West Kelowna woman goes behind the lens to raise money for youth recovery house

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West Kelowna Photographer uses skills to raise money for youth recovery house – Oct 3, 2019

Some people say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and one West Kelowna woman is putting that theory to the test as she fundraises for a youth recovery house.

“The Socially Anxious People Person is a project I designed to accomplish two main goals I had for myself at the time,” said Nicole Richard, founder of the project.

“One was to get over social anxiety. The other main goal was to give back to the community in a really tangible way. I wanted to give something to the youth in the community who might be experiencing mental illness.”

In 21 weeks Richard has released 21 photos of people in the community, each portrait inspiring others to donate money for the Bridge Youth and Family Services and the building of a youth recovery house. Richard has already raised almost $10,000, a small dent in her goal of raising $90,000.

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“To see people are giving and people are engaged and its working, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Richard said.

The Bridge youth recovery house has not yet been built but when completed, it may contain as many as 16 rooms to help young people whose addiction is life-threatening.

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“The focus for us is really working with these young people before their addiction becomes so entrenched they aren’t able to change it,” said Celine Thompson, The Bridge Youth and Family Services executive director.

“It’s really tough to have an addiction for 30 years and then try to change it. Our aim is to work with these young people while they are still developing and they can really learn to live and cope and different ways. We will follow them after they graduate to make sure they live the best lives that they can.”

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For this week’s photography subject, the cause is close to the heart.

“Look further into the people, the stories behind the portraits because everybody’s got a story.

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“For our family personally, we struggled with addiction for 10 years. So we know that that looks like and know how hard it is to find the support,” said April Martin, PurKids Foundation executive director.

“The journey for our family – we were very lucky with our outcome, some families are not as lucky as we are.”

To view the full library of photos, learn the story behind them or donate visit

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