October 20 was a rainy day in Vernon, but that didn’t put a damper on an outdoor party that raised thousands for the city’s youth.
O’Keefe 3 Percent Realty threw a block party for Vernon’s Teen Junction – an organization affiliated with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club – and managed to raise $2,475 and change for the youth centre.
“The weather did not deter the support,” said Sue O’Keefe of 3 Percent, who spearheaded the event. “We know that if it was sunny we could have raised so much more for these kids.”
The real estate company and Teen Junction share a parking lot on 32 Street, and O’Keefe organized the event as a way for her office to get to know their young neighbours while also chipping in funds for their continued support.
“It was great because there were things going on everywhere,” said Jesie Harms of the Boys and Girls Club. “It’s a pretty small space so every five feet there was something cool and engaging.”
It was indeed a packed parking lot. The party featured live music, toonie games, a silent auction of art created by teens from the centre, and a bouncy castle and cotton candy machine from Emmanuel Fellowship Baptist Church.
But of all the attractions, the most popular was the dunk tank – which was only natural with with the cold weather raising the stakes.
Harms didn’t brave the icy waters himself but had plenty of admiration for those who did.
The dunk tank is always so entertaining and it was such a cold day,” he said. “I was like holy these people are crazy, and it was so evident that they care.”
Teen Junction relies on community funding for most of its operations, which include providing a full meal to as many as 50 kids after school. Harms said the money raised from the event would help with staffing and needed services for kids. He also said events like this help spread awareness about the services Teen Junction provides.
“It’s not even just the funding, it’s also just the knowledge that we exist and that there’s things going on here all the time.”
Harms offered his sincere thanks to O’Keefe for seeing her fundraising idea through from start to finish, and to those who came out for the fun and games.
“It was all her idea and it was so nice to see people who care and come out to the event and support.”
Open 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Teen Junction is a place for youth aged 13-19 to gain life skills and connect with community services.
For those who would like to support local youth, Teen Junction has put out a list of suggested donation items. In the winter season, the list includes socks, lip chap, long underwear, gloves, toques and blankets. Year-round items include tooth brushes, deodorant, feminine products, shaving cream, grocery store gift certificates and non-perishable foods.
Around the holidays, Teen Junction suggests donations such as candy or chocolates, nail polish, slippers and movie passes. Other items like headphones, skateboards, playing cards and board games are always welcome.