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ChangeUP Rewards Social Innovators In The Okanagan

Ask the audience: voting for the most impactful and innovative changemakers in the Okanagan is no easy feat.

Twelve finalists representing youth-led ventures, non-profits, for-profits and charities pitched their projects to a sold-out audience at Kelowna’s first ever ChangeUP last night. The finalists are making a difference in areas as diverse as financial literacy for low-income individuals to helping businesses decrease their carbon emissions.

“I was very interested in social enterprise so I thought I would come out and see what’s happening in the Okanagan. There is more happening than I thought. My favourite part was the kids’ presentations. The first category (featuring the youth) blew my mind,” says Tamara McLellan.

(Photo: Glen Durrell Photography) Andrew Greer presents Teagan Adams with a $600 cheque.

The audience was able to vote for the winners they felt were making the most effective positive change. In several categories first and second place was several votes apart.

ChangeUP, an initiative of Okanagan Changemakers, is pleased to announce the first prize winners from its first-ever ChangeUP pitch event.

Youth-led venture:
Teagan Adams, founder of DooGoods Trading Cards, $600
DooGoods is trading cards that teach children to act locally, think globally and make a difference in the world through simple actions.

“Let’s create a generation of upstanders and not bystanders and put an end to bullying and make caring cool,” Teagan told the audience.

Jeff Hoffart, ED-ucation Publishing, $1,000

ED-ucation Publishing is founded on the premise that people learn from stories. The company creates books and curriculum to teach and empower the next generation of youth change agents. Its first published book is A is for Action.

Ailsa Beischer, Central Okanagan Food Policy Council’s Fruit Tree Project, $3,000
Thousands of families rely on food assistance yet often food in our community goes to waste. The Fruit Tree project aims to change this by having volunteers pick leftover fruit and vegetables from peoples’ homes and gardens to donate to food banks and charities. Last year, the Fruit Tree Project picked 17,000 pounds of fruit, which was shared with 22 charities.

Established Registered Charity:
Michael Wendland, Metro Up, $6,000
Metro Up provides a financial literacy and matching grants program for low income individuals to move forward in life. Metro Up is helping people to save money to continue their education, starting a small business, and more.

“It’s a huge honour just to be acknowledged for social impact and helping our community,” says Michael Wendland, cofounder of Metro Up, on winning. “I know the dollars are going towards helping those less fortunate than us to move forward in life so I’m just excited for that.”

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