As summer arrives, Cresteramics prepares to welcome a group of young people to join us. This will be our third summer to host a four-day-a-week program specifically designed for youth 15-19 years old. These youth bring energy, smiles, fun and noise to our building and we enjoy having them with us.
The purpose of the summer program is to give youth who have developmental disabilities an opportunity to become active, contributing members of their community. They will be guided to participate in recreational and social activities, volunteer in their community and learn independence skills. They will have the chance to work together as a group, learn basic employment skills and meet the people in our community who will help them in the future. The summer program also gives our community a chance to become aware of these young people — their skills, talents and support systems.
Community Living BC is the major funder of the day programs at Cresteramics. Persons must be 19 years old to receive this financial support, so we at Cresteramics have again turned to the community to make the summer program possible. Fortunately we have received enough financial support to go ahead with it. The Creston Valley Gleaners Society is assisting us as it did last year and we hope to be able to pay it forward by helping in our community like it does. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 29 generously donated to this project too. Its members know that this foot up for youth will help the youth and the community. The Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program, Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B and the Town of Creston are partners, too. Area C director Larry Binks is a Cresteramics supporter and has promised financial assistance because he has experience with persons with disabilities and knows how valuable these programs are.
You are invited to check out the Cresteramics store on Canyon Street. We have several new artists consigning their products with us. There are native flutes, handmade wooden furniture and picture frames, beautiful and practical aprons, and photo cards. Bring your out-of-town visitors shopping for made-in-Creston treasures. We are happy to be part of a busy shopping area in Creston’s downtown, with Morris Flowers, Kootenay Crates Co., the Golden Flour Bakery and the blanket maker all in a cozy area of Canyon Street.
Our Empowering our Community program continues to be very popular. It consists of members writing positive quotes or “Did you know this about Creston?” questions on pictures they have drawn and colored, or photos from Creston and surroundings. These little treasures are given out by five of our business partners in town. These partners are Creston Card and Stationery, Kootenay Employment Services, Gold N Treasures, Creative Fix and our own Cresteramics store.
Thank you to Overwaitea Foods and Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce for supplying the safety vests our members are wearing while doing their work around town. Thank you also to Legend Logos for the design and printing on our vests, and to all the businesses that paid to have their names on the vests. These high quality vests now make us safer and more visible when we are working around town keeping Creston clean and tidy. Our staff tell us that the workers often receive compliments and thank yous while sweeping, washing windows or just walking to and from jobs.
There is a common theme to what is happening at Cresteramics and in Creston. It is that these informal partnerships, acts of giving and caring are what make our community as strong as it is. Visitors coming here to do evaluations of our social programs or to be part of training situations are often in awe of how well supported our community programs are. This support comes in the form of sharing space, skills, information, materials and funds. It often comes without even being asked for. Congratulations to Creston!
Terry Nowak is a board member of the Cresteramics Society.