Mardi Gras benefits youth projects

Rotary Club of Oak Bay event raises more than $21,500

Rotarian Lorna Curtis was one of those to enjoy the Rotary Club of Oak Bay’s successful Mardi Gras Madness.

Rotarian Lorna Curtis was one of those to enjoy the Rotary Club of Oak Bay’s successful Mardi Gras Madness.

Masked mayhem at Monterey proved to be a rousing success recently for the Rotary Club of Oak Bay.

Their annual evening dinner, a Mardi Gras theme, raised more than $21,500. Over the past six years, similar events have raised nearly $126,000. Of that, $50,000 will be put towards the new Oak Bay High School’s neighbourhood learning centre and the rest for youth-related projects in Greater Victoria.

“The participation of the Oak Bay community and the Greater Victoria community is really what has made us so successful,” said Rotarian Joan Firkins, past district governor. “We’ve been doing this for six years and we keep going back to the well and all those people do it for us every year.”

More than 80 businesses and organizations from Greater Victoria contributed, including the municipality of Oak Bay, its Parks and Recreation Commission and members of the Interact Club of Oak Bay High School.

“If we weren’t able to count on their support we might not be so successful,” said Firkins, chair of the event. “It’s supposed to be a neighbourhood event and I think we’ve been able to keep it that way.”

About 200 revellers attended the Rotary Club of Oak Bay’s annual fundraising dinner at the Monterey Recreation Centre, a traditional New Orleans dinner followed by a live auction.

“It’s an international organization so we do humanitarian work in developing countries and then the other side of it is the community side,” Firkins said.

 

Over the past decade the Oak Bay club has raised an average of $25,000 a year to support local community and youth literacy programs and a matching $25,000 to support international humanitarian programs. Local contributions include funding Carnarvon Water Park, the Oak Bay Teen Centre, Oak Bay Interact Club, youth leadership, Habitat for Humanity, Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation, Mustard Seed, George Jay Elementary, Quadra Elementary and MacAulay School’s literacy programs and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. On the international front, the club has supported projects in Malawi, Guatemala, Rwanda, Mexico, East Timor, India and several other countries.