Heartwarming and powerful.
Those were just a few of the words Heather Miller could think of when asked about the outpour of community support for the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre over the last few months.
The centre’s new executive director watched this fall as several South Okanagan businesses and groups got involved with the 44th edition of OSNS Telethon.
The annual event supports OSNS programs for children with developmental challenges across the region.
“It warms your heart to see all the support,” Miller said.
OSNS wrapped up its Share a Smile Fall Fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 2, with a celebration inside Penticton’s Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.
The fundraiser previously ran for 43 years in Penticton as a one-day event, but organizers this time around decided to hold a fall-long campaign starting at the beginning of October.
Megan Windeler, community engagement lead at OSNS, says seven local businesses hosted fundraisers in support of the centre this fall and an additional 20 contributed in other ways.
Final fundraising totals are expected to be released later this week.
“The donations will get used all year,” Miller said. “We use them to keep the services going and some of the money will be used to support children and families just to even be able to access the services, which is really important.”
Saturday, meanwhile, was a day to “share a smile” and celebrate all of the community’s generosity over the last few months.
Parents of OSNS kids were among those featured on stage, with some opting to share their own stories on the life-changing impact the centre has had on their families.
“We’re just so happy OSNS is in our community,” one parent said to host Chad Mielke during a segment that will air on local TV at a later date.
A trio of holiday-themed performances from the Okanagan Dance Studio also ran during the event.
Festivities were capped off by last-minute donations from various groups, including the Penticton Firefighters Charitable Society, which presented OSNS leaders with a $5,000 cheque.
“It’s so powerful when I see all the celebrations that come together for an event like this,” Miller said.