(Contributed)                                 Sunny Schiller and Monica Hampu at the October 2018 Community Chest BBQ Fundraiser at Save-On Foods.

(Contributed) Sunny Schiller and Monica Hampu at the October 2018 Community Chest BBQ Fundraiser at Save-On Foods.

On Community: ‘We are stronger when we work together’

The Coffee Social is happening from 1-3 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Maple Ridge library.

Every step matters. That was a line I jotted down while listening to Joe Roberts share some of his life story at the May Community Network meeting.

Joe was at the meeting to make a presentation about the impact that those who work in social services can make on the lives of individuals.

After Joe benefited from the services and support of a few caring individuals in his own life, he went on to overcome addiction and become a successful businessman, known as the ‘Skid Row CEO.’

Joe wanted to pay forward some of the support that he had received and started the “Push for Change” campaign to bring attention to the issue of youth homelessness.

Joe spent over 500 days pushing a shopping cart across Canada with the goal of raising awareness about youth homelessness and raising funds to address this issue. With the cross-country trek now complete, Joe continues to share his time and his story to keep pushing to end youth homelessness.

Joe’s presentation to the Community Network was a highlight of 2018 for me as its coordinator. Joe has shown many people across Canada the power of being brave enough to share your own story with others. Being willing to step up and put yourself out there as the face of a social issue has the potential to change the people’s understanding about how social factors and systemic issues influence individual lives.

It takes courage to do what Joe has done. I believe it also takes courage to be a politician and to step up to represent your community. I’m grateful to our MP, Dan Ruimy, and to our MLAs, Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare, for also being involved with the network this year.

These three politicians have taken the time to engage with our members, to listen to their ideas and thoughts.

The constituency staff of these elected representatives also deserve a shout out – they do a great job here in the community, know a ton about what’s going on and are always ready to jump in and get involved.

This past year the Community Network has had a focus on strengthening communication, making the best use of the technological tools that are available to spread the word about the amazing services and events our members provide.

Good communication supports the community of collaboration that the network is all about.

We know there’s more to be done on this front and will continue working to ensure that information is available when and how people need it.

During 2018, the Community Network working groups have been getting the right people together at the table and focusing on one issue or demographic.

One of the current working groups is Stop Overdose Ridge Meadows. This group brings together brings together individuals with lived experience and the City of Maple Ridge, Alouette Addictions, Fraser Health, RainCity Housing, the Salvation Army, School District No. 42, and others to respond to the opioid overdose crisis.

The group has brought some innovative community-based strategies to respond to the crisis locally. They’ve just opened a pop-up gallery on 224th Street to share the Humans of Maple Ridge photo project and other arts focused on reducing stigma and increasing compassion.

Drop by and check it out.

Other groups focus on services for kids, increasing food security, supporting literacy, and issues facing seniors. These groups benefit from the different skills, knowledge and resources of the organizations participating.

We are stronger when we work together.

Over the last five years, the working groups have brought over $750,000 in funds into our community to provide free and low-cost services, programs and resources for children, families and community members of all ages.

To celebrate the holiday season, the Community Network and the City of Maple Ridge will be hosting a Community Christmas Coffee Social. All are welcome,

The Coffee Social is happening from 1–3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11 in the Fraser Room at the Maple Ridge library. This is a nice way for local organizations to connect with the public during the holidays. Come join us for coffee, tea, treats and some fun activities.

Through meetings, presentations, and community events, Community Network members are doing what we can where we can to make a difference. Working to solve social issues is tough, with so many different contributing factors to tackle.

That’s why every step matters.

Sunny Schiller is co-ordinator of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Katzie

Community Network.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Prep teacher Ola Cholewa shows local environmentalist Jack Emberly posters that students from the Fish Ladder Awareness Team made to promote a fish ladder along the Alouette River. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New club in fight for fish ladder in Maple Ridge

The Environmental School club creating awareness about the need for a fish ladder on the Alouette

Keith Kartzewski captured a fogbow, when fog refracts light in the shape of a rainbow but without the bright colours. This was taken in Pitt Meadows Feb. 19, 2021. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Fogbow photographed in Pitt Meadows

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The Pitt Meadows Art Gallery will be running a photography exhibition through February and March.
Pitt Meadows Art Gallery featuring photography

Pros and amateurs submitted their images on a variety of themes

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

Most Read