Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Organization of the Year Award

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Award Criteria

  • Awarded to a volunteer organization that has provided outstanding community services, with direct benefits to the city of Kelowna.
  • Services may be related to the environment, health and social services; arts and culture; recreation; education; or neighbourhood/community improvements.
  • Selections are based on the organizations achievements and contributions for the year 2019.
  • Past information may be included, but should primarily be regarding the current award year.

2018 Central Okanagan Foundation, Volunteer Organization of the Year Recipient

Helping Out People Exploited (HOPE) Outreach

The work isn’t glamorous, there are no days off and no pay, but the reward is priceless. The downward spiral of drugs, homelessness and prostitution is not an easy thing to escape, something the co-founder and president of Helping Out People Exploited (HOPE) Outreach is all too familiar with.

HOPE was founded in 2008 and has grown from two women wanting to make a difference to a registered non-profit with a team of 100 volunteers who gave 7,300 hours of their time in 2018. HOPE Outreach provides street-level outreach 365 days a year to offer practical and emotional support to marginalized women.

The success HOPE has seen over the last few years in Kelowna, initiated expansion to Vernon where the group also provides street level support five nights per week. Considering the fentanyl crisis, HOPE Outreach increased the number of volunteers in their Narcan Team to educate, assemble and distribute lifesaving Naloxone kits. The HOPE team also supports UBC Faculty of Medicine students involved in Narcan anti-overdose outreach and experiential research projects.

HOPE volunteers connect with women and girls living on the street and in shelters to provide support, hard reduction kits, bad date reporting and give HOPE for a healthier, safer future.  These volunteers also dedicate their time to educate and raise awareness about the issues of homelessness, addiction, sex work and exploitation in our community and how they can become part of the solution.

HOPE Outreach was awarded the 2014 Gert Beadle Group Award, recognizing the invisible work that is done at the community level to enhance women’s equality, and the group has earned respect from civic leaders, RCMP, Interior Health and numerous departments and educators at local post-secondary institutions. Thanks to HOPE, more women are realizing their goals of getting off the street and have HOPE to live a safer, healthier life.

Past Recipients of the Award
  • 2017 - Central Okanagan Search & Rescue
  • 2016 - Kelowna Gospel Mission
  • 2015 - Hands in Service
  • 2014 - United Way of the Central & South Okanagan Similkameen
  • 2013 - Freedom's Door
  • 2012 - Karis Support Society
  • 2011 - NOW Canada Society
  • 2010 - Canadian Mental Health Association
  • 2009 - Rotary Clubs of Kelowna 
  • 2008 - Kelowna Salvation Army
  • 2007 - Central Okanagan Hospice Association
  • 2006 - Rotary Club of Kelowna
  • 2005 - Central Okanagan Bursary & Scholarship Society
  • 2004 - C.O.R.N.S./Meals on Wheels
  • 2003 - Emergency Social Services
  • 2002 - Sunshine Dream for Kids
  • 2001 - Kelowna Community Resources Crisis Line
  • 2000 - Kelowna General Hospital Volunteers
  • 1999 - Kelowna Hostesses

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