Mandy Rajtschan, after-school program worker at the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club's Webber Road Centre, gives Taylor Laplante, 8 a push on the swing.
A single mother of two, Laplante works full-time and relies on the club's Webber Road Community Centre to look after her younger son Taylor after school. He doesn't see his dad, so spending time with one of men leading the care program is critical, she said.
"He goes to the club and hangs out with Darryl, one of the adults there. Darryl has been there since my older one was little. It's a good positive impact on my son's life . . . He gets some male influence.
"He's so good with the kids. The kids love him."
Laplante, 32, has spent most of her life in the Central Okanagan. She's an administrative assistant for Falcon Refrigeration and works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
She relies on her mom to take Taylor and Brayden, 12, to school, and picks up Taylor, 8, from the community centre at 5:30 p.m.
Sometimes Taylor gets to play floor hockey with the Westside Warriors. The kids do crafts, cook and play games.
"He loves playing pool there. He really wants a pool table. I said Santa can't bring it in his sled," she said with a chuckle.
The boys sometimes go together to the movie-and-swim nights at the Johnson-Bentley pool on Fridays. Brayden has been going since he was 7.
The club organizes drop-in activities in the summer. Staff take the kids on exploration hikes, having them look for bugs and types of trees.
Laplante earns a regular paycheque, but there's not much left after paying the rent and the bills. For the first time, the club asked her if she wanted a Christmas hamper this year, and she accepted.
She doesn't know what to expect, but it's OK. The Boys and Girls Club has done a lot for her family already.
"They're an important part of a neighbourhood for all kids. They provide a positive impact. It's a safe place to go and be kids and have fun," Laplante said.
You can Be an Angel by donating at The Daily Courier, online at kelownadailycourier.ca or at any branch of Valley First Credit Union.The campaign supports Okanagan food banks and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.
Following are recent donors to the Be an Angel campaign:
Tom & Wendy Paterson $75
George & Liz Talarczyk $100
Rogers' Family Charitable Trust $500
Maureen McIntyre $100
Al and Lorraine $50
Charlie & Wendy Crawford $250
Redline Bobcat Services Ltd. $100
Kelowna Rockets $1,500
Dave & Marlene Johnston $300
Harry and Peggy Bensler $200
Randy Golinowsky and Kaaaly Levan $200
THOMAS ALAN BUDD FOUNDATION TOTAL 4,821.25
Total to date: $27,974