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$100,000 donation kicks off fundraising campaign for New West school district Wellness Centre

School District 40 is looking to raise $450,000 to fully finish the Wellness and Welcome Centres at the new NWSS facility
Wellness Centre
The Wellness Centre space at the new New Westminster Secondary School is waiting to be used, but it needs to be finished and furnished first. The New Westminster school district has launched a fundraising campaign, kicking off with a major donation from a local family.

A New Westminster family is offering a giant boost to the new Wellness Centre at New Westminster Secondary School as the school district embarks on a fundraising campaign.

Jennifer Thompson and Kurt Wipp have stepped forward with $100,000 to help the New Westminster school district finish and furnish the space at the new secondary school – and they’re volunteering to match community donations up to another $50,000 to encourage other people to support it as well.

As parents and New West residents, the two say they care deeply about improving access to wellness and mental health supports. 

“Mental health issues are often overlooked or considered an ‘afterthought’ when in fact they should be a core part of our health-care dialogue,” Thompson said. “It affects us all, and the sooner we start this conversation with our children, the better.”

The Wellness Centre, located in a main-floor space at the front of the new school, is planned as a hub for offering holistic health and wellness supports for both students and the community.

It’s a space where students will be able to see a health practitioner and access counselling and other emotional and mental health supports.

“By integrating these services, we will remove barriers and solve challenges many young people are currently facing: making it easier for them to receive wrap-around care and connect them with referrals they may need, in a space that’s welcoming and supportive to the diverse issues they may be facing,” a school district post explains.

Students, parents and community members will also be able to access the space to take part in workshops on everything from building healthy eating and sleeping habits to coping with stress and anxiety.

The school district has been in discussions with service providers, including Child and Youth Mental Health, Fraser Health and Cameray, around offering services and programs in the centre.


The Wellness Centre is one of two spaces, along with the Welcome Centre next door, designated as “Neighbourhood Learning Centres” in the new school facility that opened this past January. The two spaces were built under a provincial program that allowed the new high school to include extra floor space for the new community hubs.

The catch, however, is that the new areas didn’t come along with funding for the capital improvements to make the spaces useable, so the district was left looking for other funding alternatives.

The district has now launched a community fundraising campaign to accept donations for either or both of the new spaces.

Donors can make a contribution online, choosing to direct their money to either the Wellness Centre or the Welcome Centre, or both (by selecting NWSS Welcoming & Wellness). Those who want to capitalize on the matching donation campaign should choose ‘Wellness Centre’ as their designated recipient.

Donations will be put towards efforts such as building private rooms for counselling and health appointments, furnishing the spaces and providing resources to non-profit partners, and furnishing lounges and gathering spaces.

In total, the school district estimates it will cost about $450,000 to fully realize both spaces: $200,000 for the Welcome Centre, and $250,000 for the Wellness Centre. 

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, [email protected].