Sprott Shaw College Students Provide 350 Meals for Downtown East Side Residents
For over a year now the students and staff at the East Vancouver campus have been working with Directions Youth Services, an organization that is located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. This organization works with the homeless youth and those battling addictions in the downtown Vancouver area. Thanks to some very driven and eager students and their CSW Instructor, they have developed an ongoing partnership with Directions that has allowed them to come together to collect donations, meal prep at their facility, package and deliver between 200 to 300 hot meals to those living on the streets of Vancouver and the Downtown East Side.
On Wednesday, July 18th, the East Vancouver Campus was humbled and fortunate enough to partake again in this community outreach, this time the students worked incredibly hard and put together over 350 meals and drinks to hand out to those in need. The Community Support Worker – Social Services (CSW-SS) students volunteered their time and efforts to prep, cook and package the meals and students from our Practical Nursing (PN) cohorts came out to the DES to help handout our meals and interact with those who are the most in need.
Besides the obvious feel-good vibes one gets when being apart of such an experience, and our campus has been fortunate enough to have experienced this now 4 times, it is also amazing to see the humbling and educational realization experienced by the students. An opportunity like this is a life lesson that cannot be taught in a classroom. In all of our programs and the Sprott Shaw College organization as a whole, we teach the importance of having respect for others and treating everyone equally with dignity regardless of who they are or their situation. It’s through events like this that our students have had some very real interactions and conversations that have brought these textbook lessons to life. Many Students thank us for these opportunities, or for pushing us to give back and get involved, or simply share tear and tell me how easily this could have been the life they were living if it hadn’t been for one positive life-changing choice.
Being involved in the community has always been in the heart of Sprott Shaw College, but the credit truly goes to our students and staff who recognize that there is a bigger purpose and need for a few people to come together and make a difference. A young fellow came up to the Campus Director after he had eaten a warm meal and asked to speak to me, very polite and quiet. He simply asked if these were my students and I said yes, and with tears in his eyes he said thank you, this is the first thing I have eaten in 4 days, please thank every one of your students for me. He smiled turned and walked away only to start helping to pick up the garbage and clean up, she told him that all of us here would take care of that, he said this was the least he could do to show his appreciation.
We are so incredibly proud of the students from our campus – some will recognize the difference they have made right away, some may realize it later on, but that the only thing that truly matters is that they made those who were in need the most feel, cared for, respected and appreciated.