The Care Village: a place for all people
Created September 28, 2011 by MaryAnne Connor
The Care Village: a place for all people
“Every time I fall through the cracks I’m able to come and get something to eat, some clothing. It’s always nice to know you’ve got somewhere to go, even when you feel like there’s nowhere to go – that’s NightShift.” - Resident of the street
A place to go: your vote can help create a more permanent solution.
Addiction and mental illness touch everyone’s lives. When someone in our family or neighbourhood, a friend or a work colleague struggles, isn’t it our social responsibility to reach out and draw them in? Any assistance, no matter how small, helps extend bridges and build strong, safe communities.
Welcome to the Care Village: a refuge for people who wrestle with addiction, mental or physical illness, who have no place to turn for help and who may find themselves alone, living on the street.
Located in a rural setting in northern BC, the Care Village offers short and long-term programs for recovery, healing and growth. The community setting provides a safe haven to start the process of healing and reintegration, by incorporating therapy and education, social, life and vocation skills.
Our vision is for people to find a renewed sense of hope and purpose, and know they are loved and accepted unconditionally.
As a place for all people, regardless of background, financial status or spiritual beliefs, the Care Village is a place of safety for those who are wounded and broken from disconnected relationships, mental or physical illness or seeking recovery from various addictions and substance abuse.
The Care Village offers all the major attributes of safe community living: a nurturing accommodation, social participation, practical training and work experience, the opportunity to learn new skills and explore any leisure activities that the property offers. Residents participate in the running and self-sustainability of the Care Village by growing and producing the food, managing the animals and manufacturing products for own use and sale. Program participants, professionals, volunteers and staff all live together in community as each works through his or her unique healing process.
The Care Village will be operated by NightShift Street Ministries, a frontline, non-profit organization. Since its inception one frigid Vancouver winter night in 2004, NightShift has remained committed to helping individuals struggling to find warmth, shelter and understanding on the streets of the Lower Mainland of BC.
What founder, MaryAnne Connor, witnessed that first and every successive night, is that the people seeking shelter and a friendly face are no different from you or her. In a small community church in one of the Lower Mainland’s poorest neighbourhoods, people soaked through and shivering with cold came into the warmth, received a hot drink, a meal and shelter from the winter’s chill.
From that unassuming start, NightShift has grown into a viable outreach and care provider, offering a range of relevant social programs to people in need, living in poverty or finding themselves homeless.
Building on its nightly food service, today NightShift has a unique six-phase holistic care program. The Care Village is the newest phase. All programs are facilitated by licensed counsellors and trained caregivers. Each phase is able to operate independently or synergistically within each phase.
NightShift’s hundreds of outreach volunteers serve meals prepared by local churches or donated by businesses in the community. Volunteers come from as far away as Vancouver to the west and Abbotsford to the east. As well as serving meals, volunteers hand out clothing and personal care kits and offer friendship, hope and prayer. Volunteers come out 365 days a year, whether in adverse weather conditions or on warm summer evenings, to serve up to 150 people each night through NightShift’s mobile kitchen.
The AVIVA funding will ensure the Care Village is equipped to receive its first residents in September 2012. As the lands and the buildings have been vacant for a few years, both need sprucing up. We are asking AVIVA for $150,000 to undertake the large task of renovating the Selah House (men’s residence), the counselling centre and the chapel. Furnishings are also required, especially for the residence, from beds to dishes.
NightShift believes that even the smallest effort multiplied by many people has an enormous impact in making a difference in helping to guide people to a new and happier life.
Your vote could make a difference in the life of an individual in need. Each vote is a step towards building a community. Your vote, the votes of your friends and anyone else you wish to include in this venture, will help raise a village. A village of care and healing, as an alternative to living life in suffering, exclusion and without a place to call home.