The SOS is officially open in the former Qualicum Beach Elementary School.
The sun was shining and the mood was jubilant during a gathering outside Qualicum Commons April 15 to celebrate the official grand opening of the Society of Organized Services (SOS) at the former school.
The SOS has been offering programs to children and families at the former Qualicum Beach Elementary School since February of this year.
The non-profit organization has now secured a team of volunteers to help staff at the site, and SOS Executive Director Renate Sutherland has moved her office to the new location.
Sutherland, who welcomed guests and community partners to the celebration, acknowledged the other tenants at Qualicum Commons, as well as the many volunteers who have already started helping out at the new location.
School District 69 Board Chair Eve Flynn spoke on behalf of the school district and said it was exciting to see the repurposed building now brimming with activities for everyone in the community.
Coun. Neil Horner, who spoke on behalf of Qualicum Beach town council, stated that although nobody wanted to see the elementary school closed, the community “turned lemons into lemonade.”
He pointed out that the building is now a bustling new community hub which is a positive thing for all residents.
SOS Board Chair Cory McIntosh revealed the programs that are currently running at the SOS Child, Youth and Family Centre, and how they are already meeting the social needs of Qualicum Beach citizens.
After the speeches, the speakers cut the ribbon, which was eagerly held by three-year-old triplets Sophia, Cole and Ryder Christison, who attended the SOS Preschoolers On The Move program earlier that day.
People then headed inside the SOS Child, Youth and Family Centre for snacks and refreshments provided by Quality Foods, and a tour of the facilities.
The SOS started offering free programs in Qualicum Beach in February but hopes to expand that down the road once they seek out new collaborations and avenues of funding.
The SOS currently offers over 30 free programs to residents of all ages in School District 69, funded by community donations and its Thrift Shop in Parksville.
To learn more about SOS programs in both Qualicum Beach and Parksville visit the website www.sosd69.com or call 250-248-2093.
To call the SOS Child, Youth and Family Centre in Qualicum Beach call 250-752-2040.