Talk is cheap, and Vancouver's Mark Brand exemplifies the social entrepreneur who's all about getting things done. Brand's business isn't about stuffing his personal bottom line. Over coffee at his diner, Save On Meats, he shared his vision and goal for being a leader and creating a social business model that's independently sustainable, while supporting the local community.
With support from Electronics Arts, the Directions Youth Services media room helps street youth find the voice many never realized was inside them. Co-ordinator Colin Ford and the staff teach music, art, audio recording, film-making, computer literacy, digital media skills and teamwork. They provide an opportunity for social inclusion and creative expression where it might not have existed before.
My concern for the homeless is not altruistic. I know what feeds my desire to do something, anything, for fellow human beings who have nothing: guilt, responsibility, memories -- knowing that there but for the grace of God go I. My youngest brother, Erik, has been living off and on the streets for 30 years. My family hasn't seen him in 15 years.
Over the past weeks, Pivot Legal Society has talked to homeless men in Stanley Park and documented six assaults in the last month. Some of the victims have talked to the police, some have chosen not to report, and instead are finding more isolated places to sleep in an attempt to avoid detection by would-be assailants. This recent series of assaults against homeless men is not surprising in light of research looking at rates of victimization among homeless people.