Okanagan College’s Silver Surfers program recently received a financial boost from Interior Savings Credit Union, plus it was named a regional champion at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition. -Image Credit: Submitted Photo

Okanagan College students empower community

Okanagan College’s CANSave and Silver Surfers programs named regional champs at Enactus

From empowering senior citizens to use technology to reconnect with loved ones to developing a simulated economy that teaches elementary school children the basics of financial literacy, young adults are taking charge to change lives for the better.

And these are just two of the projects presented at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition, which took place March 3-4 in Calgary.

“The event inspires and celebrates the entrepreneurial action of student teams across Western Canada,” said Nicole Almond, president of Enactus Canada, the country’s largest post-secondary experiential learning platform. “Like in business, competition drives creativity and results. Year after year, our students continue to amaze us through their innovation, drive to succeed and desire to give back.”

Four team-based competitions focused on financial education, environmental sustainability, youth empowerment and entrepreneurship took place at the event. Post-secondary student teams demonstrated the impact of their projects to panels of business executives serving as judges. Regional champions were named in each category and will now move on to compete nationally May 9-11 at the 2017 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Vancouver.

Okanagan College was named a Capital One Financial Education Challenge regional champion in the competition, which empowers post-secondary students to develop and deliver projects that teach relevant financial skills.

CANSave is the winning OC program that teaches elementary school students the fundamentals of financial literacy. Since January 2016, CANSave has impacted over 6,000 grade 1-3 students in 91 communities across Canada with 98 per cent of students successfully completing the program.

CANSave was also a regional champion in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge, which encourages post-secondary students to develop and deliver projects that address the needs and opportunities facing youth.

Using a simulated economy, the six-week CANSave program teaches elementary school students the fundamentals of financial literacy including budgeting, saving for the future and helping others in need.

OC’s Silver Surfers earned a nod as regional champions for the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge. The national competition empowers post-secondary students to develop and deliver projects that teach relevant entrepreneurship skills to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.

To combat feelings of loneliness and depression, Silver Surfers is a mentorship program aimed at equipping seniors with the basic functions of everyday technology to help them regularly reconnect with loved ones. Silver Surfers has empowered 96 senior citizens across five different retirement homes. Seniors surveyed after participation reported using technology to connect with loved ones 1-2 times per week. With the help of corporate partners, Enactus Okanagan will also be providing permanent iPad stations in retirement homes to ensure all seniors have access to technology.

A summary of the 2017 Enactus Canada Regional Exposition results can be viewed at enactus.ca/events/regional-expositions/western-canada.

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