August 11, 2013 - 9:10 AM
KELOWNA - The recent passing of 17-year-old Marissa Ginter has prompted a strong reaction from the Kelowna community.
Those who knew Ginter and those who did not are coming together to commemorate the young girl's life by raising money for a downtown youth group.
Ginter was found lifeless in her bed on the morning of August 2. The cause of death is still being investigated by the coroner's service but there is speculation Ginter might have taken the same drugs that sent three others to the hospital with unusual symptoms.
Amanda Zais runs the Bernard Avenue clothing store Mavazi Apparel where Ginter recently began working before her untimely death.
Zais is launching an online silent auction next week on August 19 with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to Club 180, a Kelowna youth outreach centre Ginter was involved with. Zais says anything from clothing to restaurant gift certificates have been posted on the auction page donated by local businesses and members of the community.
The point of the auction is simple: To do something positive for the community while building resources to support at-risk youth, Zais says.
It's not about dwelling on the negative, she says, admitting she was upset to see one news article headlining Ginter's drug use and "focussing on the drugs too much."
"I can't believe they would run a story like that," she says.
With the auction launching in just over a week's time, Zais says she hopes to see donations and businesses building up hype for the items to be sold. When Zais learned Club 180 was running low on funds it sparked her determination to organize the auction.
She also learned the group plays a huge role in many young lives, those homeless and those who do have a home.
"When they said they we're lacking funds, it made me go into overdrive with this," she says. And having seen Ginter's strong work ethic first hand, Zais says it's critical for youth to get the right opportunities to keep them away from drugs and realize their potential.
"It's definitely been very heart warming how people are reaching out," she says.
The auction will run from August 19 until the 23rd.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013