Event spreads sweet smiles

She is known for her sweet tooth, but through her efforts abroad, Barrita Durward is known better for the sweet smiles she creates

Vernon’s Barrita Durward with some of the children at one of the Mexican orphanages she annually assists through her annual fundraiser Valentine’s for Mexico

As the owner of a local chocolate shop, she is known for her sweet tooth, but through her efforts abroad, Barrita Durward is known better for the sweet smiles she creates.

Durward, owner of Vernon’s Cotton’s Chocolates, travels to Mexico several times a year to build and renovate orphanages and help create a better life for children who have been exploited, abused and abandoned on the streets.

“Last year I went down three times and we finished the bathroom renovations,” said Durward, founder of the Sweet Smiles Association who pays her own way but fundraises for building supplies and scholarships for the children.

This year marks the fifth annual fundraiser, Valentine’s for Mexico, March 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Vernon Lodge.

The event features a scrumptious dinner and an abundance of fun ways for the community to support the cause while winning some incredible prizes.

Sparkling jewelry, vacations abroad and more await winners of the locked treasure chest, treasure tree, balloon bursts, door prizes, swag bags, silent auction, 50/50 draw and a new addition to this year’s event.

Durward is excited to announce that Okanagan Spring has come on board to give away a locked liquor cabinet.

The event also includes Henna art and a photo booth by Red Door Photography.

All of the proceeds from the event are used to assist two orphanages in Mexico: the City of Angels and House of Hope and Love.

This year the main thrust of the fundraiser is to raise enough to complete construction of a transition house and laundry facility on the campus of orphanage buildings.

This will allow the older children to remain on campus where they can focus on their schooling and creating a better future for themselves, said Durward.

“The transition home is kind of like my big dream come true,” said Durward, who has seen some children leave the orphanage only to end up back on the streets, into drugs and in jail.

Her hope is that the transition house will allow more children to end up like Santiago, the first child to graduate, or Esme, who is earning a degree in tourism.

As part of a thank you for all the support Vernon residents have lent so far, the children abroad have hand-picked special pearls from the markets, which Durward has formed into jewelry to hand out at the event.

Tickets for Valentine’s for Mexico are available at Cotton’s Chocolates ($49 in advance) or at the door ($60).



Just Posted

Water availability concerns stall Vernon subdivison application

Feasibility study to be conducted to see if BX-area properties can utilize community water system

Vernon Rec Centre pool set for shutdown

Annual three-week maintenance closure runs Aug. 26 to Sept. 16

Jaws of Life used to rescue driver in Lumby crash

Single-vehicle MVI causes traffic delays on Highway 6

Vernon mom rescues sleeping baby from burning home

Neighbouring homes threatened by blaze, which is producing heavy black smoke

Vernon man facing drug trafficking charges in Kelowna

The man was found with suspected cocaine, heroin and fentanyl and thousands of dollars in cash

Grass fire breaks out on highway south of Vernon

Highway 97 traffic slowed as firefighters snuff grass fire

Wildfire sparks beside Highway 3 west of Keremeos

A wildfire on the side of Highway 3 just west of Keremeos… Continue reading

Summerland relaunches net metering program

Event open house will be held Aug. 27 from 3 to 6 p.m in Arena Banquet Room

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Preliminary inquiry set for accused Penticton killer

John Brittain, 68, will be back in Penticton court from Jan. 27 to 31

Most Read