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VernonMembers of CUPE Local 5523 Vernon Schools have a long history of being generous donors to community organizations. With their latest donation they also want to demonstrate just how much they believe in their role as partners in education and in equity within the district .”

This year the local, comprised of Vernon school employees who provide support services from clerical and special needs to janitorial, maintenance and bus drivers and everything in between, intends to direct some of that donation money to neighbourhood schools that may not have highly active parent advisory committees (PAC). The purpose of CUPEs donation at this time is to support fundraising efforts for the purchase and installation of playground equipment in Vernon schools that may be less affluent.

The schools we have chosen to support with this donation do not have large volunteer parent groups. Single parent families or those in which both parents work sometimes makes being involved in an additional committee above and beyond, says Mark Olsen, president of local 5523. In addition, CUPE had already offered to work on the installation of playground equipment in all Vernon schools alongside parents and other legal age volunteers, despite rumours to the contrary.

The rates for using school staff has been proven to be considerably less than what companies or private contractors propose charging for the same work, says Olsen. And we are delighted to be part of it.

Vernons PAC groups do excellent work, says Olsen. By making this donation to schools in less affluent parts of our community we might even start a trend to encourage broader support to areas that need it.

In addition, says the local president, we wanted to put some of our annual donation money back into our own school system and what better way to do it than to support efforts in places where fundraising is always much more difficult.

Since 1988 CUPE Local 5523 has donated several annual $500 scholarships to local high school students. In addition another annual $500 donation is made to both the Run For The Cure and Do it for Dad cancer prevention campaigns, the Salvation Army and Santas Toy Club. Adding Vernon schools to our list is the latest project that CUPE members are proud to sponsor.

Donation money comes from funds collected for union dues and the locals administration. By giving something of what they earn back to the community CUPE locals are aiming to highlight their central role in the community.

In addition, CUPE members are very active in other aspects of community life from coaching baseball and leading girl guide troops to services clubs and church groups.


Mark Olsen, President Local 5523, 250-308-8360