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Vancity Community Foundation

Fostering Change in Surrey: Wrapping the Community Around Kids Leaving Care

The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (SPRC) exists to foster collaboration in Surrey to address the unique challenges of people living in poverty. With our diverse membership and strong links with the City of Surrey, we are well placed to bring together the various sectors that will be needed to make a deep and lasting impact in the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people. Using the framework of “THIS is how we end poverty in Surrey”, which focuses on four key policy areas that affect people living in poverty: Transportation, Housing, Income and Supports, and working in partnership with youth in/from care, the SPRC will engage the community to do a radical rethinking of the ways in which youth are supported when they transition from the care of the MCFD, into adulthood. Bringing our whole community along, including business, philanthropists, unions, etc. we are keenly interested in rethinking the way that we meet the needs of these young people, and helping them to be supported in achieving their aspirations. Using a collective impact approach, we will: compile available information and research on youth in/from care in Surrey; convene two multi-stakeholder workshops toward developing a framework for further action; and host a public event that will include the "The 19th Birthday Party" art exhibit. All phases of the project will engage youth in/from care - "not about them without them".

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre

MSG Theatre Lab

In 2009, actor-producer David C. Jones wrote a letter to, decrying the troubling absence of nonwhite faces on Vancouver’s stages. This letter triggered a flurry of responses from many Vancouver theatre artists. All agreed this lack of diversity would eventually doom Vancouver theatre into becoming socially irrelevant. Within such unforgiving cultural terrain, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre plays a pivotal role in boldly promoting cultural diversity on Canada’s West Coast. Launched in 2012, our MSG Theatre Lab play development program addresses the challenge of visible minority underrepresentation by finding, developing and showcasing the next generation of Asian Canadian playwrights. Far more effective than simply encouraging diversity in casting, we believe writers alone possess the unique potential to create lasting change. The stories they choose to tell, and the characters they create have the power to affect the way people think and feel about the most important social issues of our time. Our aim is to create a canon of Asian Canadian plays ready to be produced professionally in Vancouver theatres. In doing so, we hope to create a series of cascading changes that will ultimately impact the entire cultural landscape in far-reaching ways.

Vancouver Island University

Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

The “Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program" offers prison-based post-secondary academic courses to groups composed of both university students (hereinafter called outside learners) and incarcerated students (hereinafter called inside learners) who learn together. Founded in 1997 in Philadelphia by one university professor inspired by one incarcerated man, the program is based on the simple hypothesis that incarcerated men and women and college/university learners might mutually benefit from studying together as peers. Together, they build classroom communities based on dialogue, collaboration and serious, shared inquiry. The Inside-Out Program places a human face on justice issues while giving both inside and outside learners a powerful academic and experiential learning opportunity, grounded in a philosophy recognizing that each human being has innate worth and a story to tell. Expansion of Inside-Out into Canada offers the chance to implement and evaluate the program’s impact in a country with a different population and systems. VIU will be among the first five universities in Canada, and the second Criminology department, to offer Inside-Out, building on the successful experiences of over 140 US universities and colleges.