Leading With Hope: Reflections from Our Community Council Chair

The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light has a special place in my heart.  I first volunteered at the soup kitchen in 2002 and it was an incredible experience for me to see firsthand how the Harbour Light was changing lives in the Downtown Eastside.   I was amazed by the warm friendliness of the Harbour Light staff as I heard their conversations with the folks coming into the soup kitchen.  The staff members knew their names and their stories.  I saw compassion, empathy, and respect being shown to people who had been marginalized by mainstream society.

At the end of the day, the people coming into the Harbour Light are someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, mother, father, uncle, nephew, aunt, niece, cousin, etc.  Unfortunately, life has been a difficult journey as certain circumstances pulled them off a positive trajectory.  In some cases, those circumstances were out of their control.   

The Vancouver Harbour Light welcomes everyone with open arms and shows them unconditional love.  I’m amazed that many of the Harbour Light staff were former clients and they are giving back to save others after being saved themselves.  It is a beautiful cycle of paying it forward and lives being changed.  I love how the Harbour Light is doing practical things like building job skills, education, and providing end-to-end care for people who need a second chance in life (sometimes multiple chances).   

Over the past two decades, as a community council member, I’ve had several opportunities to help support the Vancouver Harbour Light through volunteer teams as well as coordinate grants which helped fund the Learning Center.  I’m proud to see how far the Harbour Light has come over the past two decades and I’m excited to see the incredible work it will do in the decades ahead.  The world is a tough place but it’s compassion, empathy, and respect in community which helps us get through.  We can all make it through this journey together. 

Andrew S. Kim – Chair

Principal Enterprise Architect, BC Hydro

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