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Blog

Our Year in Review

June 22, 2023

Time flew by this year. We look back at an eventful year at The Circle Education. Many wonderful things happened, and with the school year coming to an end, we want to take you through some of the highlights.

Pass it On Girls, with facilitators Kate Nash and Kk Labis, started up again in September for the thirteenth year. This year we had approximately twenty mentors from the older grades, who were paired up with twelve Grade 8 buddies. It was definitely a highlight to re-introduce the buddy component after a 3-year hiatus during the covid years.  The group was very cohesive which made it possible to explore topics with more depth and meaning.

For the second year, our Pass it On Boys program took place at Bullock Lake Farm. We had seventeen participants this year who all showed up weekly for important discussions, games, activities, and fun adventures outside the farm, all in the spirit of developing self-confidence, building empathy, and fostering positive relationships.  They hiked up mountains, plunged into the cold ocean, and for the last session, facilitators Zack Hemstreet and Eland Bronstein, took the boys for a boat trip to Wallace Island.

For International Women’s Day, The Circle Education and IWAV teamed up with the Salt Spring Film Festival.  Staff, board members and volunteers of all three organizations picked their favourite movies about inspiring women and/or with a strong female lead, to celebrate the theme of Embracing Equity.   

Our end-of-the-year appeal/Giving Tuesday 2022 was a hit, raising $13,877 for our in- and after-school programs. We are grateful for all the returning donors and happy to welcome new ones!

In December we left behind our old office and moved to 100-125B Rainbow Road. Our new office is located right across from Salt Spring Elementary and within walking distance from the high school, the perfect location for our organization. Our open house was in February, and we were delighted to see so many of you come in to meet us and check out our small but cozy space.

From our open house, we rolled into our Purses with Purpose online auction. We auctioned off almost ninety purses, handbags and satchels, thanks to many of you who donated gently-used and new purses and/or bid on the purses. We raised more than $5000 in total.

 In April we launched our first-ever Party Awareness Week. By sponsoring Island’s Health P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) Program at GISS and by sharing articles about the ‘party culture’ on Salt Spring Island, we wanted to give attention to the harmful risks youth could face while growing up in a small, rural community. An article with our board member Olivia Hayne, who lost her brother Alistair in a shooting accident in 2017, was printed in the Driftwood, and a story about the party culture was published on the Salt Spring Exchange.

Our in- and after-school programs all wrapped up in May & June. Kate Nash and Kk Labis visited nine schools this year, reaching more than 675 students on Salt Spring Island, Pender, Mayne, Galiano and Saturna, to deliver the Respect and Empathy Programs. It is great to see that we are reaching more kids every year, helping them set up to be well-rounded adults in the future.    

Last but not least, several third parties surprised us with fundraisers for our organization this school year. We would like to give a big shout-out to the Salt Spring Sneakers, friends and family of Jennifer Quesnel, Riley Barr and Mayne Island School for raising money for The Circle Education!   

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