Colwood home turned into winter wonderland to raise money for foster families

One house goes all out for Christmas to raise money for Foster Parent Support Service Society and the South Island Foster Parent Association.

A Colwood family has turned their home into an extravagant Christmas display with thousands of lights to raise money for Island foster families.

Leo Cooper and his wife have spent 20 years slowly increasing the amount of Christmas display and lights, trying to cover every square inch on their front lawn.

“It started with two and then it kind of grew to this so every year we add on,” said Cooper.

Their home on Girou Road has now turned into a winter wonderland. With more than  170 blowup decorations and thousands of Christmas lights, the family says it’s taken months to set it up, with more work still needed before the holiday season.

“I can only do a couple of hours [of work] per day so it starts end of September, early October, with some lights, and then we branch out. Usually by the first week of December is the end goal,” said Cooper.

Their operation has drastically increased over the years and they have had to ask their neighbours to provide some lawn space to prop up the rest of the decorations.

“It’s for a good cause. I know it means a lot to them too,” said Kirsten Thompson, their neighbour across the street.

The Coopers are foster parents and frequently work with the Foster Parent Support Service Society and the South Island Foster Parent Association. They’re hoping to raise money from the association which helps foster families on the Island.

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“We put that money back into our community of caregivers to provide activities and events for the kids that we can do as a group. Larger events like Christmas parties, back-to-school picnics…the money really helps to make sure everybody gets included and there’s no cost to the caregivers and the children,” said Sam Taylor, South Island Foster Parent Association treasurer.

“Being foster parents, we’ve seen the joy in youth and children in care,” said Cooper.

It’s taken hundreds of hours of work, and tens of thousands of dollars of decorations to build their winter wonderland. Cooper says a portion of the donations will go to their second “charity” — BC Hydro.

“It’s hard to say, but the bill escalates to the thousands,” said Cooper.

The displays are still undergoing finishing touches but families can visit the winter wonderland on Girou Road in Colwood every night through the first week of January.

Oli Herrera

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