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KelownaNow’s top positive stories of 2016

KelownaNow strives to be a positive news source for the community and as part of The Gratitude Project, we’re working to spotlight even more happy moments.

Here is a look back at some of our most positive stories so far this year.

1. Random kindness sends three kelowna brothers soaring

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow. </who> August Motorcar Representatives with the Donovan family at the Kelowna International Airport.

On Random Act of Kindness Day, August Motors picked up three Kelowna brothers, who had recently lost their father to cancer, from school in luxury cars. The cruise to the airport was topped off with a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride over the city.

2. Kelowna doctors performing life-changing surgeries in Ethiopia

<who> Photo Credit: RESTOR International. </who> Eshetu Esubalew after the surgery on his hands to separate his fingers.

A team of doctors and volunteers from Kelowna, including plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses, visited Ethiopia to give free surgeries to individuals those in need.

3. College students hand out food and clothing to Kelowna’s homeless

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow.

As part of their social services course at Vancouver Career College, students stepped up to help feed the homeless. Numerous business like Bliss Bakery, Tim Hortons, Safeway, Subway and Save-on-Foods donated items for a free barbecue which the students served to the community on Leon Avenue.

4. Kelowna kids giving back to furry friends

<who> BC SPCA. </who> Peyton donated $70 from her 10th birthday to the animals at the Kelowna Branch.

Kelowna youth of all ages have been showing their love for animals by taking their birthday money to the to the BC SPCA. Can we say awe?

5. Kamloops artist releases inspiring video about embracing graduation

Timo Sargent - Chapters Change (Spoken Word)

Today I'm graduating from university, and I wrote this for everyone else who is graduating this week or this month, or anyone who is transitioning into a new chapter of their life. Let's embrace our opportunities and control our futures!!

Posted by Timo Sargent on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

KelownaNow spoke to Kamloops-born poet about his video, which he said he released to encourage his peers to embrace the future. It was pretty well received, it turns out, garnering over 57,000 views on Facebook.

6. Kelowna dental community saves free clinic

<who> Photo Credit: Kelowna's Gospel Mission.

A free dental clinic in Kelowna was on the verge of shutting down early this summer. When KelownaNow published a story on it, many local dentists stepped up to volunteer, allowing the clinic to keep its doors open.

7. RCMP handing out positive ‘tickets’ to Okanagan youth

North Okanagan RCMP officers took a different approach to ticketing this summer, looking for kids in Armstrong doing good work in the community. Kids received ‘positive tickets’ through their partner 7-Eleven, who supplied the cops with free slurpee credits.

8. Born without arms or legs, Chris Koch aims to inspire others

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow. </who> Chris Koch was born without any arms and legs, but that hasn't stopped him from taking over the world.

Para-athlete Chris Koch spoke to KelownaNow in June about overcoming obstacles and encouraging others to do the same. Besides preparing for upcoming marathons, he was also working as a public speaker at the time.

9. Carma Project grants 3 cars to deserving Kelowna residents

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow. </who> Laura Gorby, 25, excitedly awaits her car's arrival.

Bruce and Penny Stranaghan from Integra Tire Kelowna gave away three cars during their first ever triple Carma Project giveaway. It was a pretty special day for the families who got to drive away happily, each in a new (to them) set of wheels.

10. Mayor says Kelowna’s Sugarplum Ball represents the city well

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow. </who> "Mayor Sugarplum" shows off his true beauty on Saturday night in Kelowna.

The first ever Surgarplum Ball in Kelowna turned out to be a huge success, with the support of Mayor Colin Basran. Not only did he speak out about the event, he was also one of six local celebrities to dress in drag that night. Cheers to living in an inclusive community!

11. From homeless to housed in under a month

CMHA rolled out the Housing First initiative in Kelowna this year, and they’ve already had success. Just one month in, they had already helped one chronically homeless man into a place of his own.

12. 10 photos to remind you how beautiful Kelowna really is

A photo posted by Sarah Pinto (@pintos24) on

Sometimes you just have to look around and take it in.

13. Kelowna's Unsung Heroes - Keni Milne

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow. </who> Milne outside of CMHA.

Keni Milne is our first Unsung Hero, a series we are hoping to expand on KelownaNow. She is a housing first case manager at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kelowna and talked to us about offering those in need support, no matter what that means.

14. Kelowna kids plan 12 month trip around the world to donate $1M

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow.

Kelowna’s own Adonie and Lydia Sacallis met Mayor Colin Basran in September to discuss their own fundraising initiative. The eager kids, just 11 and 8, plan to visit 12 different countries in 12 months to raise $1 million for charity.

15. Mysterious $200,000 donation helps food bank pay off mortgage

<who> Photo credit: KelownaNow.

One of our most popular positive stories of the year came recently, when the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank was able to pay off their mortgage on their Westbank location three years early, thanks to an anonymous donation. The group burned the mortgage papers in celebration.

For more positive stories, check out The Gratitude Project section on our website.

Which positive KelownaNow story is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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