The February 8, 2001 edition of the Peachland Signal notified the public of a proposed Health Resource Centre (HRC). A start-up grant of $4000 was received from the Community Health Advisory Committee. Phyllis Papineau, Chris Scowen, and Doug Armitage had formed a Task Force and were mobilizing a groundswell of volunteers.
On February 14 a Health Fair was held at the Community Centre with simultaneous tours of the little house (owned by the municipality) being proposed as the location of the HRC. Dignitaries from all levels of government attended, along with ordinary citizens. In March suggestions for a name were collected and the Peachland Wellness Centre (PWC) was chosen. By April a Board of Directors was formed.
Volunteers did extensive cleaning an renovations to the building. The composition of the Board of Directors (BOD) changed frequently, and volunteers came and went. Enthusiasm to help others and a will to keep the society going was something that never changed. Open Houses and garage sales were held, and donations from local service clubs were received. November 21, 2001 marked the Official Opening. Mayer Waldo cut the ribbon.
Over the years, fundraising continued, and grants were secured. New programs were developed. College and University students did their practicums here, and we became known in the larger Okanagan community. Open Houses, dinners, entertainment at the Community Centre, and raffles continued. We developed a successful Aging in Place program to help people stay in their own homes for as long as it is wise. We became a community partner of the United Way. We promoted the idea of getting a supportive seniors housing project to be built here so residents did not have to leave the community when they no longer could live safely in their own homes. We worked hard to be perceived as a responsible organization worthy of support.
The PWC is a grassroots organization with a staff that operates closely with a Board of Directors. We help people find house cleaners, window washers, gardeners, tree groomers, drivers to provide rides to appointments, and toenail clippers. Evaluation of our programs is integral to finding out how to meet the needs of the citizens. The PWC has always been there to provide a listening ear, a big healthy hug, a shoulder to cry on, and a binder full of resource contacts to solve the problems as they come along. Our focus is on helping people solve their difficulties, or providing programs that enrich lives and thereby prevent problems from arising by keeping people healthy, happy, and wise.
Operating a non-profit charity like the PWC is like being a Mother or Father. The work is never done, it is rewarding and surprising, and you get out of it what you put into it. You have to wait for your “child” to grow. The PWC has indeed grown since 2001. Each employee, volunteer, president, and board member helped to nurture it. We are grateful for the partnerships and funding support from service clubs, churches, governments, businesses, and individuals. Over 100 volunteers facilitated the programs and paid staff oversee the services. No man is an island, and no organization is either. We strive to be an integral part of the community’s well-being.
(Written by Judy Wyper, 2013)