Joyce Brinkerhoff and student performer Emily Siemens stand in the Global School House's 'slums' area.

Local group looks to inspire global awareness in Kelowna

Global Citizen Kelowna is hosting a series of events to educate, entertain and inspire action

Global Citizen Kelowna is introducing adults and students alike to cultures from around the world.

Every February, the organization holds events to educate, entertain and inspire action.

“It’s kind of a whole idea of global awareness, global citizenship, and being aware of humanitarian causes both locally and internationally,” explained executive director Joyce Brinkerhoff.  “It’s one thing to say I love people all over the world, but I can’t stand my neighbour.  That doesn’t fit.  So we promote stuff locally, and what people who live here are doing internationally.”

The first event is the Global School House, which runs through Thursday.  All grade six students in Kelowna will attend and tour the global school house, where they will see re-enactments of sweat shops and slums, and will learn about cultures and schooling around the world.

On February 18th, the second event will be held in the form of the Global Speakers Series.  The Global Speakers Series will host a round table on UN’s newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals initiative.  Done in partnership with the BC Council for International Cooperation and Okanagan College, over 20 locally-based humanitarian groups and interested students will be in attendance.

Following Global Speaker Series is Taste of Home, which is the largest public event hosted by Global Citizen Kelowna.  Taste of Home will be held on Saturday, February 20th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 2041 Harvey Avenue at the Mainstreet Centre (also the location of the Global School House and the Global Speakers Series).

“That came from the thought that the world may be all out there, but the world is also in Kelowna,” described Brinkerhoff.  “So what is a taste of home?  Home is where your roots are from, so a taste of home would be food from places around the world.  So we’ve asked different ethnic groups and ethnic restaurants to help provide small samples of food, so you can try a bunch of food from different places.”

There will be over 20 types of food available, and there will also be different cultural performances providing entertainment.  Admission is free to the event, and the organizers only ask that a small donation be considered.  Any collected funds will go to covering the costs of the events, and any surplus money will be donated to local organizations that are helping others around the world.

The final two events will both take place on February 27th.  The Global Music Fest will be held at Third Space and will feature Andrew Judah Band, a local band from Kelowna, and JP Maurice, a Vancouver based band.  Additionally, there will also be spoken word performances and an art exhibit.  Tickets at the door are $10.

The second event being held on the 27th is the Global Children’s Village, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Gym in Lake Country, and it will be held in collaboration with the Lake Country Indoor Children’s Festival.

This year marks the 13th year of the Global Citizen Kelowna events, and the goal hasn’t changed at all since it began; the purpose is still to entertain, educate and inspire to action.