Starbright staff members Karina Frisque (left)

Starbright helping young children in Kelowna with developmental disorders

For 60 years, Starbright Children's Development Centre has been helping children as they develop the skills needed for school

Since 1956, Starbright Children’s Development Centre has been providing an important service to young children in the Okanagan.

Although Starbright, as it’s now called, has undergone several name changes in the 60 years since it started, the non-profit organization’s objective of helping children with developmental disabilities has never changed.

Originally formed by a group of parents and paediatricians to give children with cerebral palsy an alternative to travelling to Vancouver for assistance, Starbright has grown to include all types of developmental disorders. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists all work with children both at the Starbright facility and at their homes to assist with their early childhood development.

Starbright helps children from the time they are born until they begin attending school, and has a coverage area of Oyama to Peachland. As a non-profit organization, Starbright relies entirely on funding, provided mostly by the province, to operate. Although the need for Starbright’s services has grown as the population of the Okanagan has grown, Starbright and other organizations like it haven’t received an increase in provincial funding since 2008.

“Central Okanagan Foundation came to our rescue in such a big way,” executive director Rhonda Nelson said. “With the ministerial grants, a very small portion can be used for administration and the operation of the whole building. The rest is used for salaries, and we can’t use more than what the ministry says.”

The need for COF’s funding came in August, when Nelson and the other staff at Starbright learned their server didn’t have much longer before it would ‘die’. The bill for a new server was $15,000, and due to provincial regulations they weren’t allowed to reallocate their provincial funding into their operations budget to pay for the needed replacement.

“For our organization if we don’t have the technology it shuts us down, because all of our staff have to enter stats into a program that the ministry accesses so we are accountable,” Nelson said. “So we would not be able to enter child information, the case notes, the recommendations and heaven forbid we should lose any client information.”

Central Okanagan Foundation stepped up with the funding required for a new server, and Starbright was able to seamlessly transition to a new server without having a disruption in their ability to help the children they work with.

Starbright does have a fund within COF that provides them with an annual dividend from any donations made through it. The dividend helps pay for other operational needs they have they can’t do themselves, such as any plumbing or electrical work they would need done. Nelson noted donating to the fund is a great way to help support the development of disabled children in the region, and it can easily be done by simply contacting Central Okanagan Foundation.

 

Just Posted

Imagine Kelowna’s future this week

Four community meetings will take place on the future of the city

Accidents mount as snow falls

Kelowna drivers are having a tough time with worsening conditions

Kelowna’s global awareness festival set to go

Festival organizers get $22,800 grant from federal government to help stage this year’s events

Bus slams into truck at Kelowna intersection

A transit bus and a pick-up truck came together in the noon hour in Kelowna

Downtown Kelowna shopping mall getting face lift

The Towne Centre Mall on Bernard will be renamed and renovated inside and out

Scandia Jungle mini golf course reopening

Kelowna - Rutland Elementary students were the first ones to try the revamped course Tuesday

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberals get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Letter: Dictatorships don’t happen by accident

Kelowna letter-writer says people following Donald Trump are enabling him

Team chaplain reflects on time with Silverbacks

Kenny Toews served as a mentor and spiritual leader to the team for six seasons

Drawings connect autistic student with the world

Leifen Mitchell-Banks creates colourful cartoon characters at Salmon Arm Secondary.

Lake Country skier named Olympic alternate

Ian Deans will be a back up for the men’s ski cross team in South Korea

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close, union says

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Most Read