Hector Bussiere and his wife Diane Pierce are both Master Gardeners. (submitted)

Coming up in Cowichan: online auction, Beyond the Blues, fundraising dance and much more

Online Auction to raise funds for Seniors Community Foundation

The Cowichan Seniors Community Foundation will be hosting its 6th Annual Online Auction from Oct. 7 to 11.

The Cowichan Seniors Community Foundation is a registered charity that advocates programs and services to facilitate seniors aging in place within the Cowichan region. The Foundation also partners with local government, community organizations, service clubs, businesses and interested individual supporters to be a general resource and to deliver services to seniors across the region. Some of the programs and services are listed below.

The Supported Transportation Program offers rides to and from medical appointments for seniors who no longer drive. In 2018, 1,800 rides were provided to and from medical appointments, with volunteers driving more than 26,000 kilometres. The Meals on Wheels program delivered more than 4,000 meals in the Duncan area last year. The Foundation also produces a hard-copy Seniors Resource Directory every two years. This resource lists organizations and contacts for services available to seniors throughout the region. The directory is also available on-line on the CSCF website and is continually updated. Five Seniors Wellness Expos were held throughout the Cowichan region and five more will be hosted by June 2020. The goal is to engage seniors in the communities where they live to come together and learn more about services, programming and initiatives aimed at maintaining and/or improving their quality of life.

The auction will be hosted on Facebook’s “32auctions” platform. Bidders are notified and updated immediately on the status of their bid(s) to encourage ongoing participation. Photos, descriptions and donor information of items are listed there, as well as on the website and through social media platforms. Funds raised from the auction will be matched through a partnership with the Victoria Foundation for the Cowichan Seniors Smart and Caring Fund. In 2018, more than $1,600 was raised to support the Foundation’s work with bids coming from all over Vancouver Island.

Beyond the Blues event in Duncan

Feeling stressed, low, anxious? Need support and info? Duncan Beyond the Blues Event on Oct. 9 adds a dose of fun and games to help educate about depression, anxiety and good mental health.

As the leaves fall, people’s moods can, too. Come autumn, families are in the thick of school and work schedules and stresses. Reduced daylight can affect routines. That’s why it’s an ideal time for the 25th annual Beyond the Blues: Education & Screening Days, which have helped 102,000 people across B.C. since 1995.

“People sometimes think talking about mental health has to be depressing or boring, but it doesn’t,” says Sarah Hamid-Balma with the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division and provincial coordinator for Beyond the Blues. “Beyond the Blues is about prevention, catching problems early and connecting to local help in a fun, friendly and interactive way. We’ve got stress bingos, emoji activities, colouring and more. We’re competing for people’s time and attention just like everyone else so it has to be engaging and creative.”

Held during or near Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6-12), Beyond the Blues is an annual awareness day to engage people to learn more about mental well-being and mental health problems. The Duncan event will be one of at least 75 that have been set up across B.C.

The events are free, anonymous, confidential and drop-in. At the event, attendees can take part in fun and engaging activities such as videos, games, presentations, or resource fairs to learn more about stress, mood and anxiety problems, supports and self-care. They can fill out short self-tests on depression, anxiety and risky drinking or cannabis use and talk privately with a clinician about next steps and local resources. They can also fill out a well-being self-test that looks at features of good mental health like vitality, social support, healthy thinking, and self-esteem.

“We want to create friendly, engaging, and safer spaces for people to reflect on their own mental health and have a conversation about how to prevent problems or feel better,” says Tara McCaffery from the BC Schizophrenia Society who is organizing the local event.

“We want Beyond the Blues attendees to leave feeling empowered, better informed, hopeful and supported,” says Tara McCaffery from the BC Schizophrenia Society who is organizing the local event.

There are specially-tailored screening forms available for adults, older adults, youth, new or expectant mothers, Indigenous adults and people who are concerned about a friend or family member. Brief substance use screens also help people see the links between their alcohol or other drug use, possible harms, and impacts on their mental well-being.

“Our research shows anyone can benefit from attending,” says Hamid-Balma. “The information and activities are designed to support people in educating themselves so that they can see what’s going well for them, and also know what to do next if they or someone they care about is affected down the road.”

The event is being held at Walmart Supercenter, 3020 Drinkwater Rd., from 5-8 p.m.

Library Month celebrating

Indigenous people and cultures

Vancouver Island Regional Library is showcasing Indigenous people, cultures, customs, and creations this October during Library Month celebrations. From film screenings to author talks, storytimes to medicine walks, VIRL branches will be full of exciting, thought-provoking, insightful and informative Indigenous-themed programs and displays all month long.

In Cowichan, events are coming up on Oct. 9 and 10.

“Our library system is committed to fostering conversations and opportunities for people to learn together about Indigenous experiences and cultures, past, present, and future,” says Rosemary Bonanno, VIRL’s executive director. “Whether you live in Haida Gwaii, the North Island, Sooke, or somewhere in between, there’s something for every age and interest this October.”

Library Month kicked off on Sept. 30 with Orange Shirt Day with VIRL staff wearing orange shirts (or orange buttons) in solidarity and support of the Every Child Matters initiative.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, the Warmland Book and Film Collective, which discusses films and books, will meet at 5 p.m. at the Duncan branch.

On Thursday, Oct. 10, the South Cowichan branch will have a special session: “Medicine Gathering with Cowichan Tribes Elder Della (Rice) Sylvester. For more, visit https://virl.bc.ca/

Heather Society hosting speaker

On Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Masonic Hall in Mill Bay, the Vancouver Island Heather Society will be providing its annual public presentation. This presentation is offered free each year to the public as a service to the community. It will begin at 2 p.m. and all are welcome to attend.

The speaker will be Hector Bussiere, who is a well-know Victoria-based horticulturist, and expert gardener. His presentation will be on “20 of the best perennials, shrubs and small trees to add to your gardens as great companions for your heathers”.

Rather than a digital presentation, he will present live samples of the plants he is discussing. A handout of the plants that will be discussed will be available electronically on the Vancouver Island Heather Society website at https://www.bcheathersociety.org/ prior to the meeting. Hector encourages questions and will be delighted to discuss specific plants with you.

Should you wish to become a member of the Vancouver Island Heather Society, the membership chair will be available to accept your dues and provide you with a membership package.

Mill Bay Marine Search and Rescue fundraising events coming up

The Mill Bay Marine Search and Rescue want everyone to mark their calendars for three upcoming fundraising events.

First, on Oct. 12, there is a dance at the Cobblestone Pub with live band Monkey Wrench, starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and the complete amount will go to Marine Search and Rescue. Shuttle service is available.

Second, in partnership with the Mill Bay Rotary Club, Marine Search and Rescue is holding a Casino Night on Nov. 2. Tickets are $68, which includes entry, tapas and door prizes. There will be a live and silent auction. Revenues will be split 50-50 with the Rotary club.

Finally, on Jan. 18, Marine Search and Rescue holds its annual fishing derby. Stay tuned for more details.

So why all the fundraising? The Mill Bay Marine Rescue Society (MBMRS) is responsible for raising the funds necessary to operate RCM-SAR Station 34. MBMRS is a registered charitable organization in Canada, and all donations are tax-deductible.

Specifically the group is raising funds for a couple of projects.

Outdoor motor engines for the group’s boats are coming to the end of their lives, and replacement will cost an estimated $65,000.

The group is also looking at a boat lift and house upgrade and replacement in 2020. The current lift and house are more than 10 years old and will cost about $75,000 to replace.

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