Long before the new Vancity even opened in Walnut Grove on May 22, branch manager Ana Sawatzky was combing the community for the perfect avenue through which to give back.
by Roxanne Hooper / Langley Advance
That hunt, and suggestions from Township Mayor Kurt Alberts, turned up dozens of worthy charities in need of funding and assistance, but Sawatzky found the greatest needed was a fledgling organization called PuCKS, designed to lift hundreds of local kids off the couch and onto the ice, removing financial barriers that might prevent them from participating.
While Vancity has a long history of giving back to the community, the formation of an alliance between Promoting Community through Kids in Sports (PuCKS) and the new Walnut Grove branch was an ideal fit, Sawatzky said.
The partnership started with a $25,000 donation to the new group this spring, then evolved into helping coordinate the hugely successful Gordie Howe fundraising dinner at the end of March, which helped generate a further $36,000 for the organization.
“We’re working together to build healthier children, and in turn helping build healthier communities,” she said.
Now, the two organizations are partnering again to coordinate two camps hosted by Canadian hockey legend goaltender (King) Richard Brodeur. Those camps are set for Aug. 11 and 18 at the Sportsplex in Langley.
In addition to the initial donation and ongoing support of the PuCKS programs, Vancity is also running its own Pay it Forward type of program that will benefit new members, at least five local charities, and even helps local service organizations – including PuCKS.
Anyone who opens a new account at the Walnut Grove Vancity credit union before Aug. 31 of this year – with an automatic payroll deposit or pre-authorized payment – will receive a $100 Vancity mytreat VISA gift card.
Their name can also be entered into a draw. If they’re one of five winners, then $1,000 will be given to a local charity of their choice in their name.
“Society has fostered a mentality that you must want something,” Sawatzky said. “That’s not the case. This is, simply put, our way of paying it forward.”
She explained how the idea for the Vancity pay it forward program evolved out of the overwhelmingly caring and compassionate nature of Langleyites that she’s observed since transferring to the area last summer.
Now, if that’s not enough, she said, there’s more to their new pay it forward program.
For anyone who opens a new account and also refers another new member (who also meets the same criteria), there’s an additional $50 bonus.
In the case of PuCKS, which started an account with the Walnut Grove Vancity, they’re expecting to reap further benefits. Many of the 850 families that are members of the Langley Minor Hockey Association have vowed to join Vancity. Consequently, PuCKS is expecting it will see a large residual cheque from the referrals.
“It shows you that, if everyone did a little something, what a difference it would make,” Sawatzky said.
“This is our way of giving a little back to our new community, and helping others to pay it forward.”
Source Langley Advance
Originally published on 06/12/2007