Vancouver Parks Stewardship Program Launched!
EMBERS Eastside Works recently launched a Vancouver Parks Stewardship Pilot Program with help from the Vancouver Park Board and City of Vancouver. The pilot program currently includes 5 parks in East Vancouver and has employed 26 DTES community members. Joy is one such employee who is working as a Park Steward.
“This program has really helped me,” she says. “It’s like night and day from where I was to now. I’m happier because I can actually help other people as well. I make sure everyone shows up for their job and give them help if they need it.”
As a Park Steward, Joy hears firsthand the impact she’s having on our community.
“I’ve talked to people down at Commercial Drive and they said they’ve seen a big difference and they’re really happy about it. I’ve talked to the city workers as well and they were really happy as well. They said they’ve seen a big difference.”
What is the Vancouver Parks Stewardship Pilot Program?
The Vancouver Parks Stewardship Pilot Program hires residents from the DTES community. These workers help take care of park facilities and helps create meaningful connections with its users.
Vancouver Parks Stewards take on tasks such as oversight of the use of washrooms, picking up used needles, and performing general park maintenance. Park Stewards also act as peer outreach, referring park users to community agencies as needed.
Vancouver Parks Stewardship Program Community Impacts
The Vancouver Parks Stewardship Pilot Program provides job opportunities for people in the community who are re-entering the workforce. This alone helps lessen drug use and risky behaviours, gives people a sense of purpose and pride, and creates role models for others who are coming behind them. As a result, the Vancouver Parks Stewardship Program improves lives and livelihoods.
As a collaborative, community-run initiative, the Vancouver Parks Stewardship Pilot Program encourages a harmonious park experience for all park-goers to enjoy and use the space. Consequently, it’s a program that builds a welcoming, inclusive, and resilient community in the long term.