Few issues or initiatives stir up emotions and rally the troops more than those involving children, especially children in need or those who benefit from community or government-sponsored programs.
With its recent selection as one of 10 nominated finalists competing for a $100,000 BCAA Play Here grant, Powell River’s ORCA (On the Road with Children’s Activities) Bus has an opportunity for its future to be dramatically altered.
For nearly 10 years, the ORCA Bus has been rolling throughout the Powell River area, including Lund, Texada and Saltery Bay, and all stops in-between, delivering a StrongStart outreach program to children in the region, as well as other activities that are both play-based and educational.
The collaboration between Success by 6, Powell River and District United Way and School District 47 provides access for isolated rural families without means of travel for attending programs in town. It ensures children are set up to succeed, implements a love of development and learning, and opens up opportunities for socialization for both the parent(s) and the child. Peak community reporter Sara Donnelly delves deeper into the ORCA Bus and what it offers the community on page eight of this issue.
The actual bus has seen better days and a newer model is required. The organization envisions a shorter vehicle without air brakes, which make it harder to find volunteer drivers with the proper qualifications.
Powell River is in tough, competing with other, larger communities that have their own needs, and with population numbers that dwarf this region. But the community has successfully rallied for causes before, such as Pass the Hat for the CAT a decade ago, whether they involved money, time or both.
Most fundraising initiatives require a vast number of volunteer hours and/or financial donations. In this case, less than a minute is needed to open a browser, go to bcaaplayhere.com and cast multiple votes for the ORCA Bus through Facebook, Twitter, Google or by email.
Voting is open until Sunday, June 17, and each platform can be used daily, per person, for casting votes.
Three of the 10 finalists will receive the grant, enabling the winners to increase services, maintain current facilities or purchase new equipment or vehicles with the funds.
As of Thursday, June 7, the ORCA Bus sits in eighth place out of the 10 nominees and requires a strong boost from the community to surge past six others to claim one of the top three spots.
Have you cast your votes today?