It was apropos that the retired Okanagan College (OC) instructor who spearheaded a dream of building an on-campus daycare centre at the Vernon branch was handing out sunflowers at the public launch of the Sunflower Campaign.
Lloyd Davies, who taught at OC Vernon for 15 years, was manning the sunflower table at the Plant A Seed Day launch of the Sunflower Daycare Centre campaign Wednesday, May 10. Davies and his wife, Janet Armstrong, opened the campaign with a donation of $500,000.
“I always found, many times as an instructor, students couldn’t get to an exam or an assignment because they would have problems getting childcare,” said Davies. “It was an on-going problem. I always asked during meetings when a childcare centre would be added to the campus, and was always told, ‘it’s in the plans.’ So when I retired, my wife and I decided to make a splash and kickstart the daycare centre here on campus.”
OC Foundation executive director Helen Jackman was on-hand Wednesday, along with her foundation colleagues, to help raise funds for the 44-seat daycare centre.
The public was invited to the college to check out fun events like yoga, line dancing, a card tournament and Lemonade Crawl, and make a donation toward the centre.
“We know our students and many people in the community have difficulty accessing childcare, so this is going to give students an incredible opportunity to access affordable daycare,” said Jackman.
“We’ve got a $1.25 million campaign, and today is the public launch of the Suflower Campaign. We’ve had amazing support so far.”
The foundation has already raised more than $2 million for the centre, and is now inviting the community to help raise the remaining $750,000 required to equip the facility with furnishings, supplies, and a creative outdoor space where the kids can play and learn.
The public came through on Wednesday, as Plant A Seed Day raised $66,762, which included a late donation of $25,000.
“All donations to the Sunflower Childcare Centre received in May (up to a total of $80,000) will be matched thanks to generous community donors, including Lloyd Davies and Janet Armstrong,” said Jackman. “The incredible community support we received brings us halfway to our donation goal to secure the full match funding.”
Ground was broken for the Sunflower Centre, along with the first student housing building at the Vernon campus which will feature 100 beds, on April 21.