A group of community-minded Selkirk College students are doing their part to help those in the region experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness.
In late-February, Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast will take part in annual Coldest Night of the Year events that raise money for those struggling in their local communities. Since 2011, the annual walk has raised more than $57 million across Canada in 166 communities with 100 per cent of the proceeds staying local to support charity partners.
To help ensure they do their part, students and instructors in the college’s Steps to Opportunities, Academics & Readiness (SOAR) Program gathered on the Castlegar Campus in early-February to contribute to the effort.
“The Coldest Night of the Year is such a great community event and when we discussed it in class, we wanted to find a way to support this cause,” says Lena Sherstobitoff, one of the SOAR instructors who helped organize the Selkirk College event. “But when planning the details, we realized that it might be challenging for some students to participate fully in the outdoor walk. Walking indoors made the event accessible for everyone and when we found out that we could use the gym on campus, we wanted to be sure that as many SOAR students could get involved as possible.”
The SOAR Program has diverse educational offerings to meet the learning needs of adult students. The program provides hands-on experiential education designed to prepare students for a success in a variety of workplace, volunteer and community settings. The SOAR Program is offered in Nelson, Trail, Castlegar and Grand Forks.
At the Coldest Night of the Year event on the Castlegar Campus, more than 40 students, instructors and supporters from the different locations walked laps on the gym floor and participated in fun games. Their fundraising totals will be added to the overall Coldest Night of the Year event that takes place on February 25.
Three communities in the Selkirk College region will hold walks to raise money for individual organizations. Participating teams come from all corners of the community as part of the effort that will contribute to the Castlegar & District Community Service Society, Nelson CARES Society and the Trail Skills Centre.
“Our little event was a success in helping raise some funds and we encourage the entire community to contribute if they can,” says Sherstobitoff. “Students in our program take great pride in helping lead the way in this effort to help others. It is a great learning experience and way for students to become the teachers through their leadership.”