Voting for the most innovative changemakers in the Okanagan is no easy feat.
Twelve finalists representing youth-led ventures, non-profits, for-profits and charities pitched their projects to a sold-out audience of voters at the Rotary Centre for the Arts inaugural ChangeUP awards presentation Thursday night.
The finalists were aiming to make a difference in areas as diverse as financial literacy for low-income individuals to helping businesses decrease their carbon emissions.
The audience was able to vote for the winners they felt were making the most effective positive change.
ChangeUP, an initiative of Okanagan Changemakers, saw awards handed out to:
Youth-led venture—Teagan Adams, founder of DooGoods Trading Cards, $600
DooGoods is trading cards that teach children to act locally, think globally and make a difference in the world through simple actions.
“Let’s create a generation of upstanders and not bystanders and put an end to bullying and make caring cool,” Teagan told the audience.
For-Profit— Jeff Hoffart, ED-ucation Publishing, $1,000
ED-ucation Publishing is founded on the premise that people learn from stories. The company creates books and curriculum to teach and empower the next generation of youth change agents. Its first published book is A is for Action.
Non-Profit—Ailsa Beischer, Central Okanagan Food Policy Council’s Fruit Tree Project, $3,000 Thousands of families rely on food assistance yet often food in our community goes to waste. The Fruit Tree project aims to change this by having volunteers pick leftover fruit and vegetables from peoples’ homes and gardens to donate to food banks and charities. Last year, the Fruit Tree Project picked 17,000 pounds of fruit, which was shared with 22 charities. Established Registered Charity: Michael Wendland, Metro Up, $6,000
Metro Up provides a financial literacy and matching grants program for low income individuals to move forward in life. Metro Up is helping people to save money to continue their education, starting a small business, and more.
“It’s a huge honour just to be acknowledged for social impact and helping our community,” said Michael Wendland, cofounder of Metro Up, on winning the award. “I know the dollars are going towards helping those less fortunate than us to move forward in life so I’m just excited for that.”
“I was very interested in social enterprise so I thought I would come out and see what’s happening in the Okanagan,” said Tamara McLellan, a participant in this year’s ChangeUP.
“There is more happening than I thought. My favourite part was the kids’ presentations. The first category (featuring the youth) blew my mind.,” Media Contacts:
For more information about ChangeUP and the awards, contact either Trina Speiser (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Alyssa Farr (email@example.com) at 250-764-8852.