Longtime North Okanagan friends Kristin Postill and Brittney Page are standing up for the Archway Society this year.
The duo will again meet to paddle the 16-kilometre length of Kalamalka Lake for their fourth annual Stand Up For…paddleboard fundraising challenge, an event that has raised more than $67,000 for the Okanagan Rail Trail, KidSport Okanagan and The People Place in Vernon.
The beneficiary this year is the Archway Society, a non-profit whose mission is to transition to a future free from violence, especially domestic violence and sexual assault affecting women, children and youth.
“They operate more than 17 programs that include shelter, counselling, advocacy and support for women, children and families who have experienced violence,” said Postill.
“They are one of the few in the province who offer wrap-around support under one agency umbrella. As they are seeing rapid growth they are needing to expand their programming and renovate their current building.”
The ladies said it was more important than ever to choose a charity that was helping those in the Okanagan most affected by the pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Archway Society has seen a 48 per cent increase in women, children and youth accessing their programs and alarmingly, a dramatic spike in the severity and intensity of abuse making cases more complex and difficult. With kids being home from school and not playing organized sports they also saw a dramatic decline in referrals that usually come from teachers and coaches.
Since school reopened they saw an influx in referrals and this spring their Child and Youth Advocacy Centre had its busiest period since they opened in 2015.
“We both feel so fortunate we are in situations that allow us to be able and capable to help others in need,” said Postill. “Archway Society was a no-brainer. This pandemic has affected us all in different ways but the numbers don’t lie and the spike in domestic abuse is gut-wrenching. Archway Society is much more than the Transition House that people are familiar with. Their extensive programs are directly helping those who need it most and typically don’t have anywhere else to turn.”
“Through our work at Archway, we see first hand how strong, resilient and incredible women are. So this paddle fundraiser is especially exciting to us because we get to partner with two extraordinary women who are doing amazing things for their community,” said Sherry Demetrick, co-executive director of Archway Society.
“The money raised by Brittney and Kristin will be used to further enhance our programs, particularly ones that are in development and as such do not have designated stable funding.
“In addition, we are about to embark on a period of growth so the money raised will help us to continue to be leaders in our field and enhance our work supporting women, children and families to live with dignity, respect and free from violence.”
Postill and Page have set a lofty goal of raising $30,000 in just a few weeks but they are used to aiming high and succeeding.
Page played professional volleyball all over the world and led the Team Canada women’s volleyball team for two cycles. Postill spent many years as a professional equestrian show jumper and now works as an advertising professional.
Friends since elementary school, both women said it’s important to them to support the community that helped shape their youth.
“It’s going to be an amazing day on the water and we couldn’t be more excited to not only raise money for Archway Society’s much-needed programs but also awareness for the incredible work they are doing,” said Page. “And with the amazing Okanagan’s help, we’re determined to completely crush our $30,000 goal.”
Support Brittney and Kristin and donate to the paddle here: bit.ly/supforarchway.