How it all began...
Well, here it is. The Vancouver Care Project. From a young age, I had always been inspired and passionate about changing the world. However, my mindset always seemed to be global. I knew that there were children starving in Africa, going without clean water and sanitation and that there were millions of children world wide who did not receive an education. But, it never really occurred to me that were people in my own country, my own community who needed help as well. In fact, it took me travelling half way across the world to Tanzania where I learned to importance of gratitude, kindness and acceptance but also the need my own community had for help and advocacy.
When I returned home I began volunteering for soup kitchens and going for walks on the Downtown Eastside handing out candy bags to those who suffered from addictions. Through my experiences I learned about homelessness and poverty in my community but also met incredible people with inspiring and eye opening stories. I was so captivated by their stories, but it really bothered me that they weren't being heard. So many times I have heard people talk down about those living on the streets whether it be due to fear or ignorance and I wished that I could show everyone that just like you and I that they were people too. I was also very aware of the fact that it wasn't their fault, they just didn't know any better and have never been exposed to what these people were really like, which is why I wanted to start this project even more. As I learned about what I could do to change the world, a reoccurring theme that always seemed to show up was, "use your passions and your talents to change the world". For me finding the talents I could use to help create change was a little difficult. I wasn't a great baker, I am terrible at singing and dancing and I can manage to make a stick man look hard to recognize and athletic wasn't exactly words that jumped to mind while describing myself. But as I thought about it and talked with my friends and family, I realized that my passions, that my gifts were my ability to talk with people, my empathy and my love of story telling and that was when the idea of this project really came to be. Originally, this started out as a dream, something that I wanted to start but wasn't totally sure how too or if I could. After attending the United Nations Youth Assembly and meeting hundreds of people my age who were doing amazing things and making change in their communities, I gained so much confidence and became more empowered than ever, so I returned home and started the Vancouver Care project.
Even though it is still young and I have just started, I have met so many amazing people and had so much support that has made this journey possible and even more exciting. Without the support of my amazing mother, the resourceful and supportive staff at Saint Thomas More, especially Mr. Mattiazzo and Mr. Garland, the people from the Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Holy Trinity Soup Kitchen for opening their doors to me and my encouraging sisters and friends cheering me along every step of the way this never would have been possible. I am so excited to see where this journey takes me, I have already met so many interesting people and learned so much about the world around me. I can't wait to see what this adventure brings. So, please sit back and join me on this journey to meet new people, uncover the causes of homelessness and poverty and make a change in our community.