One of SOICS’ aims is to establish as many community connections as possible, so that our clients’ integration into the community is as smooth as possible. Therefore we partner with other organisations and join in their events thus helping others understand what we do, attracting more clients and obtaining useful referral sources for our existing clients. We also avail these opportunities to engage with the public and tell our stories. In doing so, as well as showing what our organization does, we show what we are in need of (volunteers, board members, funds, etc.) and who we are.
Bike to Work Week Penticton has the goal of raising awareness about cycling as a commuter choice and a healthy lifestyle. Cyclists are invited to ride to work as many times as they want, and can travel part way, one way or both ways by bike. All levels of participation are encouraged and all workplaces that register are entered to win bicycles and other prizes. The annual competition is to see which organization contributes the most bicycle commuter hours. Six members of the SOICS team participated in the 2014 event and challenged Cowork Penticton team for the bike rack.
For more info: http://www.biketowork.ca/penticton
The Penticton Chamber of Commerce holds Business after Business networking events twice per month on Thursday evenings from 5 – 7 pm. A different business hosts the event each time and it is an opportunity to “showcase” and promote their business to other Chamber members. These events are free to Chamber members and typically include beverages, appetizers and door prizes that are provided by local businesses.
Our Employment staff attend these events on a regular basis for a number of reasons:
• It is an excellent opportunity to promote SOICS events/activities and to inform other chamber members as to what SOICS is all about and how we contribute to the local community
• It is an opportunity to raise the profile of SOICS in the business community. Business after Business events are attended by members of Penticton City Council and prominent business leaders in the community
• It is an opportunity to learn about new businesses that have opened and to talk to other employers to find out if they are hiring and require workers
• It is an opportunity to meet other members of the community and develop new networks and friendships
Attendance at Penticton Business after Business events is a valuable low-cost networking/promotional tool that staff will continue to attend in the future.
Saturday, January 31st SOICS joined local health and education experts at the Communities for Kids Family Fair at the Sonora Centre in Osoyoos. This annual event, which alternates between Oliver and Osoyoos, focuses on families with children 0-6 years. It is just one of the ways SOICS makes contact with families whose children are in or will be entering the school system.
In July PDMS/SOICS partnered with the UBCO research team from the Faculty of Health and Social Development. The research project is focused on “Building Belonging in the South Similkameen” where the academic research team will explore the following questions and gather data on:
- What makes one feel as if they belong to their community?
- What organizations create a greater sense of belonging?
- How does cultural/ethnic background and age affect how one views wellbeing in the South Similkameen?
The research seeks to develop understandings of how diverse populations in the South Similkameen experience a sense of belonging in their community. Together we organized a Community Picnic in Keremeos on Thursday August 21st where everyone was invited to come together and celebrate the diversity in the community and also learn about the resources in the region.
Community members of diverse backgrounds and all walks of life came together to share some food and music. Among the endorsers, were the Keremeos Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition and a newly formed UBCO research team based in Kelowna, BC. SOICS had its own booth at the event and shared its resources with the attendees.
SOICS was one of 29 service providers at the 1st Annual Healthy Living Tradeshow on Saturday, February 28th at the Oliver Community Centre. Sponsored by the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition (OSHLC), the event attracted approximately 200 attendees. SOICS role as a member of the OSHLC, is to engage newcomers and naturalized citizens to be part of the vision, “Making the Okanagan-Similkameen the healthiest region in BC.”
SOICS participated in the 2015 Annual Healthy Living Fair hosted by the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Fair Society. The event was held on Saturday, March 14th at the Penticton Trade & Convention Centre. During the fair, organizations profiled resources, products and services that support and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Attendees were able to watch activity demos, listen to healthy eating seminars and keynote speaker sessions. In addition, they could visit over 55 different exhibitor booths and various “healthy living assessment” stations.
The Healthy Living assessment stations hosted health professionals who took blood pressure, provided one-on-one discussions on stress, eating healthy, being fit, how to stop smoking, and setting individual healthy-living goals. Attendees were encouraged to take their completed assessment to their next annual Doctor’s appointment to review and set up a plan.
The Newcomers Canada Fair is Canada’s only dedicated onshore exhibition targeting the combined Employment, Education, Immigration and Settlement needs of economic immigrants and international students that have chosen to make a new life in Canada.
The Newcomers Canada fair is the only event of its kind held nationally throughout Canada inviting Permanent Residents, Temporary Workers, Corporate Expats, Working Holidaymakers, Inter-Provincial Transfers and International Students. Essentially the fair is dedicated to helping people who have made the move to Canada to get settled and make the most of their new life.
Newcomers Canada connects employers, recruiters, governments, education providers, immigration specialists and settlement services with internationally educated and trained professionals already in Canada. Some of the companies that exhibit at the fair are British Council – IELTS, IDP – IELTS, Vancouver Public Library, Coram Construction, JBS Foods, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Red Seal, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), New York Institute of Technology, National Association of Career Colleges, Industry Training Authority, CIP Consulting plus many more.
SOICS is a part of the Community Response Networks (CRNs), which is comprised of multiple agencies, organisations, businesses, and individuals from the community working together to stop adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect.
SOICS recognizes the need to work with others to ensure that we are proactive in assisting our clients in this subject matter. Meetings are held monthly where we discuss our services and how we can collaborate to best serve our community and clients. This also allows us to share upcoming events and other resources thus enriching what we do.
Additionally, each year CRN hosts its annual event to create awareness on how we can help vulnerable adults who are or might be experiencing abuse and neglect or self-neglect. On 3rd June 2014, SOICS was one of 15 members who set up a table at the annual event in Cherry Lane Shopping Centre during Elders Abuse Awareness week. The event accentuated the fact that abuse happens to vulnerable adults all the time, be it financial, fraudulent, emotional or physical abuse by loved ones or care providers.
SOICS believes that it is important to be part of a team that works towards finding a solution to stop abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults through education, thus empowering our community and clients.
For more information see the BC CRNs website:
Penticton’s Downtown Community Market is the biggest of its kind in the Okanagan with over 200 vendors and has thousands of visitors weekly. The market runs every Saturday morning from May to October and spans multiple blocks in the core of downtown Penticton. The market continues to grow, diversify and complement the sustainable development of the community by offering a variety of products that are made, baked and grown by its members. In addition, artists provide live music and entertainment throughout the day.
SOICS participates in the community market by having an information booth set up in the 400 block of the market. The one-day event provides an opportunity for social organizations and societies of Penticton, to engage with the public and tell their stories, what our organizations do, what we are in need of (volunteers, board members, funds, etc.) or who we are.
The Spelling Bee contest pits teams against each other to see who has the best mastery of the English language. Each year organisations and service providers put together teams of up to eight to participate in a healthy competition of spelling out a set of words collectively so that no individual is put on the spot. The annual event is a fundraiser for community literacy projects that support child, youth and adult literacy in the South Okanagan. SOICS has been participating in this event since 2014 and have successfully defend the winning title since.
The Summerland Sunday Market, an initiative of the Summerland Rotary Club, took place every Sunday from 9am to 1pm. With over 50 vendors, the humble beginnings of the market started on June 21st 2015. The live market entertainment paired with a line up of food vendors and wineries, local artisans, boutique vendors, trunk sales, and more!
Not to clash with the timings of the Penticton Saturday Farmer’s market, Summerland market takes place on Main Street in the afternoon. It attracted people from across the Okanagan Valley, including service providers who could potentially benefit by promoting their services.
SOICS saw this opportunity and booked a spot for an information booth. Summerland captures the essence of the Okanagan with an abundance of historical, cultural, recreational and agricultural experiences. Summerland’s Census Immigrant Profile (2006) shows a recent increase in the number of immigrants in its town, which speaks to the need of ensuring that our services and support is in place. We were pleased to offer information to prospective clients and volunteers in the Sunday Market.
Hosted by the Literacy Now Society, Unplug and Play was held during Family Literacy Week on Saturday, January 24th 2015 at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. The event provided a wide range of activities such as storytelling, face painting, activity centres, bouncy castle, balloon animals, and with Raise a Reader giving a FREE new Book to every child. Local musicians offered additional entertainment throughout the day. Family Literacy Day and Literacy Week focuses on getting kids reading because as technology becomes a bigger part of day-to-day life, it is important that we remind our families and their children to “unplug and play”. The message behind the 7th Annual Family Literacy Day was playing without a plug-in whereby organizers were urging people to take time out of the day to read.
On Wednesday 20th May, SOICS attended the Business after Hours – Valley Wide event which was hosted by Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce at the Okanagan Lake Park in Penticton.
This event is held annually in partnership with Okanagan Valley Chamber of Commerce and offers businesses an opportunity to advertise their services and network with each other. The venue changes every year, highlighting different areas of the Okanagan. Our target was to introduce our Employment Opportunity page to local employers where they can have a “hotlink” from our website directly to their human resources page.
Several people approached us to enquire about our services, many of whom were themselves immigrants and we were able to offer businesses the opportunity of placing their job opportunities on our website, hence linking immigrants directly to local resources.
On Saturday, April 18th 2015, SOICS attended the volunteer appreciation celebration put on by the Downtown Penticton Association & RCMP Penticton Detachment. The event was held at Gyro Park and was open to all not-for-profit and charity volunteers and their families.
This fun filled event was organised to show appreciation for all the volunteers and their families in all that they do. Allowing not-for-profit organisations to set up information booths also enabled potential volunteers to come and see where else they can volunteer in our community.
The SOICS table was positioned right next to the October Fest and Peach Fest table. It was a lot of fun for us to meet up with and share information about the different volunteer opportunities Penticton has to offer.