Neighbourhoods of Learning stays strong despite Aviva loss

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
January 26th, 2011

Results are in for the Aviva Community Fund competition and the one million dollars in funding have been awarded. Despite the massive effort by Rossland school supporters that generated over 8,000 votes for the Neighbourhoods of Learning project getting it through to the finals, however, our project was not selected for funding in the end.

  Not receiving any money from the Aviva competition is far from the end of the road for the Neighbourhoods of Learning Committee, though. The group is taking the massive outpouring of support and publicity generated through their campaign as a positive as they continue to move their efforts to maintain K-12 education in Rossland forward.   “It’s unfortunate we didn’t get the money, but we really have to focus and remember the momentum that we created during the voting process. That’s the important part: the communication that opened up in the community and how people really worked together behind the idea,” commented Ami Haworth of the NOL committee. “This funding effort didn’t work out but I think we can leverage that positive momentum moving forward with other ideas.”   Shelley Ackerman, also of the NOL committee, is also already looking ahead to next year’s competition with the hopes that there will be more stability in the local school scene by then.   “Unfortunately, we didn’t win any money this time, but this doesn’t mean the difference between whether RSS stays open or closes. We can try again next year when hopefully everything will be more concrete and the specter of closures is no longer looming.”   Overall, the competition had 11 winners receiving a portion of the one million dollar fund. Within the medium category ($25k to $100k) in which the NOL group was competing there were four winners: Playground Legacy-Celebrating a 100 Years of Community in Cedar Cottage which plans to construct a new playground at Lord Selkirk school in Vancouver, Crystal Bay Improvement project which will aim to improve the landscaping and play structures at a special education centre in Ottawa, Construction of a therapeutic garden at a seniors home in North Cleveland, Quebec and support for Dreamcoat, a theater program for grades three to eight in North Bay Ontario.   Where does the NOL project go next? They’ll keep chugging along with their recently-developed proposal to the school board of two potential scenarios to maintain K-12 education in Rossland through the NOL concept. On March 3rd the group will be holding a public meeting in the RSS gym to present a proposal and the two scenarios within it to the community. There will also be a real effort at the meeting towards educating folks about combining K-12 education under one roof, how it’s been done in other areas successfully and how it could work in Rossland. Presenters will be brought in from other areas where K-12 has been successful to share their experiences and knowledge with Rossland.   “We want to alleviate concerns as soon as possible so that we can move forward positively and pro-actively,” added Haworth.   Throughout the process that took place amid division between communities on the issue, rumours and at times heated rhetoric in the media and at public meetings the NOL group has worked to maintain their positive approach and aims to continue that as they continue on their mission.   “What we tried to do with the committee was focus on the positive and not compete with other communities and argue with other communities. We want to look at how we can all move forward together. The Aviva competition helped with that as it got a lot of people talking about the NOL concept and interested in it. It was all positive in the end. We have to be really happy with how we did,” explained Haworth. “We’re going to keep moving forward and we’re confident there will be a positive result for Rossland in the end.”

All winners of the Aviva Community Fun can be found here

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