I had a very interesting time last night. I was in downtown Victoria to view a movie at The Victoria Film Festival. The movie is “Fathers and Sons” and I would highly recommend it. It will be shown again next Sunday at the Capitol 6 cinemas. The movie is a great exploration of the often complex relationship between fathers and sons, and is at times deeply poignant, thought provoking and hilarious. It is a fine example of non-Hollywood Canadian film making which most of us do not get to see outside of film festivals. It is sad to see such quality cinema unavailable outside of a few festivals every year. It is the hard reality of the purview of movie distributors.
While I was walking to the theatre, I came upon the Y’s street van and caught the eye of Betty, who I hired in 2004. Betty has been doing an outstanding job on the front lines of outreach work with marginalized youth for the last seven years. Betty brings a wealth of experience, training and insight to the job and is held in high regard by the youth she works with regularly and the assorted social services professionals with whom she interacts. We didn’t exchange pleasantries. Betty immediately launched into the sad results of the latest round of an RFP (Request for Proposal) process by the Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD). Betty was now operating the program solo. Her colleague for the past seven years, Travis, had worked his last shift last Thursday. With MCFD shifting their funding to another agency, it puts the whole project in jeopardy. VIHA (Vancouver Island Health Authority) provides the bulk of the remaining funding for the street van and one wonders how long they will continue that process now that the service hours are reduced and the other funder has departed. It is another sad story in the unravelling of our social support fabric in Victoria. My thoughts go out to both Betty and Travis, and my thanks for your years of dedicated and superb service delivery on the streets of Victoria.