Each year the Squamish Community Foundation (SCF) awards grants to eligible organizations who are working towards improving the health and wellbeing of our community and environment. In 2021 the SCF granted over $70,000 in Annual Grants and $3,000 in scholarship funds, an enhanced funding year thanks to contributions from the District of Squamish through BC’s Safe Restart Program.
Upon completion of their projects, grant recipients submit final reports outlining community impact and sharing some incredible stories.
Here are just a few of those stories…
Easter Seals Camp Squamish – BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities
Since 1968, Easter Seals has been offering summer camp experiences, including Camp Squamish in Brackendale, to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. As an organization, they are dedicated to maintaining a place where everyone is welcome, where unique programming caters to all abilities and cultivates personal growth. Camp Squamish sold out within a day in 2021, demonstrating a clear need for such a program, particularly as those with disabilities were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
SCF funding to Camp Squamish was allocated to upgrading the safety of certain camp facilities – including conducting safety inspections of the ropes courses (one of the most popular activities at camp), providing training and certification for staff, and enabling the climbing wall and ‘big swing’ to operate.
They reported that a total of 16 families participated in Camp Squamish last summer. Six counsellors received their Level 1 Challenge Course Certificate. They anticipate a full camp in 2022 with four weeks of ‘sleep-away’ camp and two additional family camps also scheduled.
Tummy Time Education – Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) Infant Development Program
The SSCS recently identified a major increase in plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) among newborns in Squamish, particularly during the first year of the pandemic. Tummy Time Education was developed as an early intervention strategy to increase parent education on this issue.
With grant funding, SSCS hosted a series of educational sessions online and in-person. They then created two informative videos describing the importance of tummy time and associated strategies and techniques – a resource that will have long-term benefit.
The Tummy Time videos are now used widely in the community, including amongst midwives, public health nurses, and doctors in Squamish. Feedback has been positive, stating the videos are useful and an appreciated tool to support new families.
Seniors Arts Program – Squamish Seniors Centre Society
The Squamish Seniors Art Program provides affordable and quality art instruction for seniors, with grant funding supporting subsidized rates for participants. The program includes four 3-hour sessions with a qualified instructor leading participants through painting and sketching classes. Approximately 50 seniors were involved in the program in 2021, with benefits including socialization and learning, improving cognitive skills, and enhancing quality of life.
Meals on Wheels – Squamish Helping Hands
Squamish Helping Hands launched a pilot Meals on Wheels program in 2021 with great success. The goal was to improve the health of seniors and other vulnerable populations in Squamish by providing nutritious and affordable meals right to their door. For those experiencing isolation and loneliness, and striving to maintain independent living, this program is an essential service for mental health as well.
Between July and December 2021, over 700 meals were produced and delivered by friendly volunteers to the homes of 34 seniors. The recipients included those recently discharged from hospital, recovering from surgery, those with a disability, illness or other injury, those with difficulty managing meal prep, and those who simply could not afford or access other options.
Squamish Helping Hands used the SCF grant to subsidize costs for many clients and to purchase supplies for administration, delivery, and payment systems.
A survey at the end of the Meals on Wheels program indicated that all participants felt the program improved their quality of life, increased their physical and mental health overall, encouraged healthy food choices, and provided a greater sense of connection to the community. Other benefits included volunteer engagement, community collaboration, and reducing environmental impacts from food packaging and transportation.
“I am very grateful for all you do. The food is delicious, and the chef does an excellent job. It is lovely to connect with people. Thank you so much.” – Lorraine, Meals on Wheels Client.
Photo credit: Nicole Gurney.
Transit Benches – OurSquamish
OurSquamish is dedicated to enhancing Squamish’s urban public spaces for a lively, inclusive, sustainable, safe & healthy Squamish. The Transit Benches project was created to fill a practical infrastructure need in the community – providing seating at transit stops and other pedestrian routes in town. Enhancing the public realm in this way also helps improve mental and emotional wellbeing, providing a meeting place that invites conversation and encourages people to make new connections in their community.
With SCF funding, OurSquamish was able to build, paint, and install 10 new benches, now seen at various transit stops in town. Art design was provided by a local community member, and students at Howe Sound Secondary completed the painting (all bright, cheerful colours) – successfully contributing to a lasting piece of art in their community. The benches are now accessible to all, from kids and youth to seniors, and the feedback has been very positive. Not only are transit users happy with the added seating, but the new displays of public art are creating an increased sense of belonging and pride for passersby.
Read more about the Transit Benches in the news.
Youth Collective – Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS)
The Youth Collective was designed in collaborative between the SSCS and Don Ross Middle School Equality Club as an inclusive and safe space for youth to gather and spend time together outside of school. It also provided opportunity for youth to advocate and have ownership over which programs and projects were being planned for them.
The Youth Collective was offered free-of-charge and included weekly gatherings from January until April 2022 with a total of 14 participants. Activities included outdoor recreation, art programs, mental health workshops, and group volunteer opportunities. Important new skills were developed such as building new friendships, creativity and freedom of expression, time management and commitment, and being respectful and inclusive of others.
Additional recipients of our 2021 Annual Grants included:
- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC – Squamish Community Suicide Prevention Training Project
- Howe Sound Women’s Centre – Youth-Led Peer to Peer Education
- KidSports Squamish – So All Kids Can Play
- Sea to Sky Community Services (Child Development) – Child Development Team Respite Funds
- Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council – Citizen Science, European Green Crab Early Detection and Monitoring for Howe Sound
- Squamish Climate Action Network (CAN) – Edible Schoolyard Projects
- Squamish Welcome Centre – Making the ‘Welcome Centre’ Welcoming (Space Re-Organization Project)
Our 2021 Scholarship Recipients include:
- Ron Anderson Memorial Scholarship: Maya Southam
- Robert W. MacIntosh Scholarship: Brighton Gaddes
There are so many wonderful stories of impact in our community and we are pleased to share just a few of them here. We would like to thank our donors for making the Annual Grants program possible, as well as our grants committee for assisting in the process. A big thank you to our grant recipients as well, for all of your hard work and dedication to our community. Together we are working towards our vision of a vibrant and caring community where everyone belongs.
More about SCF’s Annual Grants
Annual Grants are funded by the income earned on our Endowment Funds and are distributed through grant application and committee review processes. Annual Grants are aimed at supporting community projects in Squamish in the following categories: health, social development, youth, music, environment, recreation, and arts and culture. Projects are prioritized based on community needs as outlined in the most recent Vital Signs report. The SCF also manages grants from the Ron Anderson Memorial and R.W. McIntosh Memorial Scholarship Funds for local graduating secondary school students.
The Squamish Community Foundation is able to support incredible community programs such as these through our annual grants because of generous individual donors. Any donation to an SCF Endowment Fund is a gift that keeps on giving to the community year after year, forever! Be an integral donor to Squamish non-profit programming today.
For more information on SCF Endowment Funds and Donations, click here.