The Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment
aims to work in partnership with marginalized societal groups in a way that shows awareness and respect for their backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. We are a peer-generated grassroots initiative and we do not work under the constraints of any existing organizations. Instead of charity work, H.O.P.E.’s philosophy resonates around the concept of mutual aid—where there is a common established goal that guides our actions so that our events will benefit all parties involved.
THE FIRST IS STUDENT EMPOWERMENT,
where club members are given space and freedom to plan their own ideas and are provided with the resources and tools to do so. Each of our active members, whether or not they are in an executive position, will be offered the choice to take leadership of a sub-project of the larger club along with a small group of other students. In this way, new members not only take part in our events, they are also equipped with confidence and skill sets to tackle future projects or initiate new events out of their own ideas.
We Work Around Three Pillars.
OUR SECOND PILLAR IS OUTREACH WITHIN SCHOOLS.
With H.O.P.E.'s wish to challenge young people to reach deeper within their hearts and arrive at a place not just of sympathy but of true empathy for the people around them, we also reach out to and run events with the Life Skills Programs at high schools across Vancouver. This project aims to empower young people to engage in continual friendships with students with developmental disabilities, encouraging them to be open-minded of new experiences.
H.O.P.E. also works with immigrant ELL students as well as high school students. Our new project aims to develop a one-on-one mentorship program between university students and those who are prospective students at specific high schools. Although there are other mentorship programs at UBC, we hope to have UBC students foster a deep friendship with these high school students and to cater the mentorship program directly to the needs of the student. We wish to also collaborate with other initiatives such as the International Students Association as well as Students Taking Initiative in order to create a large scale conference for high school students seeking more information about the UBC campus. At UBC, H.O.P.E. also has plans to collaborate with The Wellness Center, UBC Longhouse as well as the Office of the Ombudsperson to reach out to students who may still be oppressed by hidden injustices and to help maintain the campus’ reputation for fairness and inclusivity.
IN OUR THIRD PILLAR, WE REACH OUT TOWARDS COMMUNITY GROUPS.
We have done work with populations such as the homeless with our project ‘Hope for Homes’. In this three-part project we work specifically with homeless or runaway youth through organizations such as Covenant House. What differentiates this project from other clubs is that H.O.P.E. gives its members opportunity to glimpse inside the world of a homeless community member. Instead of fundraising for money or other goods that are simply ‘donated’ to local organizations. The first part of our project ‘Clothing for the Community’ collects clothing from a school-wide clothing drive to go towards Covenant House Vancouver. However instead of simply donating these items, our members have the chance to create outfits as gifts for a certain youth or individual living at the shelter. This way, our members identify more readily with youth and are given an environment where empathy can be easily developed. The second part of our project, ‘Hampers for the Holidays’, enlists the support of local stores to donate basic necessities to create care packages for those living outside in the winter. With our continued efforts in our third event, Thank-a-Thons, we made over 1000 calls in the last two years to say thanks to donors all over Canada and to raise awareness for the fact that there are more homeless children and youth in Canada than adults and that they are the ones truly in need. Although these were components of our past projects, the events that H.O.P.E. decides to embark on changes from year to year based on emergency situations and the needs of those in our community. The story of H.O.P.E.’s creation and purpose was recently introduced on the international stage at We Day Vancouver 2014. With a connection to Free the Children, H.O.P.E. plans to carry out an international service project and increase UBC’s international community service presence sometime in the coming years.
In creating our new chapter here at UBC, H.O.P.E. also plans to start a blog “A City of Stories” in efforts to shed light on the issues that marginalized community members face. We hope that this blog, with featured profiles of the individuals we meet on our excursions, will help the UBC campus further appreciate and understand the lives of the people who have shaped and continue to shape Vancouver.