During this giving season, we ask for your consideration to remember the Windermere Valley Youth Centre Society in your donation requests. Here is why we need your help.

For over 20 years, the Windermere Valley Youth Centre Society has operated the Summit Centre, a drop-in centre for youth ages 12 to 18.

In the last two years, we have seen a very dramatic increase in usage of the centre from youth across the valley. We average upwards of 150 to 200-plus visits per month. For safety we must have two adult youth workers on staff at all open times when youth are present. We currently offer service five days per week, Tuesday to Saturday for a total of 23 hours.

We have had several youth write letters to the board of directors, pleading for us to open immediately following school at 3:30 p.m. so they do not have to stand in the cold or mill about town until our opening at 5 p.m. We currently have several youth waiting at the door for us to open.

Our funding for staffing primarily comes from two sources. The BC Gaming Grant, for which we are very grateful, supplied approximately 30 per cent of previous years needs. Private donations over the past year covered the remainder. The largest portion of our private donations has come from second homeowners and we are so thankful for their generosity.

Due to the increase in usage and programming, our staffing requirements have also increased by 30 per cent, leaving a large amount of funding to fill. Our goal is to raise an additional $15,000 by midnight on December 31st, 2014.

Will you join me in helping fund the most precious resource: our staff?

A cheque could be mailed to us at Box 133, Invermere, B.C. V0A 1K5 or dropped off at our office upstairs at the Invermere Community Hall, or on our website using the donation button for Canada Helps. All amounts help.

If a financial donation is not possible or if you prefer, we can always use the help of volunteers. Perhaps you would like to volunteer two hours of your time per week to open our doors earlier.

May you have many blessed times with your family this season.

Sherry Doerr