TAPS members, staff, and volunteers hosted a Tarts and Tunes Tea fundraiser to raise funds for a new van. (Photo credit Lorne Eckersley)

TAPS members, staff, and volunteers hosted a Tarts and Tunes Tea fundraiser to raise funds for a new van. (Photo credit Lorne Eckersley)

Fundraiser boosts campaign for new TAPS bus

With $40,000 already in place to purchase a new van to transport Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors, TAPS members, staff and volunteers were in a buoyant mood last Friday.

A full house at Rotacrest Centre enjoyed musical performances at the Tarts and Tunes Tea, with a mix of the young and not so young rolling through popular sing-along tunes from decades past.

With music provided TAPS volunteers and members, Community Band musicians and the Wildflower school class, the room was filled with tunes, and the occasional “tart”, with seniors taking on, shall we say, livelier and even a little risqué personas to entertain.

Behind the good-natured performances was a more serious mission, to fulfill the need for more transportation after the TAPS bus became too costly to continue in operation.

Without that bus, fewer seniors are able to be taken grocery shopping and programming must be changed to accommodate smaller groups at various times during the day, as most people are unable to access the program without transportation. This is reducing the effectiveness and efficiency of the program.

The TAPS program operates Monday to Friday, and most participants attend 2-3 days a week. TAPS calls participants each morning to check-in with them, to see how they are doing and to arrange for transportation, if needed. The organization needs two vehicles to transport participants who live within 15 km. Activities are organized in the morning and afternoon and usually alternate between a physical activity (e.g., swimming, walking, tai chi, etc.) and an educational/creative activity (e.g., singing, computer lessons, etc.). Lunch is provided every day for a cost of $6 to participants. Anyone is able to refer someone to the TAPS program and applicants are interviewed to see if they are a fit for the program.

Three full-time staff members work for TAPS. They are supported by 16 active volunteers, who are primarily seniors themselves. There is a larger pool of an additional 20 volunteers who help at special events or other fundraising activities. TAPS gives other seniors an opportunity to volunteer and create peer connections, and training is provided once a year to volunteers, plus additional workshops.

The program provides transportation to and from the program to those seniors for whom the community transit bus cannot accommodate. Transportation is provided from Erickson to Wynndel and to Canyon/Lister. Transportation is also provided for seniors who take part in the grocery shopping program and to go on outings to other seniors’ centres.

To help TAPS purchase a new passenger van ($67,000 cost) or support the program itself, donations can be made to Valley Community Services, the operating agency. Call 250-428-5547 or email admin@valley.services for more information.