Aside from being a haven for automotive eye candy and car buffs galore, the Langley Good Times Cruise-In serves as a lifeline for several local charities both big and small.
While every cent collected at the popular volunteer-run car show that kicks off Saturday morning (Sept. 6) in downtown Langley goes straight to the event’s list of official charities, even the smaller-scale non-profits benefit.
Last year, around $55,000 was raised, a portion of which went to one of the event’s newest official recipients – PuCKS.
Launched in 2005, PuCKS (Promoting Community through Kids in Sport) is a non-profit society that promotes kids either financially in-need, behaviourally at-risk, or recently re-settled in Canada to do well in school through the motivation of sports.
This is the second year the organization has been chosen as one of the official Cruise-In charities – a decision that has board members and participants jumping – and in many cases, skating for joy.
“The fact that the Langley Cruise-In has chosen our organization for a second year means a lot to us,” said Connie Klimek, founder and executive director of PuCKS, who, last year, received a check for $4,000 that used to maintain one of its after school programs.
“Our after-school Lit-Fit (homework club) was able to add ‘Tutoring Tuesdays’ for our senior high school students destined for post-secondary education.”
The Langley resident and mother of three, who began promoting PuCKS 10 years ago, admits she was naive to the magnitude of the Cruise-In until last year.
“When we arrived on the Saturday morning, we were shocked to realize that this event is huge! On a day that was forecast for rain, the sun shone brightly – there was literally music and dancing in the streets. Laughter and chatter everywhere. Langley City was buzzing and bright.”
PuCKS prides itself on being an organization grounded in a philosophy of empowerment, not entitlement, says Klimek.
“We pride ourselves on being very active with our sponsors. Our youth welcomes the chance to “give back” by volunteering regularly in the community. They log their annual volunteer hours in their personal portfolio (that includes an Accountability Contract). Our youth don’t want or expect a “free ride.”
For PuCKs, the event helps steer their organization and those who benefit from it full speed ahead into a bright future.
“It has not only kept our organization financially viable, it has given our youth an opportunity to be active community participants and to support a cause that’s supporting them.”
With a passion for motherhood and a career teaching community development and health promotion to nursing students, Klimek wanted to combine her two worlds.
“I wanted to become an effective role model for community development and health promotion to both my kids and my students,” she said.
The organization promotes community by keeping kids in school using hockey as the tool. Marginalization of kids and families is reduced by offering: 1. Power Nation (beginner’s hockey program), 2. Power Up (advanced hockey program), 3. Lit-Fit (afterschool homework and literacy programs), 4. Community Development, Health Promotion, Business & Research Placements for University Students.
And while PuCKs was first introduced in Langley, other B.C. communities are noticing the positive impact.
“More people in government, business, education and health are becoming more aware, more supportive and involved in PuCKS,” said Klimek.
“The goal is to launch in 30 communities across Canada and five in the Western United States, which should become a reality by 2020.”
In the past year, there have been several changes to the Pucks program.
In addition to hockey being offered at Twin Rinks on Tuesday afternoons, many youth have enjoyed becoming key players on great teams with tremendous success in the Langley United Soccer Association, notes Klimek.
“We also completed the Refugee Trauma Support Project (supported by the Ministry of Children and Families, Child and Youth Mental Health) helping 12 Karen youth to create personal digital stories and their families’ roots and culture.’
With the money they’re set to receive this year from the Cruise-In, Klimek notes that plans include: maintaining Lit Fit’s afterschool homework club, expanding Tutoring Tuesdays to jive with the needs and goals of youth moving toward post secondary oe employment in the trades, enhance the hockey and soccer programs and actively recruit a more diverse representation of grade 5 and 6 students to engage with PuCKS.
It is because of the generosity of those who donate and the Cruise-In itself, that non profit organizations like PuCKS can thrive, says Klimek.
“Thank you for all the time, energy , thought and kindness you ‘roll’ into Langley. Your organization attracts many folks from far and wide. It boosts our local economy. Because you give, we all get. Because we get, we can give. It’s a circle that is very special and very appreciated.”
For more information about PuCKS, visit www.pucksprograms.ca
For 2014, there are seven official non profit organizations set to benefit from the Cruise-In’s fundraising. Here’s a roundup of this year’s lucky recipients.
The Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association (VTEA) has been providing therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults of varying abilities since 1983.
The aims of therapeutic riding include balance improvement, coordination development, mobilization of stiff joints, development of weak muscles, prevention of contractures, improvement of circulation, relaxation of spasticity, development of self-esteem and independence, and recreation.
Additional benefits include improved learning, concentration, spatial awareness and overall relaxation of the body and the mind.
In addition to providing a source of exercise and sense of achievement, riding gives participants independence from artificial aids such as crutches and wheelchairs.
With 80 to 100 clients in their programs each year, donations to VTEA go directly to benefit the riders.
For more info, visit www.vtea.ca
There’s no doubt about it that the Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is a driving force in raising funds for the Langley Memorial Hospital.
Based solely on a team of dedicated volunteers, it is one of the major sources of funding the hospital receives.
In addition to helping support patients through the purchase of new hospital equipment, the non profit organization also logs countless hours with various volunteer duties throughout the hospital.
You’ll find the auxiliary volunteers working at the hospital gift shot, lotto booth, vendor tables, as well as the Penny Pincher Thrift Shop on 56 Avenue.
For the past couple of years, the LMHA has set up an information tent at the event, where they hand out brochures and answer questions from visitors.
Last year the volunteer group celebrated a major milestone – its 65th anniversary, which was commemorated by its pledge of $500,000 towards the expansion of Langley Memorial Hospital’s Maternity Unit.
For more information, visit www.langleymemorialhospitalauxiliary.ca
Formerly known as the Langley Stroke Recovery, the non profit organization – one that has helped countless men and women of all ages to improve their quality of life – recently branched out to become an independent society.
While it has a new name, the non-profit organization continues to provide exceptional resources for stroke survivors as well as anyone with a similar disability in the community who could benefit from their services.
The society offers a Stroke Survivors Group called Young Strokes 4 Hope – a three-hour program once a week for young stroke survivors that offers exercise, communication groups, games and the much-needed peer support from others the same age dealing with the same life issues.
Another program offered that is kept afloat thanks to the Cruise-In is SOAR (Stroke Optimistic Atmosphere Recovery).
The latter is a three-hour, once-a-week program for stroke survivors 60 and over who want to continue working on their recovery after returning home from the hospital or rehab.
For more info on the Langley Community Support groups Society, call Marilyn Piticco at 604-882-4672.
Boys and Girls Club of Langley
For the past 75 years, the Boys and Girls clubs of South Coast BC has been providing a safe haven for children; a place outside of school and the home where they can meet with friends, participate in the numerous activities offered and develop a sense of confidence and well-being through positive relationship building.
With services ranging from afterschool programs and summer camps to employment services and counselling, the association aids 12,000 individuals annually. The Langley chapter of the Boys and Girls club is located at 5409A 206 St. in Langley City.
For more information, visit www.bgcbc.ca
Legacy Water Search of Langley
Founded in 2013, The Legacy Water Search and Recovery Society has been committed to providing closure to the loved ones of drowning fatalities.
In many cases, the RCMP are unable to recover victims, resulting in a prolonged grieving process. Currently in the fundraising stage of operations, the society is working diligently to raise enough funds to purchase the equipment necessary to perform searches.
For more information, visit their website at www.legacywatersearch.com
Douglas Park Community School Society
This society serves Douglas Park Community School — a kindergarten to Grade 5 school, located in Langley city.
Founded in 2008 as a means to connect the school with the community, this society strives to create an enhanced learning experience paired with a safe and secure social environment. Through programs such as an on-site day care, Boys and Girls Club and Strong Start, this school’s resources are made accessible to the community. For more information on the Douglas Park Community Society, contact the school at 604-533-4491.