“None of my mentors ever told me how much I was getting in over my head..."

by Groundswell participant Andrea This week, we were joined by Tracey Axelsson the founder of MODO - Vancouver's car co-op, and currently the Executive Director of the Vancouver Community Network. A striking woman, her energy filled the space as she shared her experiences, what she has learned and who she is now. I admire her strength and her determination. At some point she said “none of my mentors ever told me how much I was getting in over my head. When I asked them why they said: because you kept growing” as an aspiring social entrepreneur I can only hope I might get to hear the same words! Reilly’s class then ended with a conversation on the digital divide in Vancouver, options for community-controlled Internet service and regulation that makes that difficult.

solidarity-fishFrom there we transitioned into Matt´s class where we had a deep talk about the Bologna cooperative, and trying to figure out how each of the cooperatives we have been researching fit into the bigger capitalist labyrinth.

Tuesday kept the “real world feeling” by focusing on successful loan interviews… go Gerry! As usual this class was full of useful insights, witty remarks and a handful of us trying to absorb –and remember- as much as possible.

Gilad´s class opened space for the Tin Can Studio run by Caroline Balhorn and Jenny Lee Craig (a Groundswell participant). A quick Google search will define this as a 1969 streamline trailer converted into a mobile art space and studio. Yet the Tin Can was a remarkable example of ingenuity, resilience, and adaptability as they succeeded in creating space in Vancouver, engaging community and offering a unique creative experience in the most unexpected places!

Tuesday came to a close as we were lead by Uffe into the elements that make a compelling presentation and were thus given our last chance to work on our consultation research and insights. Next week we will have only a brief rehearsal of the final presentation followed by the real deal on Wednesday night.

Wednesday afternoon was led by Amanda and devoted to seeking the connections between our projects, and although the group I was in was out of luck, it was amazing to see how each idea had continued to evolve… even since Monday!

This week came to a close with the surprising guests Brigette DePape and Cam Dales who talked about the unusual combination of empathy, humor and politics in their trajectory in ShitHarperDid the shd.ca site.

The weekly community time flew by as Chanel Ly shared with us the details of the fight against the demolition threat to 439 Powell Street. The building is operated by the Ming Sun Benevolent Society, and was working and occupied until late July 2013. It houses 8 maintained and low-income, affordable Single Room Occupancy units, studio spaces for the Instant Coffee Collective, and is home to the Ming Sun Reading Room. The closure of the building resulted in the displacement of 10 low-income seniors.

Also Kevin Elliot shared his proposal to create a Groundswell Media production project which was enthusiastically received and hopefully will continue to evolve.