By: Scott Douglas Jacobsen (GNH Community Journalist/Blogger)
Tell us about your brief background – family, education, and work.
I’m from Washington State in the USA, and I’ve been living in Vancouver for a little over 8 years now. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be some kind of artist—I just wasn’t sure what kind!
I ended up getting interested in graphic design and got an Associate’s Degree from Centralia College in that. I then got really interested in film, and earned a Bachelor of Art’s Degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. I eventually found my skills more aligned with digital design, so I pursued a Master’s Degree up here in Vancouver—at the Centre for Digital Media.
Throughout high school and university, I was working as a photojournalist and doing freelance design work when it came up. Now I’m working at a small agency making apps and websites, mostly for healthcare and technology companies based in the USA. Outside of that, I’m constantly taking photos around the city, working on personal art/design projects, doing freelance design work, and volunteering with GNH.
How did you find out about Gordon Neighbourhood House?
I was brought into GNH by a mutual friend of Paul Taylor’s about 4 years ago. I was so interested in what was going on there, that I asked Paul how I could lend my skills in the best way. They really needed a new website at the time, and that was something I loved doing. I thought it was a great chance to help out the community and start getting involved.
What interested you about us?
So many things! I liked the sheer diversity of the programs and the people they served—from youth to seniors, and every age group in between. The friendliness of the staff and the willingness to open their doors to the people in the community was especially nice to feel.
Now, you’re the Board Chair for the Young Ideas Steering Committee, Young Ideas Communications Committee & Neighbourhood Small Grants Advisory. What tasks and responsibilities come with these positions?
Currently I’m the board chair for the GNH Community Advisory Board. I’m also member of the Young Ideas Communications Committee and GNH Fundraising Committee. Previously, I served on the Neighbourhood Small Grants Committee for 2 years, but this year I decided to give it a break.
Outside of reading and organizing materials for those meetings, I try to make it to as many events related to those groups as I can. For all of those positions, it’s really important to have a sense of what’s going on in the neighborhood. Making a habit of getting involved in the wide range of GNH events has been the perfect way to get that sense. Often I’ll go to the events as a photographer, and while I’m there I meet people from the community.
How did you come upon, and earn, these positions?
For the Community Advisory Board, I served on the board first—and was elected once the previous chair stepped down. For the other committees, I just expressed my interest to Paul once I heard about them. I’m always looking for new ways to help out GNH, and it’s been so fascinating seeing the it change from those different perspectives since I got involved.
Where do you hope Gordon Neighbourhood House moves forward into the future?
First, I hope GNH can continue doing all this things it’s been doing. I think we’re incredibly fortunate to have a space, staff, and volunteers that make all of the current programs possible. Looking further, I hope that GNH can grow the connections it has in the community and in the city. Thinking about all the work GNH has done, especially around food—the potential to implement similar models in other neighborhoods is very encouraging.
Photo by David Arias.