Truth & Reconciliation at Gordon Neighbourhood House

Gordon Neighbourhood House staff, volunteers, and members continue to hold survivors & intergenerational survivors close to our heart as we reckon with the shocking and horrifying crimes committed at Indian Residential Schools in Canada.

These institutions were an assault on the most fundamental principles of humanity. This is a painful time and we can only hope that discoveries and confirmations at burial sites will motivate us all to get involved and demand justice our Indigenous friends and neighbours.

In that spirit, we invite West End community members to join us in the following initiatives in honour of the many children who didn’t make it home; the many children who survived; and the many children who are our future:

1. Support Indigenous-led organizations, Leaders, and Knowledge Keepers calling for change and justice. We have compiled a list of national Indigenous-led movements, resources, and local Indigenous-owned businesses in our community to follow and support. We will be adding to this list, amplifying news articles and Indigenous voices through our public media outlets.

2. We will be working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues to facilitate community dialogue and learning in the West End. This will include building understanding of what it means to be on unceded Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh territory, including what responsibilities we carry while on this territory. It will also involve looking at colonialism and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada, both historically and as it manifests today, and how to actively resist those systems today.

3. We are midway through an organizational audit and action plan to address any relevant Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls to Justice. Indigenous Downtown-West End neighbours are welcome to participate in reviewing the implementation of this audit here at Gordon House.

4. We’ve covered the windows of Gordon Neighbourhood House with orange shirts and card stock (pictured above). We encourage neighbours to bring a pen or marker and contribute a message of care and solidarity while following current COVID-19 public health recommendations.

5. Our Young Ideas group has started a letter-writing campaign to demand urgency on the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, specifically Actions numbered 71-76 outlining the steps which our Government needs to take to address missing and murdered children and burial sites. Young Ideas is encouraging community members to write letters to your local Member of Parliament, and is providing pre-addressed envelopes, Letter Templates, Letter Tips, pens, and paper.

6. We are working with all children in our programming to build understanding of the ‘Every Child Matters’ movement. All children in our Summer Camp programs have been given an orange shirt designed by Indigenous artist KC Hall, with 100% of proceeds benefitting the Urban Native Youth Association. Orange Shirt Day takes place on September 30th, and is an important opportunity to talk to children about the harmful legacy of Residential Schools in Canada. Our child care staff have ordered copies of the book Phyllis’s Orange Shirt, and have compiled resources for parents and families on how to talk to kids about Residential Schools.

7. We are continuing to compile educational resources for our neighbors. We encourage you to learn more about the Indian Residential School System by visiting the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation, as well as our friends Eddy and Kristin at Victoria Orange Shirt Day.

8. We will be building public events and content in the lead-up to Sept. 30th Orange Shirt Day, and supporting partners across the West End in the recognition of this year’s Orange Shirt Day.

9. Community members are encouraged and welcomed to join the conversation, including by sharing your ideas about how we can continue to push toward positive change. Please email, or call (604) 683-2554.

Help-Lines & Support Resources

Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports. The IRSSS can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

Saa’ust Centre, brought to life by the Urban Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Committee’s community, is an oasis for families and survivors affected by the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

First Nations Health Authority provides culturally safe and trauma-informed cultural, emotional, and mental health services to Indigenous people in BC.

Kuu-Us Crisis Line Society  provides crisis services for Indigenous people across BC. Adults and Elders can call 250-723-4050 for support; youth can call 250-723-2040. A toll-free number is available at 1-800-588-8717.

At Vancouver Public Library’s Connection to Kith and Kin experts help Indigenous participants search online records for family documents. Searching can be an emotional experience. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society has provided a Resolution Health Support Worker to join the participants during their journey.

Job Vacancy – Manager of Youth & Family Programs

(keep scrolling for the full text)


This senior management position at Gordon Neighborhood House works under the direction of the Executive Director to plan, organize, direct and evaluate the delivery of programs for children, youth and families. While the specific portfolio of programs may change and grow from year to year, programs under the direction of this position include our Family Resource Program, Youth programs, Spring/Summer Camps and Community Counselling program. This position will support the growth and operation of licensed childcare, youth, food justice and mental health programming on Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, in many cases becoming responsible for these programs as secured.

The ideal candidate is passionate about building healthy and strong communities, specifically through the lens of promoting the wellbeing of children, youth and families. They will be tasked with creating the conditions at the Neighborhood House where children can thrive, parents are part of a supportive community, and everyone has access to mental wellness content. In other words, “it takes a village”, and this position will be central to realizing that vision at Gordon House.

This is a senior leadership position at Gordon Neighborhood House. Accordingly, the candidate is expected to be a role model for the team in their commitment to our core values. These include a commitment to inclusion, anti-racism, decolonization and social justice. We support a broad range of families, including LGBTQ+ families, families that speak many different languages, Indigenous families, single parent households, multigenerational households, etc. The DYFP is expected to show a high level of competence in designing programs that are inclusive for everyone.

We are an equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from everyone.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Key duties for this position include the following:
    • Working closely with GNH leadership, GNH staff, volunteers and local community to advance the individual and collective interests of children, youth and families across the West End and Downtown neighborhoods;
    • Managing the design, delivery and evaluation of community programs/services as assigned by the Executive Director, which may include licensed childcare;
    • Recruiting and managing a team of front-line staff, volunteers, students and interns to provide high quality services in relevant program area(s);
    • Overseeing program budgets and program expenditures;
    • Keeping comprehensive and detailed records associated with program area(s), including tracking program deliverables on a monthly basis, evaluating program outcomes on an ongoing basis and drafting program reports as needed;
    • Leading ongoing program development, including through seeking/soliciting additional funding, researching/drafting grant applications, developing strategic partnerships and presenting on relevant programs as needed;
    • Maintaining a high quality standard in all programs, including ensuring all licensing or program-specific legislated requirements are met and exceeded;
    • Providing ongoing support, resources and advocacy to children, youth and families, including one-on-one support to individual youth and families;
    • Working in-program to deliver high quality services;
    • Developing and maintaining partnerships with government, health authorities, partner organizations, advocacy groups, communities of practice, volunteers, participants and donors;
    • Leading and participating in the coordination of special events, trainings, community-engagement and team-building activities;
    • Championing the needs, aspirations and visions of communities involved in respective program area(s), including through facilitating community advocacy efforts, participating in relevant community/city-wide processes, and creating meaningful opportunity for community engagement/leadership in respective program area(s);
    • Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to education and growth, including through researching/reading relevant policies/reports, seeking and participating in formal and informal learning opportunities, and always working to deepen understanding of the Downtown-West End neighborhoods and program demographics;
    • Role modelling commitment to relevant Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Commission Calls to Justice, anti-racism, 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion and accessibility for people of all abilities.


  • Undergraduate degree in Child and Youth Care, Social Work, Education or Recreation, or an equivalent combination of education, training and/or experience;
  • Minimum 3 years of experience working with children and youth required;
  • Minimum 2 years of experience supervising staff, volunteers or interns;
  • Experience working in a licensed/accredited setting is considered an asset;
  • Excellent time management and ability to work effectively under pressure, deadlines and shifting workloads;
  • Strong leadership and exceptional interpersonal skills;
  • Strong conflict resolution skills;
  • Strong strategic thinking abilities, and a commitment and excitement for leading the growth of their program area(s);
  • Strong written communication abilities;
  • Organized and detail-oriented;
  • Knowledge of cultural humility, positive behavior support and trauma-informed practice considered an asset;
  • Creative, a sense of humor and able to create a fun/collaborative work environment;
  • Commitment to lifelong learning;
  • Knowledge and commitment to anti-racism, principles of Truth and Reconciliation, inclusion and accessibility;
  • A deep commitment to children, youth and families, and to the work of a Neighbourhood House.

Working Conditions

  • Ability to work flexible hours – may require evening and weekend work;
  • Ability to work outdoors on occasion
  • Class 4 Driver’s License, or willingness to obtain, considered an asset.

Terms of employment

28 – 35 hours per week. Opportunities to grow. Competitive benefits package and flexible working conditions (e.g. partial work-from-home arrangements).

Starting salary between $27.84 and $33.85/hour.

Application Process

Submit a Cover Letter and Resume to Siobhan Powlowski, Executive Director, by July 23 2021. Incomplete applications will not be considered.