The Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society gives boost to health care students

By Public Affairs | December 22, 2021

Sikh Temple Gift
Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society members Amarjit Singh Lalli, Sewa Bains and Andy Sandhu

A $25,000 gift from the Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society will empower health care students as they pursue their education at Okanagan College.

The Sikh Community began collecting donations from their congregation to support the College's $5-million Our Students, Your Health campaign and was able to raise the funds in six months.

Amarjit Singh Lalli, President of the Okanagan Gurduara, says their community believes in the importance of acquiring knowledge and passing it on to future generations, which made it easy to get behind the project.

“Our community felt an obligation to support a facility that will change countless peoples’ lives,” says Lalli.

“Going through this pandemic we all understand the importance of health care.”

Lalli is a former Okanagan College alumni, graduating from the business program. His son is also a recent graduate of OC's Bachelor of Business Administration program.

Gurpreet Dhatt is a member of the Okanagan Gurduara and teaches in the College’s nursing department. While Dhatt says her day job is educating new nurses, she felt compelled to get involved in fundraising for the state-of-the-art Centre.

“I felt a responsibility to get involved and give back. We received a really enthusiastic response from the community that they wanted to be part of the fundraiser too,” says Dhatt, adding the Sikh community also raised funds for the north campus of Okanagan University College when it was fundraising years ago.

“I’m very proud that our community is making a difference.”

Okanagan College Foundation Development Officer Holly Routley says the gift is heartwarming and will inspire students knowing the community is supportive of their education.

“To see the community come together and rally for the education of future health care professionals means a lot to our students,” says Routley.

Routley says the Foundation receives thank you letters from health care students, many who are working part-time jobs in the health care sector while they finish their programs.

“Students share that they feel grateful to the individuals and organizations who are helping make this state-of-the-art learning facility possible.”

Routley adds that the there is still time to give the gift of health care this holiday season.

The Okanagan College Foundation is encouraging the public to help them raise the final $750,000 needed to complete the Centre. Gifts of $1,000 or more will be featured on a donor wall located in the main entrance of the Health Sciences Centre.

To learn more or to donate visit

Tags: OC Foundation, Health Sciences Centre, Kelowna



Sign up for weekly stories


Sean McFetridge
Meet Sean McFetridge, OC alumnus

November 1, 2021

After an intense wildfire season, heatwaves and droughts, the need for Canadians to conserve water is more crucial than ever. That’s where OC alumnus Sean McFetridge comes in. He and his wife, Alisha McFetridge, co-founded RainStick Shower, a WiFi-enabled smart shower system that aims to solve water and energy waste by up to 80%. We caught up with Sean to hear more about what he’s been up to since graduating from OC in 2011. Where is your hometown and where are you located now?Kelo...

Kelly Terbasket
kinSHIFT: a powerful—and local—way to learn about Truth and Reconciliation

September 27, 2021

Kelly Terbasket of IndigenEYEZ has created a new sister organization for allies—kinSHIFT. Launched this spring, kinSHIFT is a tailored set of workshops for non-Indigenous allies who want to take the next step. Designed in response to increasing requests from people who want to be genuine allies, kinSHIFT is a safer space to do the work.                                                                          ------------ As a person of mixed heritage, I've always felt the divide between cultures and wanted to be part of bridging awareness a...

English Professor Hannah Calder reads while sitting in her home office by a window
Why We Write: Poets of Vernon

September 10, 2021

The writing community of Vernon is taking centre stage in a new film produced by OC English Professor and self-proclaimed budding filmmaker Hannah Calder. For the last four years, Calder has been collaborating with Curtis and Silmara Emde on Why We Write: Poets of Vernon, a film project originally sparked in 2017. Curtis, an OUC alumnus, has stayed in touch with his first-year English professor, Tom Wayman, since completing his studies. When Wayman released his collection of music-...

Ty Sideroff story
Ty Sideroff

September 3, 2021

“I have always been interested in our anatomy and exercising so I enrolled in OC’s Kinesiology Diploma program. My first year was going really well, then COVID-19 hit. I was able to finish the first year in an online format. However, starting school in September completely online, I was struggling to stay engaged with my studies. Before COVID, many of our classes would be active and in the gym. I found it hard to stay present with everything online and not having the same convers...