Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


Leave a comment

Homeless program raising funds and donations in Renfrew-Collingwood

Windermere Girls Group Homeless Program Donations

The Girls Group from Windermere Secondary ran a successful socks and underwear drive to support the participants of the homeless program at Collingwood Neighbourhood House. Photo by Suzanne Liddle

BY ANA MATEESCU

The Collingwood Neighbourhood House Morning Star breakfast program has been running since 2004 and serves between 60 and 80 people every Saturday morning! Here homeless and tentatively housed people, from the Collingwood neighbourhood and beyond, are able to have a hot shower and get some clean underwear and clothes before a hot breakfast.

This program relies on the generous help of dedicated volunteers and donations from the local community.

Recently, the program partnered with the Girls Group from Windermere Secondary. The girls ran a very successful socks and underwear drive to support the participants of our homeless program! For two to three weeks they spent every lunch break promoting the drive at school and encouraging pupils and teachers to donate.

A regular attendee at the breakfast program, Michael Desbiens, went along to meet the girls to say thank you.

Michael has been coming to the Morning Star breakfast program for a number of years. For a long time, Michael was homeless and living on the street; he connected with the outreach workers at Collingwood and they helped him to apply for housing and eventually he got a roof over his head. He is healthier and happier now but he knows how important it is for someone who is homeless to have basic needs met such as having clean, dry socks and underwear.

On May 30 Michael visited Windermere Secondary and had lunch with the girls who participated at the drive. It was an amazing afternoon with interesting discussions and Michael said he felt again “young and full of hope” by listening and witnessing how these girls are making plans how they want to change the world.

Michael talked about his experiences and the girls plan to come and volunteer for the breakfast program every Saturday and engage other secondary schools from the Collingwood Renfrew area to raise awareness of homelessness.

A video story about May 30 Windermere Secondary girls group action is on the Collingwood Neighbourhood House website and Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIALpiJmP8I

Donate and shop!

The Morning Star breakfast program is always accepting donations of clean socks and underwear. You can also drop off donations at Vancity on Joyce and Kingsway.

Would you like to shop and help the community at the same time? Come check out our Collingwood Summer Market! On Saturday, August 19 there will be a yard sale on the front lawn of CNH with a wide variety of interesting items sold, with plenty of bargains. All the money raised will support CNH’s homeless program.

Come every Tuesday and Thursday 11-2pm in August and September in front of Collingwood Neighbourhood House to shop and support people who are struggling with poverty and homelessness.

Ana Mateescu is the homeless programs coordinator at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Windermere students visit Ottawa with Don Davies, MP

Windermere-Create-Your-Canada-Winners

MP Don Davies with Windermere students Gaelan Emo (left) and June Lam in the House of Commons. Photo by Alicia Tiffin

Two Windermere students, June Lam and Gaelan Emo, were the lucky recipients of an all-expense paid trip to Ottawa from May 28 to 30, hosted by Don Davies, MP for Vancouver Kingsway. June and Gaelan won the opportunity to participate in Canada’s Parliament through the 2017 Create Your Canada contest.

Started by Don Davies in 2009, this annual contest is open to all Vancouver Kingsway students taking Grade 11 or 12 classes. Create Your Canada challenges students to propose ideas that they feel will make a better Canada, or a better world.

The winning idea is submitted by Davies to Parliament where it is drafted into federal legislation in the form of a Private Members Bill. Davies then flies the students to Ottawa to watch as he formally introduces their bill in the House of Commons.

June and Gaelan are both senior students in Windermere’s Leadership program and have been actively involved in their community. They were selected for their idea to create a tax incentive that will encourage food producers, suppliers and retailers to donate perishable food to charities.

“We both became interested in food security through Windermere’s Organic Garden, which produces food for our school cafeteria and the community,” said June.

“We discovered that 31 million pounds of food is wasted in Canada every year, but there are still many Canadians who don’t have enough to eat,” added Gaelan. “We wanted to find a way to solve both of those problems.”

The winners were treated to a jam-packed two-day tour of Parliament Hill where they visited the House of Commons, Senate, Peace Tower, Library of Parliament and Sir John A. MacDonald’s office, and attended Question Period. They also had time to tour the Supreme Court of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

“I think this is an engaging and fun introduction to Parliament and a great way for youth to share their vision for our country,” said Davies. “I am proud to bring the voice of youth to our debates.”

Honourable mentions for the 2017 Create Your Canada Contest go to:

  • Nika Asgari and Ana Brinkerhoff from Sir Charles Tupper Secondary for their idea to amend the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act.
  • Karen Caslib and Natasha Fahbod from Windermere Secondary for their idea to ban the production and use of plastic bags.

Davies personally funds the Create Your Canada program, and no taxpayer dollars are involved.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

MOSAIC moves to Collingwood

MOSAIC moves to Collingwood

MOSAIC staff provide programs that address the needs of immigrants and refugees. Photo courtesy of MOSAIC

Julie had arrived from South Korea and was in Canada for a few years before connecting with MOSAIC.

Because Julie had some local connections and strong work experience from her home country, and was conversationally fluent in English, she did not initially seek out assistance from any settlement agencies.

After a couple of years spent adapting to her new community and establishing Canadian work experience via her own network within the South Korean community, Julie began seeking work in the mainstream community. She found that her qualifications earned her many interviews, but none of these resulted in a job or even a follow-up interview. Julie had lost her confidence and, in her own words, was “a little bit depressed.”

At this point, she contacted MOSAIC. At one of its group workshops, she learned successful interview strategies and tips, practised her new-found techniques with the group and received constructive feedback.

Just one week after the workshop, Julie had an interview and applied what she’d learned. She was offered a job in her desired field.

Through MOSAIC, newcomers like Julie can seek out help to find work, learn English, navigate in their new communities, and learn about Canadian culture and other factors that assist with settlement and integration to Vancouver.

The organization’s vision is to empower newcomers to fully participate in Canadian society. Their dedicated staff work with clients, volunteers, community partners and funders to provide a wide variety of programs that address the needs of immigrants and refugees.

And it’s not just newcomers like Julie that MOSAIC can help with employment-related assistance – the organization also operates the Vancouver Northeast Employment Services Centre – the Work BC office for Renfrew-Collingwood – which serves all citizens in B.C. and not just newcomers.

And now MOSAIC’s headquarters has relocated to the Collingwood community, taking up residence in the amenity space at the Wall Centre – Central Park complex (near Kingsway and Boundary) that was granted by the City of Vancouver.

“It’s a beautiful space and we’re excited to be in Collingwood, a community that has great diversity and a wonderful, family-friendly vibe,” says Dianna Lee, MOSAIC’s manager of marketing and communications.

MOSAIC was founded in 1976 to help Vancouver’s many non-English-speaking immigrants navigate the challenges they found in the city.

Since then, the organization has grown to more than 350 staff and 400 volunteers at 28 different sites across Metro Vancouver. The organization also has a thriving social enterprise, MOSAIC Interpretations and Translations Services, which is one of Canada’s leading providers in this sector.

MOSAIC offers more than 40 programs that cover every area of life, including settlement, employment, counselling and language learning, with services available in more than 30 languages. Although many of the programs are directed towards newcomers, MOSAIC’s services include conversation circles, mother’s circles, youth clubs and seniors’ programs that immigrants or citizens can participate in.

MOSAIC also provides services for temporary foreign workers and the LGBT community.

“No matter where you’re from, how old you are or what language you speak, MOSAIC can help you find what you need to live, work and become part of the community here,” says Lee. “MOSAIC will help newcomers to find the support they need.”

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Study Buddy Mentors needed for Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland

Big-Sisters-Study-Buddy-Mentors

Big Sister Anna (right) attended Little Sister Olimpia’s high school graduation. The two were matched for four years and Olimpia credits her Big Sister for helping her attend post-secondary education. Photo courtesy of Big Sisters BCLM.

Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland (Big Sisters BCLM) is in need of Study Buddy volunteers throughout the Lower Mainland, especially in Burnaby and the Tri-Cities.

The Study Buddy program is a weekly one-to-one mentoring relationship that focuses on school work. Little Sisters in this program not only improve their academics but also report a higher level of self-esteem. Take for instance, Study Buddy Anna and Little Sister Olimpia, who were matched when Olimpia was in Grade 9 and was, as she describes it, a “rebellious teenager.”

“I dropped bombs on Anna, testing her to see if she would stick around,” said Olimpia about their first year as a match. Anna stayed by her side.

“At the end of the day, Olimpia had self-perceptions that weren’t true,” said Anna. “Olimpia’s teachers and some of the other adults in her life were not supportive, viewing Olimpia as a problem kid on her way to dropping out of high school. But as I got to know her, she began to see otherwise.”

Now, Olimpia is in her first year at Langara College and is hoping to complete her degree in psychology or social work at the University of British Columbia.

“Without Anna’s influence in my life, I probably wouldn’t be going to college,” said Olimpia.

A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group supports Olimpia’s statement, showing that adults who had a mentor as a child are more likely to volunteer, donate, complete post-secondary education and feel confident.

“Mentoring has a powerful impact,” said Brenda Gershkovitch, executive director of Big Sisters BCLM. “Research shows that students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. Plus, girls with a mentor are four times less likely than their peers to bully, fight, lie or lose their temper.”

In 2016, Big Sisters BCLM matched 775 girls in the Lower Mainland. There are currently 141 girls ready to be matched.

“We expect the number of Little Sister referrals to grow once school starts up in September,” said Gershkovitch. “Get your application in now, so we can give these girls positive mentors when they need it most.”

For more information on how to become a Study Buddy volunteer, visit www.bigsister.bc.ca/study-buddy.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

July 2017 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News July 2017

This issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • New Il Museo exhibit illuminates the cultural legacy of Italian and Cantonese opera in Vancouver
  • Big Sisters seeks Study Buddy mentors
  • Make it a learning summer in Renfrew-Collingwood
  • MOSAIC moves to Collingwood
  • Reorganized Organ youth art project
  • Windermere students visit Ottawa with Don Davies, MP
  • Art for your heart: New book by local artist Ricardo Arturo Cerna Rivas
  • Have a Still Moon summer!

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the August 2017 issue is July 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.


Leave a comment

Happy 100th birthday to John Harlow

BY PAUL REID

Harlow-family

Three generations of transit operators (from left to right) David, Michelle and John Harlow in front of the family home on Chambers Street. Photos courtesy of the Harlow family

Herbert Harlow and Rose Campbell met while working at Vancouver General Hospital. They married and had their first born, John, in 1917. In 1925, John’s wife-to-be, Georgette, was attending Norquay School. John and Georgette met when they attended South Vancouver high school (now John Oliver), married in 1939 and moved onto Chambers Street. Three of their four children would also attend Norquay School.

John would later build a new house on Chambers Street in 1950. He bought the double lot for $600. This is the house he still lives in today with his son David and David’s wife Sylvia. So, we have had a Harlow living on Chambers Street for more than 78 years.

We have also had a Harlow driving city buses in Vancouver since 1945. This is the year that John started driving city buses for Neville Transit. Even before that, John was a driver, driving trucks for the Boeing company on Sea Island during the Second World War. He remembers driving up to the gate one day and the guard told him to park the truck and go home. The war was over, the plant was closed and everyone was laid off! That same day, on his way back home, John would not only find a new job, he was taught his route and started driving that day!

Streetcar

John Harlow became a motorman, driving streetcars like this one for Neville Transit.

This was the job with Neville Transit that would start the continuing legacy of the Harlow family. John worked with Neville until they became BC Electric and later BC Hydro. During this time, John became a motorman, driving streetcars.

In 1978, John’s son David would join the transit team. It was around this time that the company would became Metro and then Coast Mountain. In 2004, David’s daughter, Michelle started driving, becoming the third generation of Harlows to do so. (John retired in 1979; David in 2009.)

Harlow-baby

Congratulations to Michelle and the Harlow family on this latest addition this year. Could this be the fourth generation of the Harlow-transit legacy?

For John’s 100th birthday, his family wanted to give him a ride down memory lane. So they rented a vintage 1964 GMC bus, provided by TRAMS, and along with family and friends, the day was spent touring with John down memory lane.

This tour included John’s old routes in East Vancouver; Sea Island where John worked with Boeing; past the school where he met his wife; and the church where they got married.

Needless to say, John had a fantastic 100th birthday.

Copyright 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Food Security Institute: Join summer gatherings at local gardens

BY BO DEL VALLE GARCIA AND EMMA WARNER CHEE

Food-security-event

Vanessa Richards (centre) of Woodword’s Community Choir leads a singing practice at the Norquay Orchard event last year. Photo by Dustin Ahjz

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute (RCFSI) gathers neighbours around food. Together, we grow, we cook, we share and we build resilient communities. On the rooftop garden, at the Norquay Orchard and at our community gardens we aim to create a hub for our neighbours, both human and non, to share and increase knowledge around organic and regenerative food growing practices, soil systems, and wild and native plants.

This is an exciting time for us! This summer we will be joined by two new members of our team, Bo and Emma, who will be dedicating their time and expertise towards growing thriving communities both in the garden and out.

Bo is a creature of the cities and forests: a community organizer, activist and earth skills educator born to the traditional unceded lands of the Coast Salish – otherwise known as Vancouver, B.C. Bo identifies as genderqueer and uses They/Them/Theirs pronouns.

Bo is rooted deeply into their home and community, but never forgets that they are a visitor on this land. Their work operates in the intersections between earth, food, art and justice. They have spent countless hours learning from the natural world in academic settings, from elders and mentors, and from the living ecosystems themselves. They have worked on a number of projects concerning ecosystem repair, bioremediation, food forests design, biological pest management, rainwater harvesting and climate change resiliency and are so excited to be working with the RCFSI this summer!

Emma is a sociology student at Simon Fraser University and returning to RCFSI for a second year as a summer student. She loves growing, cooking, eating and talking about food. She is excited to spend time at the orchard and in the garden this summer, and to plant seeds for community growth and tasty veggies.

Summer events

This summer RCFSI will be working to foster a deeper connection with the land and each other, and are excited to invite everyone to our upcoming events:

Pruning Workshop at the Norquay Orchard (2732 Horley St.) – Saturday, June 17, 12 to 2 pm

Rooftop Garden Drop-ins at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House – Every Wednesday, 5 to 7 pm

Norquay Orchard Work Parties (2732 Horley St.) – Last Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 pm

There will be many more exciting opportunities to get involved. Keep an eye on the RCFSI Facebook page – Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, or the website rcfood.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in volunteering contact collingwoodurbanag@gmail.com.

Copyright 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News