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Sunflower Campaign springs into focus for Okanagan College childcare centre

New on-campus childcare centre, planned to open in 2024
Lloyd Davies and Janet Armstrong (L to R), leadership donors at the Sunflower Childcare Centre Campaign Launch event. Right is Sarina Parsons, a student parent, presenting at the event with her daughter Roxy Rae. (Contributed)

Spring was in the air at Okanagan College (OC), as the Sunflower Childcare Centre campaign kicked off.

Young volunteers led games and activities at the launch of OC Foundation’s $1.25 million campaign in support of a new on-campus childcare centre planned to open in the fall of 2024.

Held on March 1 at the Vernon campus, the event drew 65 guests and celebrated the kickoff to the fundraising campaign.

Donor and former instructor Lloyd Davies spoke about his family’s decision to contribute $500,000 to the cause.

“Time and again, I would have students missing class, missing labs, missing exams because they were struggling to get affordable, reliable childcare. It was an ongoing issue for student parents,” said Davies.

“Through this campaign we hope to inspire the community to support more parents with young children to be able to attend post-secondary here in Vernon, and to benefit from the programs available at Okanagan College as they advance in their careers and contribute to the community.”

The Sunflower Childcare Centre will allow parents to focus on their goals and aspirations while knowing their most precious little ones are being cared for in a loving and nurturing environment.

The BC Childcare New Spaces Fund has committed $1.5 million to the centre. The community campaign, now officially underway, aims to raise the remaining $750,000 required to complete the project and ensure it is fully equipped, including an outdoor play and learn space when its doors open in fall 2024.

The Sunflower Childcare Centre is part of the new student housing project at the Vernon campus, which will see 100 beds built on the east side of the property, overlooking Kalamalka Lake.

According to a recent report commissioned by the City of Vernon, 51 per cent of local parents are on waitlists for childcare, and the typical wait time is two years.

“With community support, the Sunflower Childcare Centre will blossom into a vibrant space where student parents and their families can grow and thrive,” said Helen Jackman, executive director of the OC Foundation. “The event was a great way to launch the campaign, and we’re excited to connect with the community in support of the new centre.”


Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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