guthrie to make this happen early in my career,” he says. “I drew inspiration from other local athletes, like Kelsey Serwa, who have done the same, while still very young. I thought ‘Why wait?’”

As a high school student, Guthrie received a bursary founded by Kristi Richards, an Olympic freestyle skier from Summerland. Guthrie credits receiving the award as one of his earliest inspirations to create his own fund one day.

“I just find the idea of athletes giving back and supporting other youth athletes inspiring,” says Guthrie. “I’m so grateful for the support I received, and my hope is that young athletes will use this support to continue reaching for their dreams, as I did.”

Guthrie approached the Central Okanagan Foundation to set up an annual award to benefit young athletes. The criteria for the award is focused on athletics and good sportsmanship rather than marks, and athletes can apply it toward post-secondary tuition, books, and fees, or purely toward athletic costs while in school.

“I wanted the criteria to be flexible and allow a wide array of young people to apply,” explains Guthrie. “School wasn’t something that came naturally to me, but heading back to College as a mature student I have come to appreciate the doors that education can open in our lives and careers.”

Guthrie says his business education at the College has helped enhance his personal marketing as an athlete, and has also upped his confidence when it comes to managing the financial side of his business.

“Being an athlete is very similar to owning a small business,” he notes. “And some of the skills and knowledge I’ve picked up at the College have helped me further my career, no question.

“But above all, being a student has reminded me that none of us get where we are going alone. We all need a little help along the way.”

Guthrie notched a 7th place finish at National Championships in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec on July 14 and will compete in the Canada Cup in St Felicien this weekend. He took time off from a busy training schedule in June to personally present the inaugural award from his fund to local biathlete Tekarra Banser, who plans to attend UBCO this fall.

"As a Youth Olympic athlete and having experienced national sport, I know the amount of determination and perseverance that it has taken for Evan Guthrie to get to the level he's at in his sport,” says Banser. “I am thrilled and feel truly honoured to be the inaugural award recipient of Evan Guthrie's scholarship."

“We’re tremendously proud and appreciative of the growing number of young people like Evan Guthrie who are looking at how they can make a positive impact in their surrounding communities,” says Bruce Davies, Executive Director of the Central Okanagan Foundation. “They are lighting and carrying the philanthropic torch among their generation.”

Guthrie also joins other numerous Okanagan College students and alumni who are making an impact early on.

“We’ve had students complete their programs and immediately set up awards,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “These are young people in the early stages of their careers, who often do not have a great deal of money, but who are finding ways to give back. I think that speaks to the quality of young citizens we’re fortunate to have in the Okanagan and to the value they place on education.”

 
 

Camp OC keeps kids learning all summer long at Okanagan College

Summer in the Okanagan means lazy days at the beach, but for 1,500 kids in Kelowna this year it also means exciting adventures in everything from Lego robotics to the culinary arts at Okanagan College’s Camp OC.
 
Last week, more than 150 children and teenagers filled the College’s Kelowna campus for nine different camps including Chef Academy, Java Programming using Minecraft, and Jewelry and Craft Creations. Camp OC – Okanagan College’s educational summer camp – offers more than 100 camps and runs from now until Aug. 26 at the College’s Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses.
 
“We started offering Camp OC in Kelowna 12 years ago with about 10 camps and 70 kids,” says Helena Jordo, Camp OC coordinator. “This year we are expecting close to 1,500 kids and teens to attend 100 camps during the eight weeks of summer. “We’re really proud of how the camps have developed.”
 
Jordo explains that all of the Camp OC programs have an educational component, and are taught in a fun and interactive way.
 
“One of the biggest differences compared to other camps is that the majority of our camps are taught by actual teachers with a passion and expertise in the subject they are teaching and obviously a background in teaching.”
 
Matching industry experience and expertise with a student’s area of interest is nothing new to the College, nor Camp OC for that matter. Jordo says that one of the purposes of Camp OC is to get children and teens familiar with the College now so that when they graduate from high school they are already comfortable with the campus and the post-secondary environment.
 
Eden Froom, 10, attended the camp Movie Director – Lights, Camera, Action! and says using the green screen to make funny videos was her favourite part.
 
“I love Camp OC because I can make new friends and do stuff I’ve always wanted to do,” says Froom.
 
Kevin Nickel, who teaches the Movie Director camp, says one of the things that makes Camp OC so much fun is the educational experience without grades or risk of failure.
“Taking grades out of the equation is great for both the instructors and for the kids because it allows a ton of room for creativity and genuine learning.”

Camp OC runs weeklong day-camps for children entering Grades 2-9 in the fall, throughout the summer. Space is still available in some camps. To find out more or register, visit the Camp OC website:www.okanagan.bc.ca/campoc.

Local builder proud to support future tradespeople
Okanagan College Media Release

With more than two decades of experience under his tool belt, a local construction business owner and Okanagan College alumnus is giving back to support future tradespeople.

John Bachelder July 2016John Bachelder, owner of Bachelder Construction Ltd., has pledged $10,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College.

“This is an incredible facility that really honours tradespeople,” says Bachelder. “I’m excited to be a part of that. I imagine students are going to feel very proud to learn here and proud of the career path they’ve chosen.”

Bachelder moved to the Okanagan in 1970 when he was just 14-years-old, and says the trades have always been an important part of his life from an early age. He studied Commercial Transport at the College in 1985 before going into the construction business in 1993.

“I’ve been around the housing industry for most of my life,” says Bachelder. “And there has always been the challenge of finding enough skilled people. We need to stay ahead of the curve and that begins with supporting and encouraging the next generation of tradespeople.”

Among that next generation is Bachelder’s son Brady, who also trained at Okanagan College—earning Red Seals in Carpentry and Welding—and has gone on to be very successful right out of school.

“The trades are becoming increasingly technical, which is why education and training is so important,” notes Bachelder.

His wife Cynthia and daughter Anna-Leigh are also College alumni, having completed the Early Childhood Education and Human Service Work diploma programs in recent years.

In addition to his philanthropic activity with the College, Bachelder is also a member of the Kelowna chapter of 100 Men Who Give a Damn.

“I like to support things that tug on the heart strings a little, and we’re lucky to have a place like the College in the region, it creates a lot of opportunities for students.”

The College recently completed construction on its new and expanded trades training complex—a $33-million project. More than $6.2 million has been raised from local industry and individuals, to top up the province’s $28-million investment. The fundraising campaign goal is $7 million, which includes $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for program and student support. An official grand opening is being planned for the fall.

According to Bachelder, becoming a donor has afforded him the chance to build a stronger connection with the College and to others in his industry who have supported the recent trades expansion project.

Bachelder reconnected with his alma mater during a dinner hosted by two of his fellow home builders Lambert Schmalz and Gord Wilson. Both men have contributed to the fundraising campaign for the project and have invited other builders to support their future workforce.

“It’s been great re-connecting with the College, and meeting with others in the industry to hear what they’re doing to support the next generation. It’s great to see that there is a growing number of us who believe in supporting the future of our industry.”

As a sector, local homebuilders have contributed more than $500,000 to the project.

“We greatly appreciate the support our local homebuilders have shown for the project,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “This gift from John Bachelder is very generous, and once again demonstrates for our students that local employers value the training being offered at the College."

More information about the new building, the fundraising campaign and opportunities to get involved is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign