Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Community shows generosity this holiday Christmas time

by Mayor Kerry Cook - Williams Lake Tribune

It was another successful Christmas Wish Breakfast this week at the Ramada to benefit children in need.

This wonderful event grows in numbers and generosity every year.

Many thanks to everyone who donated, and hats off to the Child Development Centre, the Williams Lake Rotary Club, the Ramada, and all of the volunteers who help make this such a great event!

Our community’s generosity also made the fifth annual Hospital Trust’s Christmas Gala its most successful ever, raising $70,000 for a new mammography machine.

I am absolutely amazed, and wish to congratulate the Hospital Trust on this very successful fundraiser.

Last week, I attended the 19th Annual Aboriginal Education Conference to take part in the workshop entitled “Building Belonging Through Remembering, Recovery and Reconciling.”

Along with Chief Fred Robbins and School District 27 staff, we shared our successes with the St. Joseph’s Mission commemoration project.

We offered ideas on how to create opportunities for non-First Nations to participate and deepen their understanding of the impact of residential schooling on both First Nations and non-First Nations communities.

We also focused on strategies to bring First Nations and non-First Nations adults and youth together in an effort to build a true sense of belonging for all in communities and schools.

Williams Lake’s Truth and Reconciliation event is truly history-making.

It began with Chief Robbins’ vision, and School District 27 has made the groundbreaking decision to develop new local history curriculum for Kindergarten through Grade 12.

This sets a very positive precedent for developing a meaningful understanding of our First Nations, and I am very proud to be moving forward toward true reconciliation.

There will be another resource for children in our community with autism next year. TRU residential construction students, along with the Williams Lake Construction Association, will build an autism centre at the Child Development Centre.

By working together, the university, the CDC, and School District 27 leveraged a $95,000 grant from the John Gordon Autism Foundation.

The students will benefit from the hands-on experience, and our children and community will benefit from the new centre.

This is a perfect example of the power of partnership to make great things happen!

At this time of year I would like to thank our businesses, who so generously donate all year round, and say a special thank you to all of our volunteers, who go above and beyond to make Williams Lake a great place to live.

From my family to yours, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, full of joy, hope, love, and peace.

Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.

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