Tree of Hope – Celebrating Charity and Community in Kelowna
For 20 years, the Tree of Hope at Landmark Centre has been a bright symbol of inspiration and hope to our community. But few Kelowna residents are likely aware of its unique story.
It all started with a 160 foot construction crane standing idle next to the completed shell of the Landmark 2 Tower. The idea struck when Al Stober realized that his company could not use the crane until after the Christmas season. “What if we could dangle a giant Christmas tree from the lifting hook of the crane?”, Al wondered.
Inspired, Al drew a little sketch on a napkin at a local restaurant. He showed the drawing to his sons and before they left the restaurant the plan was in place.
By early December, the tree was finished, casting its glorious radiance across the city — a glowing reminder of the spirit of the Christmas season. And so was born the tradition of the Tree of Hope at Landmark Centre.
While the Tree of Hope was meant to be a single event, it has been lit every year since 1997. The tree now stands over 120 feet tall and has approximately 25,000 LED energy efficient bulbs. Most importantly, the Tree of Hope has become a local celebration, fundraising event and symbol of Kelowna as a community known for its kindness to those less fortunate.
From Late November until January, the Tree of Hope is a visible reminder to the citizens and visitors of Kelowna that the Christmas season is a time of generosity and compassion, bringing joy to friends and family.
In partnership with the tenants of Landmark Centre and TD Canada Trust the Tree of Hope donates funds each year to local charitable organisations.
Over $500,000 has been donated to date.
****** Some of the past recipients include: 2008 The Bridge – 2009 Building Healthy Families – 2010 Kelowna Women’s Shelter – 2011 Arion Farm and Reach out Youth Counselling and Family Services – 2012 Crime Stoppers / Fit 4 Defense – 2013 Courage for Youth – 2014 YMCA of the Okanagan -2015 The Bridge Youth and Family Services – UBCO 2016. ******
UBC engages in community partnership to investigate children’s health in BC’s Interior
A new partnership established by UBC researchers may lead to a more targeted approach to children’s health and well-being, and the specific health risks facing children in the Southern Interior.
Pediatric exercise physiologist Ali McManus will lead a pioneering, two-year, research and outreach project investigating the health and wellness status of children and adolescents in Kelowna with co-researcher Lesley Lutes, a registered clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology
Their study aims to determine whether the physical and emotional health issues of youth in Kelowna reflect national trends or if they are unique to the region. The goal of the project is to eventually create a scalable, evidence based health and wellness index for Kelowna children and youth.
The project, made possible by Tree of Hope with funding of $100,000 from TD Canada Trust and Landmark Centre, will launch in the New Year.
“By identifying the health and wellness needs of young people in Kelowna, we will provide the stimulus for the development and delivery of future targeted health and wellness initiatives,” says McManus, an associate professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “Most importantly, this health and wellness screening tool will act as a long-term evaluation system of future health and wellness initiatives.
“We are grateful to TD Canada Trust and the Landmark Centre for their support of this important research and for helping us move towards addressing some important issues in children’s health.”
In her previous research, McManus has developed and tested a variety of materials to help measure health, including wearable technologies, wearable microelectronics, mobile body composition measurements, mobile measures of cardiovascular risk and measures of psychological health.
“Tree of Hope is committed to supporting projects that make life better in Kelowna and the Okanagan” says the Tree of Hope’s Carolyn Stober. “We are delighted to facilitate a donation from TD Canada Trust and Landmark Centre that supports Dr. McManus’ research that we hope will ultimately improve the lives of children and youth in our community”.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there are a number of health issues increasingly affecting Canadian children, including obesity, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. The study will also look at psycho-social indicators of health such as levels of anxiety experienced by study participants.
The Tree of Hope and TD Bank are partnering with researchers at UBC’s Okanagan campus to generate better understanding of the health and wellness of Kelowna children.
The majority of Canadian children do not meet the recommended screen time guidelines, spending many hours sedentary. The consequences of this are staggering. While we know that being sedentary is detrimental to cardiovascular health – the health of the heart and blood vessel, psychological wellbeing is also intricately related to how active or sedentary our children are. The psychological health is our young people in Canada is in crisis.
Consider the following statistics: Emergency room visits by children and youth from 5 to 24 years of age seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment rose 63%, with hospitalizations jumping 67% between 2006 and 2016. Between 2013 and 2016, there has been a 50% increase in anxiety, a 47% increase in depression and an 86% increase in substance abuse. What does this mean to the health of children in Kelowna?
With funding from the Tree of Hope and TD Bank, UBC researchers Dr. Ali McManus and Dr. Leslie Lutes have embarked on two year study to better understand how active and sedentary behaviour are influenced by screen time and how this inter-relates to physical and psychological well-being.
Community partners include the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan, Kelowna Christian School, and Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School. The project has been presented to School District 23’s Health Promoting Schools Committee and researchers have submitted an application to School District 23 for ethics approval. Results from the first year of testing will be known in October/November 2017.