A long-time Kelowna family has made a major donation to Okanagan College in support of future students and the health sciences sector.
The Okanagan College Foundation announced Friday they received $150,000 from the Friesen family, which will help equip the college with a new health sciences centre on the Kelowna campus.
The Friesen family has a long history with the college. Dianne Friesen worked at Okanagan College in the mid-1970s, and in 1984, her husband Rod launched Voyager RV. Now their son Jason, who runs the company and hires graduates from the college’s RV technician program, also donated $30,000 towards a new trades training complex.
This will support the therapist assistant lab, which educates students how to work as assistants to occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and more.
“As you get older you start thinking more about health care, and having it available in your city. We’ve been fortunate to experience excellent care throughout our 47 years living here with our two sons, and most of our grandchildren being born at Kelowna General Hospital,” said Rod.
Dianne echoed the words of her husband.
“We realize just how important our health care workers are. It’s a privilege to give back to the community that’s given so much to us,” she said.
Both gifts from the family support the Our Students, Your Health campaign, as well as the Bold Horizons campaign.
Vanessa Marshall, a second-year therapist assistant student, expressed her gratitude at the gift.
“It’s clear to me that without support from individuals and families in the community, like the Friesens, the therapist assistant lab would not be up to par to the extent that it is in the new centre, especially with the new equipment that we’ve been graciously provided with this year,” she said.
The college also announced it would be launching a $30,000 award fund to support students in the therapist assistant program. Three awards will be given annually, over the next five years.
The Okanagan College Foundation is now $1.5 million away from meeting its fundraising goal for the health sciences centre. To learn more or to donate, visit OurStudentsYourHealth.ca.
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