The ASK Wellness Society would like to acknowledge that our programs and facilities operate on Secwepemcúl'ecw, Nłeʔkepmx Tmíxʷ, and Syilx tmixʷ traditional and unceded territories.

On a sunny day in Kamloops, BC, the green expanses of Pioneer Park buzzed not only with the whispers of leaves, but with the vibrant energy of teamwork and fun. ASK Wellness Society, an organization synonymous with community growth and support, played host to an incredible team-building event that took the form of Kamloops’ very own Amazing Race.

Eight spirited teams embarked on a grand adventure, leveraging their wit, agility, and teamwork to decipher clues as they raced through Kamloops' picturesque landscapes to various checkpoints. Each clue brought them closer to the finish line, but not without challenging them to embody the Society’s values of adaptation, inclusivity, trust, compassion, and hope - values that are the cornerstone of ASK Wellness Society’s philosophy.

The Journey

The exciting journey kick-started with “Something about Mary,” where teams were greeted by Mary, a team member who held the golden thread to their next destination at the Maverick Supportive Recovery and Career Development Centre. Fashioned as “hunting”, teams showcased their archery skills by shooting a bow and arrow at balloon targets. Each balloon held a question about the Maverick or about Indigenous history and culture. By answering the question correctly, teams were routed to the Yew Street Food Hall.

More Than Just a Race

The event was not just a test of speed but a celebration of community, a value deeply ingrained in ASK Wellness Society's mission. Once at Yew Street Food Hall, a series of cryptic pictures led people towards Harvest Moon Bakery, where a box of donated treats was given to each team. The teams dropped off the goodies at Kamloops Immigration Services, where they learned common greetings across various languages. This leg of the race allowed people the opportunity to learn about the essential services provided to new Canadians, while embracing the spirit of inclusivity and unity that Canada is known for.

A hilarious Diaper Relay awaited teams at the next stop, and while humorous, it highlighted the importance of early support through the Baby’s Head Start program, operated by Interior Community Services (ICS). Teams laughed, cheered, and exhibited fantastic team spirit as they raced to dress baby mannequins in a relay that symbolized the nurturing environment that the program fosters.

The teams then found themselves stepping back in time at St. Andrews on the Square, one of the oldest public buildings in Kamloops, enriching their journey with a touch of history. Here, they faced a creative obstacle course that demanded coordination and strategizing, truly exemplifying the essence of teamwork.

A Finale Filled with Reflection and Joy

As the race neared its end, the teams reached Riverside Park, where they were welcomed by the vibrant hues of the rose garden on the west end of the park. It was here that they took a moment to reflect on how they had embraced ASK Wellness Society’s core values throughout the race - a heartwarming pause that fostered deeper connections and enriched their understanding of community values.

Finally, the grand finale awaited at the water park, where laughter echoed as every member, including ASK Wellness Society’s Executive Officer, Bob Hughes, and event organizer, Cher Doolan, took a joyous slide down the waterslide in their regular clothing. It was a finale filled with laughter, a splash of water, and a celebration of togetherness, symbolizing the unity and fun that is central to ASK Wellness Society’s community ethos.

ASK Wellness Society Culture

During the week prior, the amazing staff in the Merritt programs raced through similar obstacles and solved riddles catered to their community. As we look back at these phenomenal days of team-building, camaraderie, and joyous celebrations, we reflect on what it is like to work at ASK, where you become a part of an organization that fosters fun and connection. While at times, the work of the incredible staff can be challenging, every day is a step towards building a healthier, inclusive, and vibrant community.

If you are interested in becoming a part of ASK Wellness Society, where we focus not only work, but also growing, learning, and celebrating together, then please check out our careers page. Let’s continue to foster a community where everyone is welcome, with hope and compassion driving us forward as a team.

And to the participants - thank you for the vibrant energy that you brought to the races!


“The Confluence” at 346 Campbell Avenue, Kamloops, BC 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Sheet 

ASK Wellness Society, in partnership with BC Housing and the City of Kamloops, is proud to announce plans to construct 80 affordable homes located at 346 Campbell Avenue. 

Suite Breakdown: 

Building design details are provided above as a guide and are subject to change

What kind of housing?

The building will provide affordable housing for families and seniors with low to moderate incomes. Each home will have its own balcony, kitchen, and bathroom.

Why “The Confluence”?

Confluence: “a flowing together. In a literal sense, it is about rivers, but is more often used to talk about the coming together of factors, ideas, or cultures in a diverse city.” This name was chosen as we aim for the Confluence to be a building that brings together a diverse range of seniors and families, while also paying tribute to the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc lands and rivers.

When will construction start and when will the building open?

ASK Wellness Society and BC Housing are currently finalizing building design details and funding. BC Housing submitted a development permit application to the City with a preliminary building design on February 28th, 2023. Once all details are finalized, construction will begin.

The building design details and construction dates are preliminary and subject to change.

Who will be building The Confluence?

ASK Wellness Society and BC Housing have selected D and T Developments, a local, female owned-and-operated development company to build this new apartment building. The architect is Station One.

How is this building different from other ASK Wellness Society housing facilities?

ASK Wellness Society owns and operates over 300 units of housing in Kamloops, providing housing to people across the housing spectrum. The Confluence will provide affordable homes to families and seniors on low to moderate incomes. ASK Wellness Society has been providing affordable housing for families and seniors in the region for the past five years.

How was ASK Wellness Society selected to own and operate this development?

BC Housing issued a province-wide request for proposals in the winter of 2021 to the non- profit sector to submit applications for the construction and management of new affordable housing, under the Community Housing Fund. ASK Wellness Society’s submission for an 80-unit

building was successful.

Where is the development happening?

The Confluence will be built at 346 Campbell Avenue, Kamloops. ASK Wellness Society, in partnership with BC Housing, is under contract to purchase the 346 Campbell Avenue property from the City of Kamloops.

How will the project be funded?

ASK Wellness Society will receive funding to construct the building from BC Housing through the Community Housing Fund, once details are finalized.

About the operator.

ASK Wellness Society is a charitable not-for-profit housing and health organization that has operated in Kamloops for over 30 years. The Society operates over 700 housing units in the Interior of BC, including supportive housing, seniors housing, and family housing.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

Please reach out to ASK Wellness Society directly at or at 250 299 2262.

BC Housing is also developing an interactive Let’s Talk Page which will be available at beginning in March 2023.

I was previously working for lawyers, and I have always wanted to get into a society that helps others. I have personal experience and I am very compassionate.

I feel that I have a purpose. The team I work directly with is amazing. The feeling I get with working for ASK Wellness Society is positive change.

The amount of services and programs that are within the Society. It is amazing how much it has grown in only the 3 months I have worked here.

I absolutely love movies. I am always on the hunt for hidden gems. Snowboarding is a second hobby of mine. I try to get out as much as I can with friends for hikes and outdoor activities.

My cats! I love them to death.

I am a certified Veterinary Assistant. I love animals. Unfortunately, my love for them is too strong, so I cannot do that as a full time job. I used to volunteer at Raps cat sanctuary in Richmond, BC to cuddle, feed and cleanup after over 600 cats who are there to live out the rest of their lives.

Thank you for all your hard work and support to our department, Lenaia! You have been a wonderful addition to the team!


An agency or company’s values help direct every person on the team towards a common goal and remind everyone of a shared bigger purpose. At ASK Wellness Society, we are proud to say that the core values of our employees and board members strongly align with those of the Society. This week, we will share those five values to help others understand what guides our services.

ADAPTATION: a way of adjusting to different conditions or uses, or to meet different situations.

This value was recently added during the creation of the Society’s new strategic plan. During times of complexity and uncertainty, we embrace new approaches and aim to be a learning organization.

INCLUSIVITY: the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.

ASK believes that inclusivity is a defining feature of a healthy community. We acknowledge the disproportionate impact of harm to certain marginalized groups, whether that be due to having a physical or intellectual disability, belonging to a minority group, experiencing poverty, or any other individual or cultural reality. We aim to help provide people with the most basic human rights and resources, such as access to housing and access to health services.

TRUST: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

We truly believe that trust is at the heart of community, both in ASK Wellness Society, and throughout the communities that we serve. Trust is the glue that holds our society together. It strengthens relationships by allowing people to work together, to feel safe when vulnerable, and to feel a sense of belonging.

COMPASSION: a strong feeling of sympathy or empathy for the suffering or bad luck of others, and a desire to help.

Many people feel empathy, but the emotional response that leads to wanting to help with the situation is what defines compassion. Our fourth value of compassion is key to ensuring that no one gets left behind. Compassion is a very evident value amongst staff at ASK. This field can be challenging and heartbreaking, but our employees, board members, and volunteers are here because they want to be part of the change. They want to help those who need it most.

HOPE: a feeling of expectation; to cherish a desire to want something to happen or be true.

Our final value is hope. At ASK, we believe that hope is the key to becoming self-sufficient. We have been told in the past that this is what ASK Wellness Society is known for: providing hope to those who have lost it. Our roots began in providing hope and support to those who were struggling and feeling hopeless. Providing people with that hope helps allow them to believe in a happy, fulfilling life. This belief can lead to stronger feelings of independence and self-assurance.

On the First Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful to our program participants and other community members who share their stories, in order to reduce stigma and help make others feel accepted.

Here’s Sheldon’s story:

On the Second Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

Shoutout to Cookie Reimer, who has volunteered since the agency’s inception in 1992. We’re grateful for her continuous support to ASK in everything we do, particularly in the time and energy put towards our AIDS awareness initiatives. Every year, she helps lead ASK’s AIDS Walk for Life and the World AIDS Day Gathering. This year, she helped raise $3,075 towards ASK’s Health Navigation and SHOP Programs. Cookie is our local hero and we’re eternally grateful for all that she is.

On the Third Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for the generous donation made by Marlin, Al, and Jerry, in Memory of their brother, Jim Newbery. “Jimmy” was a long-time volunteer of ASK’s Outreach and Overdose Prevention programs, who sadly passed away on September 29, 2022. Jimmy was very well known among the North Shore community, including by the @NSBIA, for his kindness and generosity. It was always important to Jim to check on others in need throughout the community, and to ensure that people were warm and fed. For that reason, his family chose to donate to the ODP and Outreach programs to access local food and winter items, such as gloves, blankets, socks, and toques, for those in the neighbourhood who need them.

We thank the family for their kindness, in his honour.

On the Fourth Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for the generosity of Lori Lavoie from the Groove. Lori looks to “fill the gaps” in community and support people in need through food, outreach and advocacy. Lori has learned the magic of working together and has collaborated with other businesses and agencies, including the Mustard Seed, Salvation Army, Thrift Cellar, SPCA and Second Chances Thrift, Kamloops Food Bank, Pizza Now, and Flutterbies.

Lori is a true community advocate who has also networked across the city of Kamloops to various grocery stores to generously donate food and care items. She believes in being part of the solution and in meeting people where they are at, in order to help get them to where they need and want to be. Thank you, Lori, for the endless food, joy, and support that you bring to our program participants. You are one of a kind!

On the Fifth Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for the thoughtfulness of our local neighbours and community members who have recently donated winter clothing, blankets, and other survival items. We have received many donations throughout the last month across Kamloops, Penticton, and Merritt, to help those living outside stay warm. You have not only kept folks warm, but you also helped provide care and hope. Thank you!

On the Sixth Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for our local Indigenous leaders and communities on the unceded territories of the Secwépemc, Syilx tmixʷ and Nłeʔkepmx Tmيxʷ Nations, as well as our local municipalities, staff, mayors, and council members at the @City of Kamloops, @the City of Merritt, and @the City of Penticton. We thank you for caring for these lands and for the governing of both the lands and the people who live on them. We also appreciate your thoughtful recognition and support of the efforts of our staff. We recognize the tireless efforts you demonstrate to support ASK Wellness Society and other Non-Profits, local businesses, and the community at large. Kukwstsétsemc.

On the Seventh Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for the family and friends of Thomas Jay (TJ) Finnen, who have donated to ASK Wellness Society in his honour. TJ is fondly remembered by ASK staff for his unforgettable smile that would light up during any interaction with a dog. In turn, he made the staff smile every time he sat down and played the piano. Throughout this past year, ASK has received $1,000 of monetary donations in TJ’s name. We are grateful to TJ’s family for their thoughtful consideration of the agency during a very difficult time.

On the Eight Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

Today is International Solidarity Day – a day to celebrate our unity in diversity, while encouraging new initiatives for poverty eradication around the globe. At ASK, we recognize that it is through working together that we are able to make the largest impacts. We are thrilled to give a shoutout to both our funders and our local community partners, who we work alongside in solidarity in order to support the most marginalized members of our community.

On the Ninth Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for the ongoing support and generosity of an anonymous group of givers who helped spread the cheer! This group coordinated the creation of 300 holiday gift bags for people who use our services. 300 people in our community will have the joy of receiving much needed items, thanks to their kindness.

On the Tenth Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for our volunteers who give their time for the benefit of our organization!

On the Eleventh Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for the donors throughout the past year(s) who have wished to remain anonymous in their giving. Your humble generosity has helped support our employment program efforts, including extending the life cycle of our Penticton Peer Ambassador Program. These programs allow individuals with barriers to employment the opportunity for job experience, skill development, and community engagement. Thank you for being a part of giving this gift to people, in order to ultimately allow them to give back to their community.

Check out the Penticton Peer Ambassador Program and the impact it has had on participants…

On the Twelfth Day of Gratitude, ASK shouted out to thee…

We are grateful for each and every staff member at ASK Wellness Society! Across a broad range of roles from front line support workers and outreach staff to our cleaning and maintenance crew, the cooking staff, peer employees, administrative personnel, program coordinators, and the management team – every single person plays a pivotal role here at ASK. We thank you for your ongoing hard work, dedication, compassion, and grit. You provide hope and support during times of such heightened uncertainty, amidst many challenges. We see the aligned values shared by our employees and the passion for the cause that binds us all together.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. You show up every day and provide continuous kindness and compassion to those we serve; may you show that same kindness and compassion to yourself and your loved ones. The gratitude we have for you all is endless.

By sharing Sheldon's story, we hope to work to reduce the compounding stigma's of addiction, living with HIV/AIDS, and racialized discrimination towards Indigenous peoples and other members of the BIPOC community.

My name is Carrie. I’ve been sober for four years and I’m a living example of ASK Wellness Society’s framework of Streets, to Homes, to Health, to Employment. I’m also an example of how it takes a community to support one person.

My story is complex. I struggled with significant substance abuse since the age of fourteen. I got myself into terrible situations and had terrible things happen to me for multiple decades. While facing my addiction, I was in and out of homelessness, using shelters and short-term housing for many years.

On January 8th, 2019, I exited homelessness for the very last time when I was accepted to the Maverick. Now, this was not my first time in intensive residential treatment. This was actually my seventh time in treatment. Lucky number seven! At this time, I was finally ready. And the supports were there when I was ready. Being in the Maverick was the first time that I felt a sense of hope. I never thought I was someone who could achieve sobriety.

It’s important for people to know that the continuous support that I received at the Maverick and the feeling of safety is what really made the difference. They supported me in ways that I’ve never had before. I had a safe home with caring staff, I had an addictions doctor, who I still have today, and I had a counselor through Interior Health, who I still see today.

That sense of hope and support has not left my side. I have been supported to secure long-term housing and I have returned to work. I was accepted to the Work Experience Program through the Maverick and worked at the Mattress Recycling Program for a year. This was my first job in over 25 years! I have graduated from the Work Experience Program and now have a permanent position within the Health Navigation Program. My job brings me my routine, stability, and purpose. I know that I’m doing meaningful work, using my skills, and giving back to the organization that supported me. My parting message is that I not only have a life, but I have a life of joy and purpose. That joy is because the work and support of community – ASK Wellness Society, Interior Health Authority, the RCMP, and the recovery community. And because of my own hard work.

Good afternoon, everyone!

As you know, we are less than two weeks away from our municipal civic election. Our locally elected officials are responsible for making decisions that affect our daily lives as citizens, as families, and as a business community. These elected officials not only influence our jobs, but they help create safe communities for British Columbians and shape the long-term vision for our community. It is a high level of trust and responsibility being placed on these elected individuals to make decisions on our behalf. Because of this, we strongly encourage everyone to have their voice heard - by way of voting. We also encourage everyone to educate themselves on the mayoral candidates’ and the councillor candidates’ platforms. Learn about their vision, their beliefs and values, and what they plan to focus on in the city, should they be the successful candidate.

There are many resources to explore to learn more about each mayoral and councillor candidate – we are sharing only a small portion of those resources below. There are also many opportunities to learn more about candidates and ask questions through upcoming civic forums. Again, we encourage anyone interested to attend these forums to learn more about the future leader of your city, as well as respective councillors.

Local Forums


TUESDAY, OCT. 4, 6:15 P.M.

CFJC-TV and the Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to host an all-candidates forum for councillor and mayoral candidates in the Grand Hall at Thompson Rivers University. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., with the forum beginning at 7 p.m.


Kamloops This Week, CBC Radio and Radio NL are staging an all-candidates forum in the Grand Hall at Thompson Rivers University for councillor and mayoral candidates. It will feature a mayoral session, followed by councillor candidates answering public questions. You can attend in person and ask a question of the candidates or you can catch the forum online via KTW’s Facebook page.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12, 5:30 P.M.

The Central Interior chapter of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and the Association of Interior Realtors are hosting an all-candidates forum for mayoral and councillor candidates at Colombo Lodge, east of downtown at 814 Lorne St., on Oct. 12. Registration and networking will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner event will run until 9:00 p.m. Voters planning on attending must first register on the CHBA-CI’s website.

Mayoral Candidate Profiles


Sadie Hunter: websiteKTW featureCFJC feature

Dieter Dudy: websiteKTW featureCFJC feature

Arjun Singh: websiteCFJC feature

Reid Hamer-Jackson: websiteCFJC feature

Ray Dhaliwal: websiteKTW featureCFJC feature


Get to know the candidates: Linda Brown (current Mayor)

Get to know the candidates: Mike Goetz (former councillor)

Get to know the candidates: Tony Luck (current councillor)

Get to know the candidates: Mike Bhangu (former councillor)


Get to know the candidates: Jason Reynen

Get to know the candidates: Owen Hayward

Get to know the candidates: John Vassilaki (current Mayor)

Get to know the candidates: Corey Hounslow

Get to know the candidates: Julius Bloomfield (current councillor)

Information on How/Where to Vote:




Happy researching and hope to see many of you this week at one of the forums!

 I lived with addiction previously and wanted to help people in the community.

 I am proud when someone walks out of my office with a smile on their face, knowing they will be okay. If I can only help by lending an ear, well that’s okay! Sometimes that’s all a person needs!

 Love to go for walks and park hopping! I’m also currently learning how to bead!

 Timmy’s and my kiddos


 I recently learned how to long board and love it

The Housing Outreach team helps to find housing opportunities for those who are unhoused, provides rental subsidies, offers daily living and hygiene items for those in need, and connects folks to other resources in the community – among many other things! Jo leads the team through it all to make it happen and, ultimately, to help support thousands of people across our Kamloops community! Thank you, Jo, for all your hard work and your dedication in supporting our program participants. We hope you enjoy a summer full of beading, long boarding and time with your family!

It was thirty years ago, on May 2nd, 1992, that the AIDS Society of Kamloops was officially founded. Its founder, Alfons Jalink, had started the work of the AIDS Society of Kamloops in his basement in 1988, and with the help of the Society’s first Executive Director, Mary Ann Sandrelli, formally established the Society four years later in 1992. The Society’s initial focus was on providing support to community members who were living and dying with HIV/AIDS, by supporting their health and wellness, providing comfort, and educating the Kamloops community in an attempt to reduce stigma.

Throughout the past 30 years, the core values of Compassion, Hope, Inclusion, and Trust have remained the ethos of the Society. Over the last three decades, our support has expanded and broadened to provide advocacy, housing and support services to other marginalized members of our community. We pivoted our supports and implemented a Housing-First strategy, and yet continue to address discrimination and stigma placed on the most vulnerable members of our societies. This has been what led to the Society changing its name in 2016 to the ASK Wellness Society, in order to better reflect the scope of the initiatives we are involved in within the communities we serve.

ASK’s humble and “boots on the ground” roots continue to guide our work. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, community reactions towards those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were not unlike the current reactions towards those living with mental illness and addictions today, as well as their family, friends and care providers.  We have always understood that the negative reactions towards those who are marginalized are often based on fear and a lack of understanding.  This has been the climate within many of the communities where ASK provides services.  Words of scorn, contempt and shame are shared on social media regarding those who struggle to manage their mental health and substance misuse or find themselves unable to work and access housing.  We know that those without homes, who are also experiencing other barriers to be meaningfully included in their communities, suffer disproportionately. ASK has always endeavored to be a safe and welcoming place for those who have nowhere else to turn, a place without judgment. We are known for our willingness to support each individual at whatever point they are at in their journey and for our commitment to help improve their circumstance, however possible. We know that ASK is criticized by some for helping certain individuals; however, without harm reduction and housing support, many of these individuals are at serious risk of harm and death. We truly believe that social justice for one group cannot be at the expense of other groups.

Many of those who we work with are living with seemingly insurmountable barriers. Addiction and mental illness can seem like hopeless causes, yet recovery is possible. It is what we see daily in our workplaces and our programs.  We see individuals standing tall and full of pride for their achievements of living in recovery in a home and participating in community through work and volunteerism.  In our work, we are in a constant process of balancing the need to act with compassion while also promoting and expecting personal accountability. This is at the heart of the work we do.

In reflecting upon our 30 years and where we now find ourselves, it is imperative to express our gratitude towards our funders, community partner organizations, our staff and volunteers, and the community members who support us across the cities of Kamloops, Merritt and Penticton. Through our collaborative services, you have helped us to provide hope and support, even during the most challenging of times. To improve upon the current housing and health crises we are facing, it truly will take a continuous collective approach. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with all stakeholders and advocates for the next 30 years, as we remain committed to demonstrating community service, and never giving up hope for a better tomorrow.

Article by Bob Hughes and Andrina Tenisci

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