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Raising the capacity of the community in the Downtown Eastside

Great Beginnings projects that raise the capacity of the community

SOLEfood Farm -- a small production farm on leased urban lots.

Documentary: Seeds of the Inner City

The purpose of the Pioneering Urban Food Production in the DTES project was to produce a documentary film about the SOLEfood Farm, the first urban farm in Vancouver run by inner city residents. The documentary, entitled Seeds of the Inner City, was directed by Colombian-Canadian filmmaker, Andrés Salas.

Great Beginnings supports employment and training opportunities, such as commissioned totem carving

Employment and training opportunities

The Great Beginnings Program supports job-creating projects -- initiatives that hire, train, and provide meaningful skills-building opportunities for community members, such as individuals who suffer from mental health and addictions, new female immigrants, and local homeless / under-housed population.

Great Beginnings and EMBER partner to create the Sew a Legacy program

Sew a Legacy

In 2009, the Great Beginnings Program partnered with EMBERS, an inner-city social enterprise, to foster the business acumen and skills of inner-city women through sewing projects. Using street banners destined for the landfill, the project produced 1,100 sports bags, which were distributed to inner-city schools as part of the Sport Fit Program.

Community monitors in the Downtown Eastside

Toilet accessibility in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)

In the Downtown Eastside (DTES), there has been a call for more public toilets. Homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness place even more pressure on the limited resources that are available, and result in laneways being used as alternatives to public toilets. Great Beginnings teamed with community partner the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) to respond to this need.

First Nations Homework Club at Lord Strathcona Elementary School

First Nations Homework Club

In 2008, the Strathcona First Nations Homework Club was launched to ensure that aboriginal students achieve increased academic success. Approximately 20 to 30 students take part in the Homework Club each day, and the program continues to operate successfully since the Great Beginnings Program invested in its initial seed funding.

Megaphone Magazine writing workshop

Megaphone Magazine

With support from the Great Beginnings Program, Megaphone runs a series of writing workshops in the Downtown Eastside and downtownVancouver for marginalized writers. These workshops are run in treatment centres, social housing buildings, and community centres.

Heart of the City Festival celebrating Vancouver's urban village -- the Downtown Eastside

Heart of the City Festivals

Since 2008, the Great Beginnings Program has supported the Heart of the City Festival in celebrating the history, culture and people of the DTES.

The Downtown Eastside's HomeGround Festival in Oppenheimer Park

HomeGround Festival: February 8 – 10, 2017

Three days from 11:00am to 8:00pm of the best food and entertainment in the Downtown Eastside provided for homeless and under-housed residents at Oppenheimer Park.

Oppenheimer Park community garden

Oppenheimer Park Community Garden

Oppenheimer Park Community Garden was created in the north eastern corner of Oppenheimer Park and will be overseen by local organizations.The garden increases community involvement in the local food system and cultural traditions, and improves community capacity to deal with food security.

Great Beginnings support the Downtown Community Court

Community Court Placement Worker

Downtown Community Court (DCC) is a program that gives offenders an opportunity to make direct amends for the offences they have committed in the Downtown East Side. Great Beginnings provided funding for a Community Court Supervisor for the first year of DCC’s operations.

A Clean Street micro-cleaning team at work in the Downtown East Side.

Street Cleaning Grant Program

In a partnership with local social enterprise organizations, 60 easy-to-access employment opportunities have been created for individuals with barriers to traditional employment. Clean Street participants provide micro-cleaning of city lanes and streets throughout the Downtown East Side.