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Petrie Island Canada Day festivities officially cancelled: Kiwanis Club redirects efforts to COVID-19 impact

By Harley Bloom
Kiwanis East Ottawa Est
May 5, 2020

As the realities of Covid-19 set in for kids around the Capital, your local Kiwanis chapter is stepping up in a big way.

Kiwanis East Ottawa Est is stepping up its ‘Computers for Kids’ program which provides computers for disadvantaged youth so they can continue their studies online. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Kiwanis East Ottawa Est is well known in Orléans for large-scale entertainment events like O Canada Orléans on Petrie Island and sKreamers, but their year-round work helping children in need through their various programs serves a role of compassion and support in the community.

This Club’s highest-attended event cannot be postponed. O Canada Orléans, which draws tens of thousands of attendees from across eastern Ottawa, is no longer viable. The event takes takes considerable planning and financial resources, and relies on the contributions of local businesses and donors.

“We fully appreciate that O Canada Orléans is no longer feasible, given the planning horizon we need to consider,” explains O Canada Orléans chairperson Zybina Richards.

Kiwanis is shifting gears from ‘business as usual’ to address new and emerging challenges brought on by the pandemic. Says Richards, “At this time, we believe those funds can be better used to support critical needs in our community.”

One of those critical needs is Computers for Kids, a program where financially disadvantaged students will be provided Chromebooks and WIFI hotspots so they are equipped for remote online learning. The Club, in coordination with other area chapters, are working with partner organizations and school boards to identify needs in short order.

“Computers for Kids gets equipment into the hands of students who may otherwise very quickly fall behind their classmates,” says Adam Polka, Director of Media Relations for Kiwanis East Ottawa Est. “But we also believe that this is the first in a series of programs we hope to champion. We have earmarked a sizable portion of our program’s budget towards helping kids through this major disruption.”

The Club is still in discovery mode around how and where their resources can have the greatest impact. “Our ears are to the ground, and we are prepared to respond to emergent needs,” says Polka. “Our focus continues to be giving kids the opportunity to thrive, and we are well positioned to contribute to what society needs right now.”

Kiwanis East Ottawa Est plans on reviving Petrie Island Canada Day celebrations in 2021, and extends a sincere thank you to local businesses for their intent to support this yea.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)




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