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Foundation Projects: Youth Boulevard Shelter Project
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Lookout Boulevard Shelter in Surrey: Celebrating and Looking Beyond Today for Green, Sustainable ideas for our Future Needs
August 28, 2017 -- When it comes to creating a culture of caring in Surrey, Lookout Emergency Aid Society lead by example. With Lookout's support, Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation was able to set up a community garden in their Boulevard Shelter's courtyard. The Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation's Eco-Friendly Woodworking Program continues to celebrate the people and projects that are making our community more environmentally sustainable. This project was a collaboration between the Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation and the Boulevard Shelter in Surrey. We extend our gratitude to the Village Surrey Transition Initiative and the Surrey Blue Dot Movement for inspiring all of us to initiate positive and productive actions towards clean air, water and land. The purpose was to engage individuals, neighborhoods and organizations to take action and affirm our commitment to building sustainable communities.
In celebrating the theme of environmental sustainability, Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation and the Boulevard Shelter initiated a shelter beautification project which focuses on economic sustainability and healing. We developed a summer beautification and Eco-Friendly Woodworking Program which focuses on building confidence and community while developing life skills and a greater connection with nature. We were fortunate to receive pallet and recycled wood from Home Depot, Fraser Valley Equipment Inc., Signarama, Bosa Properties, local neighbors and surrounding renovation and construction projects in Whalley and Newton. We provided all the power tools to build and stain West Coast rustic, outdoor furniture. Working together, we launched a ground breaking community healing garden and a unique "Do-it-together beautification and Eco-Friendly Woodworking Program" featuring recycled, repurposed, thrifted and upcycled supplies and items. We used various economic sustainable strategies for employing existing recycled resources optimally so that a responsible and beneficial balance can be achieved over the longer term.
This program meets regularly on Fridays to manage and share logistical tasks of coordinating the Eco-Friendly Woodworking Program, and to support each other socially and emotionally. We continue to acknowledge the importance of building relationships and developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed group support system. Like any successful relationship, a very effective group needs to be constantly nurtured and re-created. Our work has become generative, not extractive. Extractive community work is what happens when one project or group simply extracts resources and capacity from another group. Generative community work, however, is about "working together" in ways that generate more cooperation, energy, healing, interest and engagement.
In addition, we offered the opportunity for Boulevard Shelter's clients to build skills and valuable experience that can be used for resumes when re-entering the workforce. We initiated a peer-run mentoring program. Peers are people, who through their own lived experience, can relate to and mentor others. For vulnerable population served by the shelter, many of the same challenges that cause homelessness (physical, or mental illnesses, substance use, disabilities) reap havoc on a person's self esteem and their ability to even imagine stability in their lives such as maintaining a job.
While supportive shelter services and housing provide stability and works with residents on areas such as life skills and community engagement, tenants commonly face many challenges in attempting to find and maintain employment, including mental health issues, addictions and other disabilities. However, employment access opportunities that lead to employment can play an important role in recovery and contribute to ending homelessness. Employment also increases confidence, provides individuals with a feeling of success and supplements their income for daily living expenses. Lookout Emergency Aid Society was honored with a Community Partner of the Year Award by Options Community Services Whalley WorkBC-Employment Services Centre. This award recognizes contributions to the community and the job opportunities provided to those struggling with unemployment. The Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation's Eco-Friendly Woodworking pilot project offered an excellent opportunity for individuals to spend their time productively. At the same time they begin to believe in themselves and take pride in their abilities. As our Foundation offers opportunities to develop leadership skills to youth attending our programs, Boulevard shelter's leadership and contributions are an excellent example of people working together.
Many thanks to Lookout's Boulevard Shelter for their long-standing dedication, excellence in customer service, and generosity to our community. We feel extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity by Boulevard Shelter to engage with the community in such an important way, and to have youth in the community volunteering. At Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation, we believe that providing our students with positive and community based volunteer activities is an essential part of their development growing into responsible and capable citizens.
The Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation appreciates the Village Surrey Transition Initiative and the Surrey Blue Dot Movement for encouraging and inspiring all of us to respond to contemporary environmental sustainability challenges. These challenges include climate change, scarce cheap oil, and economic sustainability and volatility. Essentially, the initiative fosters community connections, food security, healing, and the development of skills, knowledge and technologies to transition to a less energy intensive and healthier way of life. Thank you for providing the opportunity for all of us to participate in a caring, giving, greener, and friendlier community. Together we can create a world of caring and consideration in our community.
- Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation
Principles of the Transition Initiative
We build healthy communities, appreciate our natural environment and sustain our economic vitality. Transition is an approach rooted in values and principles. These are described slightly differently in different parts of the global movement:
We respect resource limits and create resilience --The urgent need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, greatly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and make wise use of precious resources is at the forefront of everything we do.
We promote inclusivity and social justice--The most disadvantaged and powerless people in our societies are likely to be worst affected by rising fuel and food prices, resource shortages and extreme weather events. We want to increase the chances of all groups in society to live well, healthy and sustainable livelihoods.
We pay attention to balance--In responding to urgent, global challenges, individuals and groups can end up feeling stressed, closed or driven rather than open, connected and creative. We create space for reflection, celebration and rest to balance the times when we are busily getting things done. We explore different ways of working which engages our heads, hands and hearts and enable us to develop collaborative and trusting relationships.
We are part of an experimental, learning network--Transition is a real-life, real-time global social experiment. Being part of a network means we can create change more quickly and more effectively, drawing on each other's experiences and insights. We want to acknowledge and learn from failure as well as success- if we are going to be bold and find new ways of living and working, we will not always get it right first time. We will be open about our processes and will actively seek and respond positively to feedback.
We freely share ideas and power--Transition is a grassroots movement, where ideas can be taken up rapidly, widely and effectively because each community takes ownership of the process themselves. Transition looks different in different places and we want to encourage rather than unhelpfully constrain that diversity.
We collaborate and look for synergies--The transition approach is to work together as a community, unleashing our collective genius to have a greater impact together than we can as individuals. We look for opportunities to build creative and powerful partnerships across and beyond the Transition movement and develop a collaborative culture, finding links between projects, creating open decision-making processes and designing events and activities that help people make connections.
We foster positive visioning and creativity--Our primary focus is not being against things, but on developing and promoting positive possibilities. We believe in using creative ways to engage and involve people, encouraging them to imagine the future they want to inhabit. The generation of new stories is central to this visionary work, as having fun and celebrating success.
We adopt subsidiarity (self-organization and decision making at the appropriate level) --The intention of the Transition model is not to centralize or control decision making, but rather to work with everyone so that it is practiced the most appropriate, practical and empowering level.
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