INDUSTRIAL UPDATE: Tolko’s community investment programs helping at-risk youth

Tolko Industries is putting some of its Community Investment Program funds into helping at-risk youth served by the Boys and Girls Club.

Tolko Industries is putting some of its Community Investment Program funds into helping at-risk youth served by the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District and the Nenqayni Wellness Centre Society.

“Tolko has a long history of supporting community-based charities or groups that serve the health, wellness and protection of youth,” said Tolko communications manager Don Hanson. “The idea of the program is to select a specific cause that aligns with our values and is meaningful to Tolko and identify charitable organizations and community groups in each of our communities that support the cause.”

Stefanie Hendrickson, Operations Coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club, said Tolko approached the club and offered the funding.

“They are going to be the title sponsor for our Race For Kids event, taking place Saturday, June 3,” Hendrickson said. “When we first held a Race For Kids two years ago it was a Boys and Girls Club of Canada national initiative and they had Capital One as a sponsor nationally with a five-year contract.”

When the contract ended, Boys and Girls Club of Canada gave Williams Lake’s club the choice to run the event independently without the sponsorship.

“When Tolko approached us we thought it was a great way for them to get involved,” Hendrickson said. “Some of that money will go to help with the costs associated with putting on the event.”

The funding will also go directly toward programming, particularly the club’s low cost after school childcare program which offers lots of opportunities to children age seven  to 12 for field trips, science activities, arts and crafts, games and recreational activities, she added.

“We couldn’t be more pleased about this funding. We’ve received small sponsorships before from Tolko, but certainly nothing of this calibre.”

Tolko employees will also volunteer at events such as the Race For Kids and Hendrickson hopes the company will enter a team in the race.

At Nenqayni Wellness Centre, Tolko employee volunteers will work together this year with centre youth and staff to build a playground.

“The value of this experience extends beyond the structure,” said Laura Masini Pieralli, project lead and Nenqayni family program teacher for School District 27. “It empowers youth to develop the personal growth, self-discovery, sense of purpose, accomplishment, and spirit of giving necessary to make healthy life choices.”

The benefit of building a playground, Masini Pieralli added, will reach well past the event because future families and youth who call Nenqayni their home for two to four months will enjoy the physical, mental, and social benefits of play.

“It is going to be a big beautiful playground and it’s being built by our youth coming together with a community business,” Masini Pieralli said. “Altruism has a compounding effect on happiness, and together with Tolko, we get to put a bounce in everyone’s step. Thank you, Tolko!”

Through the community investment program, Hanson said Tolko hopes to build on a legacy that increases benefits to youth and families in the communities where it operates.

“We believe our involvement can also help raise the awareness of these organizations and further assist in fundraising efforts to sustain the programs,” he said.

In 2017 Tolko will partner with and support 20 community groups or charities in its 10 operating areas in Western Canada, donating a total of $150,000 to support community groups that provide at-risk youth programs.