These days, when a small business survives 20 years or longer, it’s a cause for celebration.
Decades of existence amid competitive times demonstrate owners obviously connecting with their target market, offering a product or service that the public demands, and likely providing service with a smile.
Equally laudable is when a non-profit organization achieves similar standing by contributing to a community’s well-being over decades, such as ASK Wellness has.
The organization celebrated its achievement with the public on Friday, hosting a barbecue at the Crossroads Inn, one of its many supportive housing projects in Kamloops.
From humble beginnings — with a half dozen employees in its early years and a focus on helping people living with HIV/AIDs or hepatitis C — to its current efforts with a $3.5-million budget and nearly 60 employees, ASK has blossomed into a well-respected organization whose importance in the community is well acknowledged.
It finds places to live for those hardest to house and, without judgment, provides support in myriad ways to people who have fallen upon hard times for various reasons. It seeks to improve the quality of life for its clients and improves the social fabric of the city through these efforts.
The current executive director, Bob Hughes, is a fierce champion for those under his care and minces no words when expressing the need for the broader community to consider the people ASK serves as part of us, rather than them.
Many, including RCMP Insp. Yves Lacasse and North Shore Business Improvement Association manager Peter Mutrie, laud Hughes and the organization for the positive changes ASK has made here.
Having ASK clients work alongside property owners and residents to beautify the North Shore has contributed to a new level of civic pride, according to Mutrie, and that attitude is something money can’t buy.
Perhaps Hughes said it best, when providing his own kudos to the community for its acceptance of those different than themselves:
“It speaks to the larger values of what it means to be a Kamloopsian. We’re tolerant and inclusive of all segments of the population and I think that’s really had an impact of how we work in the community.”
We couldn’t agree more. Happy birthday, ASK, keep up the good work!
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.