Smiley faced cookies help raise money for BC Children’s Hospital. (Special to the Langley Advance)

One Langley Slurpee lover will win a week of free Slurpees by contributing

Sweet slushy treats sold in Langley Friday help create transformative social change.

Get the cheapest or the most expensive Slurpee ever on Friday, Sept. 15.

It’s your call.

It’s Name Your Price Day at 7-Eleven, when customers can pay any price for a large Slurpee. The key, whatever is paid (we’re told 100 per cent of that money) goes to WE Charity.

This charity, if you’re not familiar, is an organization “that makes doing good doable.”

It’s aimed at empowering people to make a difference in the world through domestic and international change.

7-Eleven Canada is “honoured to support a movement that inspires and empowers millions of people to ‘take action’ on any cause that they care about to make a difference in their communities,” said vice-president and general manager of 7-ElevenCanada Doug Rosencrans.

During the past three years, 7-Eleven Canada has raised a quarter of a million dollars through the Name Your Price Day.

So, Slurpee fans are being challenged to surpass the single day record of $110,000 raised in donation in one day. Let’s see if they can do it.

While temperatures are not supposed to be anywhere near the scorchers we’ve recorded this summer, weather forecasters are telling us it should be another nice one on Friday.

So if you’re looking for a way to cool down, or moreover if you just want to help this cause, consider investing in a Slurpee and helping WE Charity.

Take a picture of yourself enjoying a Slurpee on Friday, say which Langley store you visited, and how much you donated? Share it through this story on the Langley Advance web or Facebook, and I’ll buy one lucky contributor one Slurpee a day for a week, just for participating. It could be you.

Smiles help sick kids

Here’s another way that buying food is helping others.

Tim Hortons is once again running it’s Smile campaign, selling cookies to help raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital.

The cookies cost $1 and all the money goes to the cause.

What began as a fundraiser for the Hamilton Children’s Hospital in 1996 has since grown to be a national initiative.

This year more than 500 charities, hospitals, and community programs will benefit directly from the Smile Cookie campaign. For all the cookies bought in Langley, the money is specifically earmarked for Children’s Hospital.

“We’re very grateful to our guests and restaurant owners who go above and beyond each year to support their local communities through the Smile Cookie campaign,” said Sami Siddiqui, president of Tim Hortons Canada.

“The real magic of this campaign is the local impact. Thanks to the donations from our restaurant owners, our guests can feel proud knowing that the money raised during the campaign will be directly supporting organizations in their community.”

This tasty fundraiser started earlier this week, and it runs until Sunday, Sept. 17.

Celebrating 17 on 17

Speaking of events on Sunday, I’m told my friends from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters (http://cheesecrafters.ca/) in Maple Ridge are making their way south of the Fraser this weekend – maybe it’s because the tolls are gone.

Anyway, they’re coming to help celebrate the Township 7 Vineyard and Winery’s 17th anniversary.

There’s a party happening on Sunday, Sept. 17, with live music, a cheesecake from Cheesecrafters (being cut at 1 p.m.) and naturally wine will be flowing.

On the technology front

Did you know that a new Startup in Residence (STIR) program, the first of its kind in Canada, is helping local startups do business with the province, while apparently improving services to British Columbians.

STIR is a pilot project that has made the B.C. government a reference customer for five B.C. technology companies to test and co-develop solutions to public-sector challenges.

The so-called “cutting-edge program” combines innovation from tech companies with public-sector expertise, to co-develop and launch solutions during a 16-week residency that will culminate in the improvement of services delivered to B.C.ers.

From providing social workers with real-time available housing options for children in need, to helping school districts analyze complex data to better understand trends and patterns that affect educational outcomes, each company is tackling a specific tech challenge identified by the province.

While there don’t seem to be any Langley firms on this list, there are the first participating companies and the challenges they are solving:

Arkit is working with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNR) to modernize the way people access information about land-use planning throughout British Columbia.

Big Bang Analytics and the Ministry of Education are helping school districts to access and analyze information more easily.

Design + Environment and AppScoop are teaming up with FLNR to deliver digital literacy training to public servants in an interactive and memorable way.

Latero Labs and the Ministry of Children and Family Development are creating a tool to help social workers match children in care with the best available housing options in real time.

Purpose Five is teaming with government’s digital experience division to create a tool that will intuitively track all government services and guide internal decision-making on how to best deliver them.

Modelled after a successful program in San Francisco, this pilot promotes innovative procurement in the public sector, while helping companies demonstrate their products and gain customer validation.

Participating companies are gaining insight into working with government, developing their own intellectual property, and have the chance to sign multi-year contracts for future licence fees or maintenance work.

“Through the STIR program, we’re working with companies that hire locally, and are contributing to the flourishing tech industry here in B.C.,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “STIR is helping to ensure that we provide the best services to the people of British Columbia by becoming more efficient and allocating resources where they are needed most.”

Curbing student debt

Today’s post-secondary students face a number of challenges.

With the ever-increasing costs of rent and tuition, balancing a student budget continues to be one of them.

On average, Canadian students can expect to graduate from a four-year-degree program with more than $26,000 in debt, as reported by the Canadian University Survey Consortium in 2015.

Some student expenses are non-negotiable costs, like housing and school fees, said Jim Petroski, wealth planning specialist and certified financial planner with the Langley-based Envision Financial.

“However, there are a number of underutilized money-saving tactics that students can practice to stretch their remaining funds,” he said.

• Opt out of medical insurance if already covered

Petroski recommended students begin by looking into their school’s student health and dental plans. In many cases, they may already be covered under a parent’s or spouse’s employee benefits.

“Students who already have coverage can often opt out of their school’s health care benefits, and recoup that fee,” he added. “But be mindful that the opt-out period is typically within the first few weeks of the semester, and don’t miss this deadline.”

• Switch to a no-fee bank account

Petroski also recommended students re-examine their banking provider. Switching to a no-fee bank account could save students up to $200 per year.

“The significant savings on bank fees is often reason enough to switch, but students should also look for an account that simplifies their everyday banking,” Petroski said.

• Invest short-term savings

Students who are able to set aside some savings should consider investing these in a cashable guaranteed term deposit for 30 to 364 days –something a credit union can help with.

“Besides curbing the temptation to spend this money impulsively, these savings will earn interest until they’re needed. While students are earning money –whether through a part-time or summer job – setting up automatic withdrawals is a great way for them to build savings, and often they won’t even miss the funds.”

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rhooper@langleyadvance.com

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