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