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Union counsellors get up close and personal

Posted: June 9, 2016

Union Counsellors tour United Way-funded agencies.
Union Counsellors tour United Way-funded agencies.

The 12th Annual Union Counsellors’ Agency Tour took place Friday, June 3. Twelve union counsellors gained valuable knowledge about community resources that they can now share with fellow union members.

The day started at United Way of the Lower Mainland’s office in Burnaby. Mervyn Van Steinburg, Director of the CLC Labour Participation Department and Jeff Calbick, Vice President of Community Impact and Investment, welcomed the group before they set off to visit three United Way-funded agencies: YWCA’s Crabtree Corner, Kiwassa and Gordon Neighbhourhood Houses.

Crabtree Corner houses a range of programs and services to help marginalized women and families living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. From transitional housing for expecting and new mothers with substance use issues to child care, parenting programs, a community kitchen and violence prevention, Crabtree meets women and families where they’re at, providing them with the support to move forward in life.

Kiwassa Neighborhood House is a gathering place where people of all ages, cultures and walks of life can make friends, participate in programs, find resources, share ideas, and contribute to community life. They provide a broad range of accessible, free and affordable programs for children, youth, families, seniors and adults, and volunteer and leadership opportunities in the northeast Vancouver.

At Vancouver’s West End Gordon Neighborhood House, Executive Director Paul Taylor led a round table discussion about food security and the impact neighborhood houses have on community. Gordon Neighborhood House has served as a community hub in Vancouver’s West End since 1942.

Joining the Agency Tour for the first time, says Andrew Gwaartney, ILWU member. “The agency tour was super informative, and extremely thought provoking! I’ll hopefully get to join this agency tour again next year,” he said.

The CLC United Way Union Counselling program is a cornerstone of the Labour and United Way Partnership and has been in place for 37 years. The program is prevention based with a goal of helping union members in the workplace. The program can be an integral part of a union’s involvement in building and strengthening the community, as well as monitoring the wellness of the worksite and offering front-line counselling help.