Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grant Stories
The Neighbourhood Small Grant program was accepting applications when the pandemic was declared and the program had to pivot to adapt to this new normal. The Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grant program started April 15th, for "virtual" gatherings (following social distancing guidelines) and we have had some wonderful projects in West Vancouver and Lions Bay. Here are some to check out.
Compassion Care Packages for Seniors
Mila is part of a group that put together care packages for seniors in West Vancouver. Mila has spent many hours sewing and applying appliqués to her cute little Christmas stockings to cheer up our seniors who need a little bit of cheering. Mila was very resourceful and found fabric that she could re-purpose. The foundation kindly supplied the hot chocolate and chocolates that we put into the stockings.
Gillian operated “Randy’s wreath” which was a non-profit group who made Christmas items and sold them at Christmas fairs to raise money for the palliative ward at Lions Gate Hospital. Randy’s wreath was in operation for over 13 years. Gillian has kindly given all of her wonderful, high quality Christmas items to us so that we can help out our Seniors this Christmas. We are very thankful to Gillian as this has allowed us to really stretch our Neighbourhood grant funds.
Victoria and Bevin were the project leaders for this thoughtful project and many of these packages went to seniors through the West Vancouver Seniors' Activity Centre. Jill, from the Activity Centre, had these kind words to say to Victoria, Bevin and their team of volunteers:
"These are beautiful and will bring a much needed smile to the face of our seniors! Thank-you to you, Gillian and all the elves who are make Christmas feel magical this year! You will definitely light up our community!"
"Over the past few days I have been reading reports from our volunteer phone support team and the results are difficult to read, our seniors are struggling like never before. They are sharing their struggle of isolation, reporting they have not seen their children or grandchildren, feeling isolated and depressed, they are scared to leave their homes and they feel like they have lost their purpose. These holiday gifts will bring hope, compassion and connection. Thank-you for providing our seniors with the magic of the season in a package that provides them a little touch of community spirit and love!!"
Elders' Bannock Making Kits
"Our Elders had been asking for fresh, baked bannock bread. Bannock is a staple in many of our community gatherings and celebration meals. Our Elders were missing this since COVID has prevented them from gathering. Many Elders also did not know how to make it, so I thought why not create a kit where they could make it at home! With the help of my community and team at Squamish Nation, I was able to bring our Elders a bannock making kit, which included the recipe so they could make more in the future.
It was fun working with fellow Elders to pick up the ingredients and then carefully measure out each ingredient for each bag. We wanted this to be as easy as possible for our Elders, so we included all the dry ingredients to make one bannock loaf. Then, all that would need to be added was water! Since this would be the first time some Elders were making bannock at home, we encouraged participation by offering prizes for photos sent in. For many Elders, it was their first time also using technology to send in their photo and many received help from their children and grandchildren, a great win!
I truly thank the Foundation for considering our Elders for this project. Our Elders continue to tell me how much they enjoyed their baked bannock and continue to bake it with their grandkids! Our Elders and I greatly appreciate it!" Monica, Project Leader
Know North Shore
Cayley's love of the environment and ocean inspired her to want to create a community space online that allows the community to learn more about the marine wildlife species found while walking on our beautiful shorelines.
I did a massive amount of research, built a website from scratch, designed the logo, cold-called local businesses for door prize donations and more. This is exactly what I set out to do, and the only surprise was that it was a huge undertaking – way more work than I had anticipated! I learned that it’s necessary to be flexible and adapt when questions or issues come up. I also learned that there is a lot of support out there, you just have to take the time to ask!
The Know North Shore website is now up and running and you are invited to visit it where you can find out about the local wildlife, kids can share their artwork and more!
Gail's Garden, A Community Space
"Gail's Garden" is a lovely community space with a garden, sign, bench and info kiosk that a group of neighbours built together, with the help of a Neighbourhood Small Grant. This space, in a seniors' community, is honouring a 30-year resident and will allow the residents to enjoy this new beautified space. Thank you to Julie and the other wonderful volunteers!
Chasing Colour with Art
Local artist Sue Des Lauriers shares some of her stories, tips and inspirations, with the help of her family and friends. "My hopes, are that you try something new and take a chance and see if the art world is something you would like to explore."
"It's a Wonderful World" Art for Seniors
During this period of isolation, Maggie's usual volunteer commitments disappeared overnight. Then our Seniors' Activity Centre asked local artists to donate cards to be included in needy seniors' food boxes - and she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Maggie created small watercolour cards, tied with bright satin ribbons. The paintings are all of happy moments - kids with balloons or brightly coloured kites, ice dancers, dancers having a ball on the beach with coloured scarves, tambourines, and crazy hats!
In this small way, for people who are likely shut indoors more than usual, Maggie is trying to bring the outside world into their inside space - and into their hearts. The whole idea of this "It's a Wonderful World" project is to bring a smile to their day.
Brighten a Seniors Day with a Plant
A lovely group of residents purchased 100 flowering plants from Limelight Floral Design (at a discount) and delivered them to the seniors at Hollyburn House to brighten their day.
Writers Support Circle
This writers support circle used to meet in person, but due to COVID-19 they went online. Their creativity and talent really shines through and you can see their latest episode here. Check back for a special West Vancouver edition later this year.
Art From the Heart
The “Art from the Heart” project was done by a wonderful West Van student, and her friends, who are making art and messages to share with vulnerable and isolated seniors and others in West Van. Thank you ‘M’ for your caring, dedication and thoughtfulness!
Free On-line Fitness Classes
When "A"s gym closed she found many of her clients were finding it difficult to workout by themselves. Being passionate about fitness, "A" started a free online fitness class and will continue offering the free class as long as people are staying away from the gym.
Elders Wellness Bundles
Wellness bundles for Elders on the Squamish Nation were made and delivered by wonderful volunteers. The bundles included items like: sage smudging sticks, puzzle books, small crafts, tea, cookies, flowers, sanitizer, magazines and grooming supplies. It also included information on where to access mental and grocery supports through Squamish Nation. It is simple but brings a lot of joy to the Elders!
Community Garden Group
A vibrant gardening group with 70 members had flourished to include speakers meetings, gardening activities, field trips and social gatherings. With the pandemic the group wanted to stay active and connected but needed to change how they operated to stay within social distance guidelines. They were able to do this by having monthly e-newsletters, Zoom presentations, e-question and answer sessions by email or as a Facebook group, and a group seed planting day with free seeds for the community garden plot holders (with social distance guidelines). This no barrier activity has been able to keep the community connected and brings pure joy to the members.
Still Looking for Ideas
Some projects we've heard of are (just remember, they need to be free to attend and within social distance guidelines):
- Online fitness, art, games, flower arranging or cooking classes - perhaps drop off a kit for your participants prior to the online sessions!
- Care packages to vulnerable seniors or youth (within social distance guidelines)
- Cards and messages for vulnerable seniors
- Professionals offering webinars/video series with topics such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), learning at home, finances, music concerts, theatre productions, and fine art talks - ideally interactive with the audience