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Crunch time for local hiker means money for diversity

Alexander Bell and his daughter, Sierra, are getting ready for the second annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge this weekend.  - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Alexander Bell and his daughter, Sierra, are getting ready for the second annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge this weekend.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

You can cap off the summer with a vigourous hike — or two, or 10 — up the Coquitlam Crunch this weekend and help raise money to promote diversity activities in the Tri-Cities.

Alexander Bell is teaming up with the Coquitlam Foundation to raise money for a Coquitlam Foundation Diversity Fund, which would support activities that embrace diversity and promote inclusiveness in the community.

Bell is the Safe Harbour co-ordinator for the Tri-Cities, a diversity awareness program for businesses and community organizations. He says the fundraising event, called Embracing Diversity, will raise funds to enable organizations and schools to host community activities.

His goal is to raise $2,000 this weekend toward the $10,000 goal necessary to generate grants for diversity initiatives.

“I’m hoping it will turn into an annual thing that builds and contributes to a grant with the Coquitlam Foundation,” said Bell, who has been in training to do the crunch several times on his own this weekend.

This the second year for the fundraising event and Bell hopes a few dozen people will join him in the endeavour. There are two categories this year: the Make it or Break it category, which entails walking the entire trail 10 or more times in a 12-hour period, or the Family/Recreational category, which involves walking the entire trail at least once.

Suggested donations are $20 for adults and $10 for youths, with registration at 6:30 a.m. for the Make or Break it participants (finishing at 6:30 p.m.) and and registration at 10 a.m. for the recreational competitors (finishing at noon). The first 50 registrations will get a free pedometer, courtesy of the Province of B.C., as well as diversity DVDs and diversity music CDs.

Bell thinks the Coquitlam Crunch, a 2 km trail under the BC Hydro right-of-way rising up from the Eagle Ridge area of Coquitlam, is an ideal setting for a fundraising hike and he hopes many will be inspired to give the trek a try.

“We have this wonderful free asset, why not promote it?” Bell said.

There will also be refreshments provided by community businesses, such as Thrifty Foods, Envision Financial and Safeway.

Bell is pleased to see businesses involved in the endeavour and he hopes to encourage new businesses and agencies to take the free, two-hour Respect for All training offered by Safe Harbour so they can better assist individuals, customers and employees with differing backgrounds.

There are now 900 Safe Harbour certified locations in B.C., including several in the Tri-Cities.

• For more information or to register for the Embracing Diversity fundraising hike, click www.coquitlamcrunch.com or email coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com. For more information about Safe Harbour, click www.safeharbour.ca.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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