Mission Possible is a non-profit organization and social enterprise located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Since 1992, Mission Possible has supported individuals challenged by homelessness, poverty, addiction and other barriers to employment. Through its employment readiness program and social enterprises, the firm is transforming lives by helping people experience a sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work.
One such person was Janet Keitlah, who came to Mission Possible searching for employment support. A member of the Nuu-chahnulth First Nation on Vancouver Island, Keitlah found herself living in the city’s poorest area. She came to the East Hastings office feeling unemployable, too old to re-enter the workforce. Depressed with very little confidence, Keitlah credits Mission Possible for her turnaround.
With the organization’s help, she was hired as a dishwasher. That job would turn into a cooking position preparing breakfast and lunch for hundreds of people. After two years, Keitlah faced a new challenge, a new opportunity working with Regional Recycling.
Admitting the first few weeks were incredibly hard — she cried many times at night questioning whether she could do it — Keitlah focused on what she learned during her time at Mission Possible and found the courage and confidence to succeed.
“I am employable and that has changed everything for me,” said Keitlah, speaking at Mission Possible’s annual gala with her proud son and employer in the front row.
Keitlah along with fellow alumni Christina Traxler, Loretta Wielgosh and Michael Fraser were feted at Mission Possible’s annual fundraiser and awards ceremony. Recipient of the Momentum Award for her incredible strength and tenacity to succeed, Keitlah received the award from Mission Possible CEO Matthew Smedley.
Hosted by radio personalities Nat Hunter and Drew Savage, more than 300 guests convened for the 10th annual dinner and auction — a masquerade-themed affair — at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Together, attendees and sponsors helped unmask $190,000 for Mission Possible to continue its important work in one of the country’s poorest and most challenging neighbourhoods.
Since 1959 Reach Child & Youth Development Society has been helping children with special needs reach their full potential providing programs and services for the Delta, Surrey and Langley areas. Annually the agency serves more than a thousand children and their families.
The society was the beneficiary of the second annual Taste of Reach fundraiser hosted at Tasty Indian Bistro in conjunction with the restaurant’s Vancouver grand opening.
The original Tasty is located in Delta.
Yours truly emceed the delicious event — a fun-filled night in Yaletown that featured the restaurant’s gourmet Indian cuisine paired with craft beer and fine wine and a spirited live auction of unique one of a kind experiences, including a chef ’s table dinner hosted by owner Inder
Saini, a loyal Reach Society supporter, in his newly christened room. More than 150 guests packed the stylish high-end restaurant for the evening of fine food and fundraising.
Moving stories from families whose children benefited from Reach services and programs sparkplugged the night of charitable giving. They included Somi Benning, whose young son was supported by Reach.
A new parent, one of her twin sons suffered complications at birth and was behind developmentally, Benning shared with the capacity crowd.
Reach therapists started working with him. For Benning and her husband, the support was immeasurable.
“No one really prepares you when things don’t go well with a new birth and you have a child who needs support,” she says. With Reach’s help, her son was going to be OK. “He caught up to his brother with his skills and abilities and both are happy boys.”
Appreciative of the support and resources her son received through Reach’s early intervention program, Benning is giving back, joining the Reach foundation board.
Before desert was served over $90,000 was raised, more than doubling last year’s inaugural haul.
Among the notables lending their support : Delta mayor George Harvie, Delta councillors Dylan Kruger and Alisha Guichon , MLAs Ravi Kahlon and Ian Paton,
Advantage Lithium’s David Sidoo, AllWest Insurance’s Paul Zalesky, BM Group of Companies Milan Mann, Binning Enterprises Niv Benning and the Dilawri Group’s Ajay
Dilawri — the night’s presenting sponsor.
Gary Leseur and Pam Vidalin were among 300 masqueraders who filled the Hyatt Regency Ballroom for the Mission Possible fundraiser.
Town Hall Brands’ Leeann Froese and Andrew von Rosen’s treasure chest of fine Amarone della Valpolicella Classico wine donated to the live auction was a major hit with partygoers.
Mission Possible CEO Matthew Smedley and his wife Kadee were all smiles after $190,000 was raised for the organization’s efforts to help Downtown Eastside residents challenged by poverty and homelessness.
Radio personalities Nat Hunter and Drew Savage steered the 10th annual Mission Possible Gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
On hand to see Janet Keitlah feted for her courage and determination to overcome barriers and find success were her son Jordan Guy and her employers Brook Lotzkar and Jason Smith of Regional Recycling.
Oakwyn realtor Samantha Kwong and her husband David Khuu were among the 300 strong who came out and helped raise a record haul for Mission Possible.
Reach Child and Youth Development Society was the beneficiary of restaurant owner Inder Saini’s grand opening party, sponsored by Allwest Insurance’s Paul Zalesky.
Reach board members Denis Horgan, Carmel Tang and Bob Mann enjoyed a night of fine dining and fundraising at Tasty Indian Bistro in Yaletown.
Pioneer Pallet & Lumber principal Dave Uppal and his wife Jas flank Delta chiropractor Dr. Sereena Uppal. The three were among a capacity crowd that came together to help open Tasty Indian Bistro officially and raise funds for Reach Child and Youth Development Society.
Reach Child and Youth Development Society’s Alison Martin, Renie D’Aquila and Kristin Bibbs thank attendees for their generous outpouring of support: $90,000 was raised to help children with special needs in the Delta, Surrey and Langley areas reach their fullest potential.
Among the many benefactors supporting Reach were Harman Basutta of Tasty Indian Bistro, Milan Mann from BM Group of Companies and Niv Binning of Binning Enterprises Ltd.
Somi Benning’s son was supported by Reach. She now pays it forward and is a member of the Reach board.
Delta city councillor Dylan Kruger and mayor George Harvie were among city officials at the fundraiser.