Over the top.
There were hugs all around as staff, volunteers and participants celebrated the conclusion of this year’s 38th annual Shaw Share a Smile Telethon at the offices of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre as the clock struck 5 p.m. Saturday.
While the unofficial number on the paper held by a small elf in front of the group read $92,525, executive director Manisha Willms is confident the final tally will be very near or above the $100,000 goal set out a the beginning of the campaign.
“ To think we made $75,000 last year that we’ve surpassed that by $20,000 is amazing,” said a jubilant Willms after lights dimmed and the cameras were off. “t just got to a different level this year, we had more auction items and I also think the smile with Otis campaign was a big part of just raising awareness.
“I don’t know for sure but it seemed like this year we just had a lot more small donations which is fantastic.”
Otis, the centre’s cuddly mascot bear prior to the telethon made the rounds of many local businesses and other community operations and had his picture taken and posted on social media to gain more attention.
“Part of our mandate is to raise awareness about paediatric rehabilitation, having people just engaged and watching and learning about what we do here is absolutely a win and the total is a fantastic,” said Willms.
The 38th annual Shaw Share a Smile telethon in support of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre is underway.
Phone lines were already buzzing as the first group of volunteers manned the two desks.
Centre executive director Manisha Willms and new host Bill Bidlake kicked off the proceeding which run until 5 p.m. in hopes of raising $100,000 which is badly needed to support the many programs.
According to Willms the need for the centre’s work with children who require developmental assistance in emotional and physical areas, is ever increasing.
Annually, clinicians see over 1,300 kids both at the centre and through the outreach programs where staff go to those who need help.
“I think given that we have larger numbers of kids who are being diagnosed with struggles, we do have more awareness. Paediatric care always resonates with people as something they should think about,” said Willms. “OSNS is expanding programs and providing more support for families when they’re concerned about just the emotional well being of their children and their children’s behaviour.
“I think that people who donate, people who get interested in causes, are more savvy these days and they’re more interested in the why of what we do. We’ve got a great why in that we provide great intervention for children when they’re little so that as they grow up, they’re not going to struggle with motor or communication skills or mental health difficulties.”
Donations can be made online at www.osns.org donate or by stopping by the centre between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday, located at #103-550 Carmi Ave.