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Injection of funds keep program alive

Event to raise money for ORCA Bus replacement
Injection of funds keep program alive

As a program promoting early childhood development opportunities throughout the province, Success By 6 breathed a sigh of relief earlier this month when the provincial government announced an investment of $3.4 million for the initiative.

The announcement from the ministry of children and family development means the initiative will be able to continue raising awareness of the importance of the early years as well as keep its On the Road with Children’s Activities (ORCA) Bus project going.

Nadine Porchetta is the coordinator of Success By 6 Powell River, an initiative of Powell River and District United Way. Success By 6 is an early childhood development endeavour dedicated to providing all children with a good start in life. “We are striving to achieve this vision by building the capacity of parents and the whole community to support children ages 0-6 to become healthy, safe and secure, and physically, socially and emotionally ready to succeed in school and in life,” Porchetta said.

One of the projects Porchetta is excited to help fund this year is the family-friendly website which is being put together by Powell River Child and Youth Inter-Services Management Team. “This will be a wonderful resource for families to find out about services and activities in our community for children zero to 19,” she said.

Success By 6 also works to create a child and family safe environment in the workplace. This includes projects such as family-friendly business toolkits with stickers found in businesses all over town and being a part of the Community Children’s Charter. Providing a family safe environment is also the driving force behind the ORCA Bus.

The ORCA Bus is a project of Success By 6 Powell River in partnership with PRESS (Powell River Educational Services Society), a non-profit entity of School District 47. The school district offers Strong Start programming on the bus with support by volunteers, bringing early childhood development programming and resources to all preschoolers, including those in outlying communities in the Powell River area. The bus is literally a vehicle for intergenerational exchanges, learning and connecting, and for bringing services like early literacy supports, information about health and nutrition, puppets, stories and cultural exchange to all areas of the region from Saltery Bay to Lund, including Texada Island and Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nation.

Success By 6 is run by a council of partners led by Powell River and District United Way (PRDUW) and Powell River First Credit Union (FCU). “In our community, a partnership between Powell River and District United Way, First Credit Union and the provincial government provides support for local activities surrounding the early years,” said Dale Lawson, executive director for PRDUW. Representatives from business, local governments, public and non-profit sector organizations and community members are also partners.

“First Credit Union is a proud supporter of Success By 6 locally,” said Sandra McDowell, chief marketing officer for FCU. “We’re committed to helping the local initiative spread important messages that can change the course of a child’s life.” FCU has been a generous financial supporter of the ORCA bus and other fundraisers.

ORCA bus has been a huge success. The bus itself was a refit donated to PRDUW by the school district in 2007 and is now running on its last legs. To fundraise for a replacement bus, the second annual Who is Smarter than a Sixth Grader? will be held on April 19. “This night of family fun is sure to be a hilarious event with many twists and turns that will surprise even us,” said Porchetta. The event will challenge local celebrities Terri Cramb, Maggie Hathaway, Bill Garrett, Jason Hatton, Jennifer Salisbury and Scott Mastrodonato against questions developed from students in Powell River’s elementary schools. “Just in case these great minds have some trouble bringing back knowledge from elementary school,” said Porchetta, “we have paired each of our contestants up with three grade six students from elementary schools around town.” Each of the contestants will have 15 minutes to answer questions from grade one up to grade six in order to accumulate points and come out a winner.

For more information about Success By 6 and its projects, readers can contact Porchetta at or 604.485.2132.