University students, currently employed by the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre, have taken it upon themselves to hold a bottle drive on Saturday June 30, in Saywell Park from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
These students, Jessica Sandhu and Susanne Tardiff, say they are doing this bottle drive so they are able to keep their jobs over the summer.
The chamber needs at least $6,528 to cover minimum wages for two students for eight weeks of employment. To cover taxes, CPP, employment insurance, or vacation pay, the chamber will also need an extra $783.66.
Visitor Centre coordinator Katherine Worsley, and chamber president Rita Dustow recently learned that for the third year in a row the chamber will not receive any funding through the federal governments Summer Jobs Program.
Worsley says that none of the visitor centres in the Cowichan Valley received funding this year.
The last time the Visitor Centre received funding was in 2009, for $2,200. Worsley says that this amount was only enough to cover hiring one high school student at the lowest rate.
Over the last few years the chamber has had to subsidize its student employees.
The chamber serves over 20,000 visitors per year, with 10,000 of these visitors being during the summer months.
Student employees perform many different tasks and fill many different roles for the centre. Working with Worsley and the board of directors, students have created an area map, area brochure, post cards, and a Pacific Marine Circle Route Power Point presentation.
Students also update the events calendar, help with the weekly newsletter, fill brochure display racks, and place orders for more from businesses throughout the region, and much, much more. And that’s all besides answering the questions of visitors, both in person and over the phone, on a daily basis.
Many of these tasks help students to develop skills that are transferable to real world jobs once they have completed university.
The bottle drive is not the only way in which local residents can help Sandhu and Tardiff keep their jobs with the centre. On July 8, and 22, they will be in front of Country Grocer selling hot dogs and soft drinks from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Country Grocer is supplying all the hot dogs, buns, condiments, and refreshments, as well as the tent.
Help support these students and their desire to stay in the community this summer, doing a job they are passionate about and loyal to. Bring your bottles to Saywell Park on June 30, and your hungry bellies to Country Grocer on July 8, and 22.
For more information, call the Visitor Centre at 250-749-3244.