Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice
The youth volunteers at Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice, who call themselves The Sticky Rice Collective, are a vibrant group of young people building cultural connections with their elders. By reaching out to seniors in Chinatown, who are often isolated and hesitant to engage in community activities, these volunteers support access to health care (accompanying seniors to and interpreting at medical appointments), and create community connections (organizing community events such as Moon Festival celebrations). This model for reaching often-marginalized seniors is also beneficial for the volunteers who learn valuable cultural and life lessons from their elders.
Seniors supported by the volunteers feel empowered and confident in engaging with the community. By establishing community partnerships (such as with United Way and the City’s Chinatown Transformation Team), Yarrow has enabled those agencies to now reach a group which they had difficulty doing so in the past. Yarrow provides an innovative model of diversity and inclusion work that serves as a positive example of cultural resilience and community building.
Sarah Helene Beley
Sarah Beley is the dedicated and tireless operations manager for Working Gear Clothing Society, a non-profit organization that eliminates barriers to employment by providing low-income individuals with industry-appropriate work clothing and gear for free. In addition to holding another full-time job, Sarah has developed a team of 30 volunteers and supported up to 1,000 people each year in a compassionate and non-judgemental way, as they transition back to the workforce.
Recognizing that the needs of her clients go beyond clothing, Sarah created an on-site weekly barber shop so they can get a hair cut to present their best face on the job with dignity and self-respect. She also became a Naloxone trainer and conducted sessions with the volunteers to ensure everyone knows how to deal with overdoses in or near the shop which is in the Downtown Eastside. Sarah has made important partnerships with local employment agencies, homeless shelters, and numerous community organizations to ensure Working Gear helps everyone who needs it and to make sure donated clothing and other items which Working Gear isn’t able to use gets distributed to those who can.
Sarah’s deep and meaningful dedication to her clients and the community contributes immeasurably to Vancouver’s vibrancy and liveability.
Tayybeh: A Celebration of Syrian Cuisine
From its humble beginnings as a single pop-up diner in October 2016, to a flourishing social enterprise that is shattering obstacles for refugee and newcomer women (particularly from Syria), Tayybeh is now an award-winning catering company, food truck, and pop-up dinner creator – and so much more.
In two short years, Tayybeh has created opportunities for women new to Canada who endured unspeakable horrors. Most don’t speak English, are socially isolated, and financially insecure. Tayybeh provides them with opportunities to develop their already excellent culinary skills, share inter-cultural exchange, and introduce themselves to Vancouverites in a way that negates stereotypes about newcomers. Tayybeh successfully created a unique model to help communities and families make ends meet and feel empowered in a sustainable way.
In addition, Tayybeh offers cooking classes sponsored by the City, sells packaged Syrian food in markets, and donates food and time to impoverished neighbourhoods. They're breaking down barriers to success for refugee communities, and contributing to the development of a strong social fabric in Vancouver – truly living up to its name, which means both “generous” and “delicious” in Arabic.