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Rotary Club of Ladner donates $20,000 to REACH

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Ladner Rotary present cheque to REACH Society

On June 21st, 2011 Reach Child and Youth Development Society was presented with a generous donation of $20,000 from the Rotary Club of Ladner in support of their work with children with special needs and their families.

“We are grateful for this donation” says Renie D’Aquila, Executive Director of Reach, “the Rotary Club of Ladner has provided a range of support to Reach Society over the years. Recently the Ladner Rotarians have physically helped with painting our sheds and buildings and participating in our preschool program. Recognizing that 15% of the population has special needs and that the incidence rates are increasing we simply cannot meet the ever growing demand. Today’s generous donation from the Rotary Club of Ladner will enable more children and youth with special needs to receive the help they need.”

Reach has been serving the community of Delta since 1959, supporting the development of children throughout all stages of childhood. Programs and services include developmental assessments, preschools, therapies, autism intervention programs, youth social programs, and family support and education.  Reach has recently launched a $4 million capital campaign to build a new, community-based child development centre in the heart of Ladner. The new centre will be bigger and more accessible than the current Reach centre in east Ladner, enabling more children, youth and families to benefit from programs and services.

“ As a Past President of the Rotary Club of Ladner I am aware  of Reach Society’s  incredible community contributions and I know of no other project that will impact the community more than this one,” says Irene Forcier, Chair of the Reach Foundation. “Children are our future.  All children need our support and this by far is the best form of support children with disabilities and their families can hope for. A building in the heart of the community built with learning in mind will help us all.  Rotary has stepped up to the plate once again and makes us all proud they are serving our community.”

The Rotary Club motto is Service Above Self, and since 1905 Rotary Clubs worldwide have been supporting organizations locally and abroad. The Rotary Club of Ladner has been in existence since 1957.  This donation to Reach is through the Avenue of Community Service, where Rotarians give back to the places they live in.

“Supporting youth initiatives has become Rotary’s new avenue of Service”, says Ladner Club President Guillermo Bustos, “but it is especially important to support children and youth with special needs.  We hope that other clubs and community organizations will join in this effort.”

For more information about Rotary Club of Ladner contact incoming President Linda Ottho, Box 77, Delta, BC at 604-240-1733. For more information about Reach Child and Youth Development Society programs and services, or about the capital campaign call 604-946-6622 (local 301 for Renie D’Aquila Executive Director and local 385 for Reach Foundation Chair Irene Forcier) or visit

‘Traditional’ schools proving very popular in Delta

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Pebble Hill ElementaryDelta, BC – A more formal learning environment with a focus on manners, school-wide homework policies, and uniforms is proving to be a popular choice for Delta families.

The Delta School District introduced its first ‘Traditional School’ at Tsawwassen’s Pebble Hill Elementary in 2008. A ‘traditional’ setting provides a private school style, but in a public school setting. The Delta School District decided to offer this form of education, as a way of delivering choice to families. The more structured learning environment quickly proved to be a popular option.

Enrollment at Pebble Hill had been declining. From September 2006 to September 2007, the student population dropped from 184 students to 146. Once the school became traditional, enrolment started to increase, back up to 164 students in the 2010/2011 school year. Kindergarten numbers have nearly quadrupled from 12 students in 2008 to 43 students enrolled for the upcoming 2011/2012 school year.

The success at Pebble Hill prompted the district to open a second traditional school in North Delta the following year. Jarvis Traditional Elementary School opened its doors in September 2009. Enrolment jumped from 363 students in 2008 to 391 students in 2010. Parents supported the new school format for a variety of reasons.

“At Jarvis, the parents who have chosen the traditional school seem to be parents  who prefer schools with uniforms and with the increased attention to displays of  respectful behaviour, such as formal greetings and the emphasis on manners,” said  Ragini Kapil, Principal at Jarvis Traditional Elementary and formerly Principal at  Pebble Hill Traditional Elementary.

The traditional model offers parents a choice that was not available previously in the public school system, explains Garnet Ayres, Delta School District Deputy Superintendent. “All of our schools are fairly traditional in one sense of the word, but parents have responded to these changes positively and the increase in enrolment at each school has been an indicator of that,” he said.

Now, the Delta School District is proud to announce that Heath Elementary School will become a traditional school as of September 2011. This decision was made following a consultation process involving parents, students and staff, which garnered great support for a switch to a traditional model.

“I’m excited because this decision was very much made in community,” said Janet Lauman, Principal at Heath Elementary.

Heath Traditional Elementary School is located at 11364 72nd Avenue in North Delta. Registrations are now being accepted for the fall and already there is an upturn in enrolment.

Local Social Worker wins Royal Bank 'Top 25 Immigrant' award for 2011

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For the greater good

The field of social work is an intense career path that demands the ability and empathy to fight passionately on behalf of others, and that suits Alex Sangha of Delta, B.C., perfectly. In fact, speaking up for those who need a voice is a part of everything Sangha does, as a registered social worker, a grad student, founder of a gay and lesbian South Asian organization called Sher Vancouver and co-founder of Mindset (Mental Health Education, Awareness and Support) at PICS settlement agency.

Where does Sangha’s passion for advocacy come from? Born in the United Kingdom to Indian parents, Sangha, whose youth was spent largely in Canada, says he himself faced discrimination and disadvantage, not only for being South Asian, but for being gay. His experiences overcoming injustice in his own life, including tough years as a teenager dealing with bullying, has led him to become a vocal advocate for others.

“I feel if you give back and help others then you reap rewards of positive energy, positive feedback, and an intrinsic feeling of health and wellness. I felt it was necessary to make the most of my opportunities in Canada and fight for the rights of the marginalized and oppressed,” he says.

“I have my grandfather’s spirit in me. My grandfather spent his whole life helping South Asian immigrants in England settle in that country. My mother was devoted to giving back because it was a tenet of her Sikh faith. And I learned values of caring, sharing and collective goodwill through my professional education as a social worker.”

BCEATS Offer to purchase the Southlands for 205 million

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BCEATS Offer to Century page 1This morning on CBC Radio during the "Early Edtion" hosted by Rick Cluff, an offer to purchase the Southlands for 205 million dollars was announced by Peter Cummings, Director of the BC Ecological Agricultural Trust Society or BCEATS.

The announcement came in the wake of a contentious public hearing to put the 538 acre parcel of farmland back in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Opponents of the plan would see that the old Spetifore farm be rezoned to allow a residential development plan put forth by the current owner Century Industries. A plan that would see 1900 homes built on 1/3 of the property.


Delta Mayor Suspends Public Hearing for ALR Inclusion of the Southlands

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dana maslovat and sean hodginsOn the scheduled fourth day of the Public Hearing to consider an ALR application for the Southlands, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson suspended the Hearing and called a “Mayor Summit” to discuss further options. The first three days of the Public Hearing consisted of speakers on both sides of the debate and the presentation of a petition of over 1300 names supporting the ALR designation, and a banned video called “Saving the Southlands”.