The Gordon House team has spent the last few weeks in deep reflection about the persistence of structural racism in our communities, and examining our own complicity within these systems. Hatred has no place in our community. But nonetheless, it continues to exist in our community.
Like you, we are horrified by current events. Black and Indigenous people are being killed every day for acts as simple as going for a run. There has been a substantial (and shameful) increase in anti-Asian racism here in our own neighborhood, and we are aware of multiple instances of elders being targeted by this violence. Something in our system is broken — and we must all take intentional action to fix it.
We have come together with our sister Houses across the Association of Neighbourhood Houses BC to make a public commitment to anti-racism work. Anti-Racism is the ‘practice of identifying, challenging, preventing, eliminating and changing the values, structures, policies, programs, practices and behaviours that perpetuate racism’. That statement is attached – and we hope you hold us accountable to do this work.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing educational anti-racism resources for the community, including live workshops. We also welcome additional ideas, resources and workshops that we can share – please email email@example.com
Gordon Neighbourhood House offers Deeper Roots, an educational gardening program that provides opportunities to connect with the land and deepen our understanding and relationship with nature.
We will explore how to grow food, plants and medicines in ways that care for both humans and the earth. We will develop a practice of gratitude and awareness that will shift how people look at growing food and the natural communities around them.
Join us for weekly drop-in garden sessions and nature-based activities and walks. Once a month we will also offer a multi-lingual session in the garden. All ages and levels of garden experience are welcome. Be prepared to experiment and learn together!
All sessions will take place in the West End neighbourhood of Vancouver. Locations will vary between each session. Once you have registered for a particular session, we will contact you with the meeting location, safety guidelines and what to wear/bring 1-2 days before the session.
Contact Joey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or concerns about accessibility.
Each session will have a max of 5 participants. We will be registering participants on Eventbrite only (please don’t email to register).
We would like to offer the opportunity for as many different people to participate.
If you’re interested in multiple sessions, please sign up for one or two first, and allow others a chance to register before signing up for additional sessions. If a particular session is full, join the waitlist.
If you’re bringing a child or youth, please register them and indicate their age in the registration form.
Program schedules will be released on a monthly basis. Click on each link below to register and view more session information:
Here’s a little information about mindfulness meditation to make it more accessible. Meditation and that wandering monkey mind! Well, minds think, that’s what they do. Rather than emptying the mind of thought altogether, meditation provides us with an opportunity to ‘steer the mind’ using concentration practice. Mindfulness is the ability to know or name what we are noticing or experiencing. Concentration practice is the ability to hold our focus where we choose.
Here is a mindfulness meditation practice to explore. While our attention may come and go, our body and breath are always with us. When we notice our mind has wandered, we can use the opportunity to steer the mind, to concentrate instead where we prefer or intend. Steer your mind to notice the next out breath when it occurs. And then the next one in the ongoing in-and-out cycle of breathing. And then the one after that too. To help you with your concentration practice you might observe a physical sensation that helps you know, ‘oh, this is an out breath.’ Perhaps the downward settling of your chest or belly or maybe the air moving through your nostrils. Keep noticing that next out breath as it occurs. Gently, allow yourself to notice how your body is breathing just as it breathes, there is no need to make your body breathe in any particular way. Perhaps you are taking small sips of air or maybe your breath is moving in your chest or possibly down in your belly.
The point of meditation is not necessarily to empty the mind of all thought, rather to steer the mind to where we intend and bring it back to our chosen point of focus. With this concept in mind we can be gentler with ourselves each time we steer the mind back toward the focus of our concentration practice.
In celebration of Neighbourhood House Week 2020 we collaborated with community members to host a unique rooftop concert (dubbed #socialdistanSING) for West End apartment dwellers to cheer from their balconies and celebrate the strength of community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 5th after the daily 7pm cheer for front line workers we surprised neighbours with a Beatles inspired West End rooftop concert from the corner of Gilford Street and Comox Street to celebrate the power of togetherness and social inclusion.
Connections and relationships are at the heart of our organization,”said Executive Director Siobhan Powlowski,”we have operated in this neighbourhood for over 75 years and are proud to have worked alongside thousands of amazing neighbours like musician Christopher Clarke Hyndman to improve our community. While COVID-19 has drastically affected the programs we used to offer, our values remain as strong as ever.”
At a time when most people are staying at home, many apartment renters have been asked by landlords to keep noise to a minimum,and be considerate of neighbours. Organizers of the rooftop concert tried to find the right balance between creating a fun experience,and avoid bothering some neighbours.
“It sounds counter intuitive,”explained local musician Christopher Clarke Hyndman of the Quixotic Neurotics, “I had to convince everyone that more speakers are actually less disruptive than fewer speakers. When you use lots of speakers you can position them in all directions with a lower volume so that everyone can hear the music. That way some neighbours don’t just get thumping bass and echoes, it creates a great experience for everyone.”
This first week in May has historically been declared Neighbourhood House Week by the Mayor of Vancouver, and events are planned all across the city to celebrate the contributions of Neighbourhood Houses. This year organizers had to get creative in devising ways to celebrate the occasion together. The West End is known for its canyons of tall apartments and condo building, and ‘vertical communities’ so a rooftop concert was a perfect fit. It is not uncommon for some buildings to be over 20 stories with hundreds of residents stacked above each other. Unlike must outdoor concerts however, only residents in these buildings were able to watch the show. To make everything possible,organizers had to carefully hoist each piece of sound gear up a fire escape ladder to the roof of the three-storey walk-up apartment building where the event will be held.
“I hope our neighbours enjoy it,”remarked Jim Balakshin, the Director of Community Development, “I can’t think of a better time to host a rooftop concert to cheer people up,and bring everyone together for a common cause.”
The Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC has been leading community development in Metro Vancouver for over 120 years, and currently operates 16 neighbourhood houses, and an outdoor camp. These facilities have become second homes for many residents, and are a place to makes connections and build long-lasting relationships with neighbours from diverse backgrounds.
Gordon Neighbourhood House has served as a community hub in Vancouver’s West End since 1942. We have a history of working alongside our friends and neighbours to facilitate connection, engagement and collaboration, while seizing opportunities for community development. In the context of COVID-19 our programming may have changed, but our values remain.
Worry serves a useful purpose—it warns us of danger and it motivates us to find solutions. Worrying, however, that goes on for longer periods of time without cease, can lead to anxiety and a host of health problems. This 12-minute webinar Creating Calm: Simple Activities for Stressful Times” offers 5 practical activities for anyone looking to reduce worry and create calm for themselves, and also for those that they are supporting. This webinar comes with downloadable handouts that can be laminated and cleaned for safe reuse so they can be freely shared with others. It lasts for 12 minutes, and can be found here.
This webinar was created by Kristine Theurer, PhD who volunteers with Grace who is a senior support worker at Gordon House and the Jewish Seniors Alliance.
May in Canada is Asian Heritage Month. We are proud of the Asian heritage in our community and want to share some of the ways that we can all use this month to celebrate Asian culture and learn important history.
The 360 Riot Walk Tour gives participants the opportunity to learn about the history of the 1907 Vancouver Anti-Asian riots by engaging in a guided virtual walking tour that you can access free online here.
For the past five years, Gordon Neighbourhood House has worked alongside the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) to run the West End Food Hub. Delivered each Friday, our Hub was one of the largest neighbourhood-based emergency food programs in Greater Vancouver. We served over 500 people each week (in turn representing over 1500 people in our community), providing food access, hot meals, cooking education, produce markets, free counselling, clothing and household goods, family resource programming, referrals, advocacy and much more.
Greater Vancouver Food Bank recently announced that it would be closing all neighbourhood-based food distribution (including the West End Food Hub) and opening two locations at Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre. More information about the new locations is available here: https://foodbank.bc.ca/find-food/locations/
Gordon Neighbourhood House does not agree with the decision to close the West End Food Hub. We had committed to continue providing the Food Hub during COVID-19 as local food access is more important now than ever before.
Our members have voiced considerable anxiety about their food security amid the combined impacts of a public health crisis, economic crisis and the closure of supportive programs like the Food Hub. We hear you, and we have been working around the clock to find safe, healthy and dignified options for emergency food support. If you are in a tough spot and need support, please email email@example.com.
In the long-term, Gordon Neighbourhood House remains committed to ensuring dignified emergency food supports are available in the West End. If you are a local organization or businesses wanting to support us in providing emergency food access to the community, we need your help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Did you know that before Gordon House moved into 1019 Broughton Street it was the original location of the West End public library?
We have continued with this tradition by providing a free community lending library in our lobby. Although we are currently closed to the public, there are many other free lending libraries in our neighbourhood: on Cardero (at Nelson near Cardero Bottega), in Mole Hill, and on Pacific (at Thurlow).
This blog post contains information on West End resources for seniors, homeless services, food access, public toilets, and community news & connections. Words highlighted in green are links that you can click on to access further information.
The Better at Home Program helps seniors with day-to-day support from grocery shopping, friendly visits, and transportation to light housekeeping and minor home repairs. For West End and Coal Harbour residents, the program is being facilitated through the West End Seniors Network, please contact their Community Services Coordinator at email@example.com or call (604) 669-5051.
BetterMeals is a seniors service which offers a wide variety of dishes to choose from that are healthy, delicious, and satisfy a wide variety of specific dietary needs. For more information visit their website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org (604) 299-1877.
ElderDogCanada provides assistance to seniors and their canine companions including support obtaining food, animal hygiene, minor grooming, and transportation to and from the vet. For more information contact Jacqueline Henley at email@example.com
If you are an isolated person looking for assistance to get essential goods then please contact BC211. The website homepage also provides information on a variety of emergency resources.
There is a regularly updated emergency food & shelter resource map here and a print friendly version of emergency food & shelter resources here.
Coast Outreach Teamcan be reached at 604-669-2447. The Coast Resource Centre is closed but support and information is still available at T 604-683-3787 or M 604-603-9151.
For emergency harm reduction supplies you can contact Spikes on Bikes West End:8am – 2pm Monday to Saturday / 604-317-1315 call for service.
Information on the location and operating hours of the Food Bank are available here.
The food handling guidelines by the BC Centre for Disease Control outlines food issues that may arise at both the grocery stores and at home. It can be found here.
Our friends at Christchurch Cathedral 960 Burrard St are reopening their Wednesday cafe to do takeout meals from 11:30am-12:30pm with physical distancing measures in place.
Keep connected with your friends and neighbours in the West End with these two popular Facebook Groups : Vancouver West Enders (nightly 7pm cheers & other news from the community) and Photographing in the West End (photos & videos from residents in the West End).
I Lost My Gig is a Facebook group providing support and networking opportunities to artists and other vulnerable freelance or gig workers whose jobs have been affected by current restrictions.