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The carnival hits the road: a George Pearson Centre celebration


Above photo: George Pearson Centre staff members and VCH staff volunteers celebrate another successful carnival.

What do photo booths, prize tickets and cotton candy have in common? Another Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) carnival, of course!

It started small, and quickly grew into one of the most anticipated events of the summer – an idea to create accessible fairground games in an effort to bring joy to long-term care residents and their families across VCH. After months of planning in collaboration with Facilities Maintenance & Operations (FMO), Business Initiative and Support Services (BISS), staff and volunteers, the first carnival took place at Banfield Pavilion in August. 

Now, the carnival has been picked up by another VCH long-term residential care team – this time, at George Pearson Centre (GPC).

“New ideas like this keep it fresh"

The afternoon of Thursday, November 15th, staff, volunteers and FMO team members came together to deliver an interactive carnival experience for over half of the 150 GPC residents and their families.

“It exceeded my expectations of how many people would come out," says Ron Stedman, supervisor of Recreation Therapy. “Usually we get 20 to 30 residents, but this time it was double that."

When Ron heard about the carnival and helped spread the word, colleagues from all disciplines offered to volunteer their time, allowing for one-to-one assistance for many of the GPC residents with physical limitations.

“It's something new that we've never done before," he says. "It really encourages family and friends to come out and participate."

Six of the original 12 carnival games built by FMO team members, including the popular Shooting Gallery and Plinko board, were set up for residents in GPC's brightly decorated recreation room. Returning FMO volunteers were there to help, and were already thinking up ideas to improve game accessibility for future carnivals. 

Members of the Vancouver Mountainview Rotary Club, including FMO locksmith Chris Loredo, were also ready to help modify the games and ensure everyone left with plenty of tickets to claim at the prize table.

“It's amazing to see them like this and being so happy," says Chris. “It's all about giving back to the community."

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