Bollywood Gala raises $97,455 in support of YMCA of Okanagan

The Gopal Family’s Bollywood Gala Fundraiser, presented by CapriCMW, took place last weekend, raising an astonishing $97,455! The sold-out gala’s event proceeds will directly benefit two of the YMCA of Okanagan’s programs for high risk populations, Beyond the Bell and the Young Parent Program, both aimed at changing lives for local youth.

“The YMCA’s Beyond the Bell is an after-school program offered at George Pringle Elementary school, providing academic and social supports to at-risk children who are struggling in school,” says Sharon Peterson, YMCA of Okanagan CEO. “The Young Parent Program gives teenage parents, many facing housing, mental health, and education barriers, the support and resources needed to graduate and raise their children. Both programs are made possible due to the generosity of donors and we couldn’t be more incredibly grateful to the Gopal Family, and everyone involved for making the Gala the huge success it was, and ultimately helping to break the cycle of poverty these young people might otherwise face.”

The event was supported by: CapriCMW, Sheldon and Shauna Gardiner Foundation, The Industra Group, Valley First Credit Union, Innov8 Digital Solutions, Mission Hill Winery, St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery, and many, many more.

“We are truly overwhelmed at the support Kelowna showed for this incredible cause,” says Amy Gopal, who is also a YMCA Board Director. “We sometimes overlook the daily struggles our youth face - from judgment and stigmatization, to battling mental health issues, dealing with learning disabilities and lacking support systems - all of which contribute to a quality of life that keeps them from thriving. The programs at the YMCA aim to help our youth overcome these challenges and give them a sense of belonging and value so they have the hope and confidence to achieve their goals and dreams. Because of the generosity and hard work of our Gala committee members, community, and sponsors, we are able to make a positive impact in the lives of these youth and hopefully ease some of those burdens.”

Councillor Loyal Woolridge and husband Ian Roth also attended and spoke at the Gala.

“We know the social challenges we face today stem from trauma in the developmental years of vulnerable youth,” Woolridge states. “The YMCA embodies equity: to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to stand at the same level, regardless of socio-economic status. Programs offered for youth and single parents provide safety net services to give a hand up out of poverty. This is key in enabling people to see their own potentiality and allow space and skills to better their lives long term. My husband Ian and I are proud supporters of the YMCA because we believe in the power of youth. The programs offered by the Y promote an inclusive and diverse community, of which we are very passionate about.”

About the Bollywood Gala

The Gala began 5 years ago to raise funds for early cancer detection equipment. The Gopal Family has continued to host the event and over the past 4 years and has created incredible impact for the community. Over $400,000 has been raised for various local causes including the BC Cancer Foundation, Karis Support Society, Rotary Club of Kelowna and YMCA of Okanagan. 

To get on the list for next year’s Gala, email BollywoodGala@outlook.com