Smoke from area wildfires couldn’t stop these two women from smashing their fundraising goal in honour of Vernon’s Archway Society on Aug. 14.
Brittney Page and Kristin Postill paddled the 16-kilometre length of Kalamalka Lake in their fourth annual Stand Up For fundraiser, raising $34,000 for the society that helps women, children and families facing domestic and sexual violence.
This year, the longtime friends said it was especially important to pick a charity helping those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic’s start in 2020, Archway Society reported a 48 per cent increase in women, children and youth accessing its programs and a dramatic spike in the severity of abuse, further complicating cases.
Page and Postill’s generous donation will go toward the new Child-centered Family Therapy Program which will help support families after a child has been victimized by sexual or violent crimes.
“Often these events can cause trauma for the whole family, including siblings and parents, and the family structure is shaken,” Archway Society co-executive director Sherry Demetrick said.
Demetrick said the program is only in its third year and the donation will have a lasting impact, allowing the society to spearhead program development and help other agencies in B.C. adopt similar programs.
“We are so grateful to the community, from local businesses to individuals who stepped up again to support our paddle and a more than deserving charity,” organizer Page said. “This money is going to mean so much to those who are accessing Archway’s Family Therapy program.”
In its four years, Stand Up For has raised more than $100,000 to support organizations in the local community. Previous recipients include the Okanagan Rail Trial, KidSport Okanagan and the People Place.
“We are once again blown away by the support and power this community has when we all come together under a focused effort.”
Postill said the duo never intended to have this event be an annual thing.
“But, we had so much fun doing it the first year and saw such a powerful community response that we wanted to do it again the next year,” she said. “From there, it’s become an integral part of our summer and something we hope we can continue doing for a long time.”