Canadian Mental Health Association, Vernon and District Branch, executive director Julia Payson (second from left) accepts $2,500 from local artist Carley Kitagawa (left) and The Fig Bistro owners, David Scarlatescu and Beatrice Weir, the proceeds from The Jungle Art Exhibit for Mental Health. (CMHA - photo)

Vernon CMHA draws in art proceeds

Branch receives $2,500 from first The Jungle Art Exhibit for Mental Health event

Local businesses and artists joined together to raise $2,500 for youth mental health programs at Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Vernon and District Branch.

‘The Jungle’ Art Exhibit for Mental Health, organized by Vernon artist Carley Kitagawa, took place at The Fig Bistro on Jan. 30 for the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, encouraging Canadians across the country to share stories about mental health to create awareness and reduce stigma.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” said Kitagawa, who noted about 100 guests attended the event. “We are really grateful to the community for coming out to help.”

Kitagawa donated proceeds from the sale of paintings from her ‘The Jungle’ collection, which was created while Kitagawa was visiting Costa Rica.

“We’re so happy that our first event has been such a great success, and we are able to donate to a wonderful charity that we believe in,” said Beatrice Weir, co-owner of The Fig Bistro.

Funds raised will support early intervention and prevention programs for youth.

RELATED: Vernon CMHA video shows community support

“The future of our community will be in the hands of today’s youth. We need to cultivate strength and resilience while providing the guidance and support they need,” said Julia Payson, Executive Director, CMHA Vernon and District.

Some of CMHA’s youth programs include Super Saturday for children aged seven-12 and Friday Night Live for youth aged 13-17. Both programs serve youth who have a parent living with a mental illness. Youth take part in life and social skills development activities designed to build confidence, community connectedness, and help manage their mental wellness.

RELATED: CMHA Vernon campaign promotes medication disposal awareness

Guests of the fundraiser enjoyed an amazing evening of appetizers from The Fig Catering paired with wines from Intrigue Wines, live entertainment from local musician Kailee McGuire, table decor by The Room Collection and paintings for sale by Kitagawa.

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