by Larianna Brown
Summer Project Award 2004: Final Report (Excerpt)
I’ve heard the quiet resolve in a woman’s voice when she tells me she has just put her name into a computer database system that will allow her five children, who have been in foster care since they were born, to finally contact her if they want to. I’ve seen the look of pride on a 56 year old woman’s face as she shyly confides in me that she’s gotten over 90% on every Math 11 test she’s taken so far and that she’s going to finally get her htgh school diploma. The fact that I’m a vegetarian has been a great source of amusement to many Crabtree Comer kitchen volunteers and we’ve all laughed at how much I squirm when asked to prepare any kind of meat. I have also heard stories of drunken fathers and separated families and I’ve served women food who are so high they need help carrying their plate to the table. I’ve heard women yelling and swearing at their children and have had to tell hungry women that have waited in line for two hours to finally be served lunch, that we are out of food.
ln short, working at Crabtree Corner has made me feel more solidarity for the women of the Downtown Eastside. I am now painfully aware of the inadequate childcare, housing, and welfare regulations that govern this province and that appear to be aimed at keeping poor women poor. I am also more aware of the activities and initiatives that are underway in the Downtown Eastside to change these regulations and to provtde altematwe support to women, and I am driven to be more politically active in social issues affecting women in Vancouver. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to continue working at Crabtree Corner for the next seven weeks as I feel that my contribution to the social venture project will be enhanced upon leamtng from these reflections.