Sunday, January 21, 2007

Is KAPS, soon to be kaput?

A local service designed to help those in the most need is in danger of shutting down, feeling the effects of volunteer fatigue and the out migration of local residents.

The Kaien Anti-Poverty Society, which offers guidance and support to local residents in need is looking for more volunteers to help shoulder the load of dealing with an increasingly desperate situation in the community.

With two members of the board of directors leaving town and others overwhelmed by work commitments and school requirements the call has gone out for Rupertites to step up and help shape the society for the years to come.

They held a meeting earlier today at their McKay street location, we’ll most likely know by Monday whether there were enough Rupertites that could find the time to offer assistance.

It was a situation that had been covered extensively in our variety of local papers, both the Northern View and the Daily News carried articles on the possible closure, which we provide below.

Community group faces dissolution
By Shaun Thomas

The Northern ViewJan 17 2007

The Kaien Island Anti-poverty Society (KAPS), a community group focused on fighting poverty and assisting those in need in Prince Rupert, is facing the prospect of dissolving if members of the community don’t step forward at the January 20 annual general meeting to fill out the board. Currently the society has five board members, two of which are moving away, two of which are full time students and one of which is kept extremely busy with other commitments, and the society is looking for motivated, dedicated people to step forward to ensure KAPS lives on.

“If people don’t show up then we will do the honourable thing and close down the society properly rather than let it fade away,” said board member Vanessa Bramhill, noting that previous board members will make themselves available to help the new board.

“KAPS has so much potential and there are a lot of grants out there that can be leveraged, but we need some good people to get involved…We know there are people like this out there in Prince Rupert, we are just not sure they know of the dire circumstances we are in.”

Among the services KAPS offers are the Neighbourhood House program and the free store, which is located at 571 McKay. Volunteers at the store estimate that well over 500 people per year use the store.

The meeting is scheduled for two p.m. on January 20 at 567 McKay. Anyone who can not make the meeting but is interested in being involved can e-mail

By James Vassallo
The Daily News
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Pages one and three

A local group that has led the way in the fight against poverty during the last five years may be forced to give up on its good works by next week.

The Kaien Anti Poverty Society (KAPS) – known for providing free goods to those in need giving backpacks loaded with school supplies to disadvantaged kids and operating a safe after-school environment for many at risk youth – may be forced to close up shop because no one has stepped up to run the organization.

“In B. C. of course you can’t have a society without a board and in our case it’s a minimum of five,” said Vanessa Bramhill, a former KAPS board member who is moving out of town. “Two of our members are moving away, one is in school full time, we’ve got another one who has tons of other commitments and one who is just getting pretty burnt out.”

In light of that situation, KAPS is holding an emergency meeting 2 p. m. Saturday afternoon at 567 McKay Street in the hopes at least five local people will take on the task, which could mean as little as an hour a month of commitment.

“We need people that are not afraid to take a leadership role, to get in there a do something because KAPS has a lot of potential,” said Bramhill.

“If somebody has a vision or a drive in a certain direction it would be a really good thing for them, we just need people that have some energy in them.

“If people don’t show up, what we’re going to do is the honourable thing and close the place down properly rather than let it fade away.”

The group had put out an urgent call for board members in November, but only two people showed up to the meeting in response.

Current board members are willing to help bring along those able to assist in whatever way they can, and note a lot of the groundwork has already been put in place to make the transition as easy as possible.

“We are desperate for board members and there is a sense of urgency, but at the same time… the success of a society depends on a lot of the relationships it has and a lot of those relationships are already established,” said KAPS’ Erika Rolston, noting there’s also a marketing plan that’s been done for the group and funding in place for some of the programs.

“An ideal mixture would be people that had the skills and knowledge to run a non-profit and handle government contracts… and then other people that have motivation, time and the drive.”
In 2006, the group provided more than 300 backpacks that were filled with school supplies, nearly 100 stuffed Christmas stockings and a place to play for more than 40 children at a time in a safe, positive drop-in program located in B.C. Housing known as “The Neighbourhood House.”

The program has been so successful it has garnered interest from Port Edward, which is considering bringing the program to that community.

In addition, more than 500 people came through KAPS’ doors at the ‘Free Store’.

“It’s amazing sometimes it’s as many as 30 or 40 people (a day) picking up something or just bringing it in and looking around,” said KAPS’ Reggie Huskins, who coordinates the free store at 571 McKay.

Huskins notes the store is currently overflowing with children’s clothes for those interested.

“If they feel they don’t need it, if they can afford to buy it, they’ll leave it for the less privileged.”
Those who cannot attend the meeting Saturday and would like to become a board member, or require additional information can email or phone Rolston at 622-2413 (Afternoon ) or 624-5066 (morning).

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