Pendants Provide Purpose during a Pandemic

“They were very popular and sold out in less than 2 days. I completely ran out of materials and was even taking apart my old ones to re-construct the new!”

Tina Pali makes beautiful pendants, a creative outlet that combines many of her passions – art, the outdoors, even her husband! – and she found a way her pendants can make a positive impact during these strange times.  

Our Communications and Fund Development Manager, Bill Briscall, wanted to know more about this amazing person and how the Dr. Bonnie Henry pendants came to be. Tina agreed to a short interview and we wanted to share it with you. 

Bill: Where is your home? 

Tina: I’m originally from Victoria, but have lived most of my adult life in the Lower Mainland. I’m a retired teacher and now live in Steveston.

B: How long have you been creating pendants? 

T: Since I retired 2 years ago I’ve been creating pendants from nature photos. My husband Frank is a professional photographer and has thousands wildlife photos to choose from. I have another friend that takes gorgeous florals that she kindly lets me use. Then there’s me with my iPhone taking random shots of things like tree bark.

B: What do like most about this type of artwork? 

T: Being a condo dweller, I like that it’s clean and doesn’t take up a lot of space. I’ve always loved being outdoors and appreciate the beauty in nature. I also really enjoy taking photos of my pendants to post on my instagram page @paliware.

B: How did you come up with the idea of making  Dr. Bonnie Henry pendants?

T: Since the beginning of the pandemic I had wanted to help in some way where I could use my skills. One day I saw a post of a painting of Dr. Bonnie’s message “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe” created in a such colourful and playful way. I immediately thought that it would make a great pendant and I could sell them to raise money for charity. I contacted the artist (Sharon Montgomery) who kindly gave me permission to make a few pendants if it was for charity. Word got out and in less than 24 hours I was sold out and donated all the proceeds to the Richmond School District meals program.

I was on a roll, so I thought I should try to raise more money with a new pendant. I searched through my photos and came across our Lions Gate Bridge rising above the clouds. I knew it was going to be the perfect backdrop for Dr. Bonnie’s message. They were very popular and sold out in less than 2 days. I completely ran out of materials and was even taking apart my old ones to re-construct the new!

B: How did you hear about RainCity and the ACT Team?

T: I taught grade 6 and 7 with Jerry who is the husband of Gina Parhar (head of RainCity’s ACT Team). I knew Gina’s job involved supporting some very important people in the community so I asked her if they needed any money….of course she said “Yes”!

B: How are you getting through the pandemic?

T: Being retired, this is not a huge transition for me, as I’m used to occupying my time outside of working. I’m an active person so I stay in shape with pilates, yoga, walking. I’m a long time swimmer so I’m really missing the opening of Kits Pool.

B: What’s the first thing you’ll do when it’s over?

T: Hug my loved ones. And go swimming!

Thank you, Tina, for creating art, raising awareness, and finding a way to give back to the community during an unprecedented time!

You can see more of Tina’s beautiful work at @paliware over on Instagram, including a time-lapse video of her making the Dr. Bonnie Henry pendant – check it out!

Can a Construction Company and a Non-Profit share values?

L to R: Pierre Pomerleau – President & CEO, Bradley Gunnlaugson – Regional Director, Daniel Lessard – Executive VP, Gordon Mann, Catharine Hume – RainCity Co-Executive Director, Francis Pomerleau – Chief Executive

This past Wednesday RainCity was invited to attend Pomerleau’s grand opening of its new office in Vancouver. Pomerleau showed attendees how they develop and adopt innovative technology by providing virtual reality goggles for an exclusive walkthrough experience of some of Pomerleau’s key projects. Bill, our Fund Development and Comms person, tried the VR goggles and we’re happy to say he didn’t faint.

At the event Pomerleau presented us with a HUGE cheque – both in size and dollars – for $20,000! We were selected by the employees of this new Vancouver office as part of an internal contest. It feels wonderful that the people who work and play right here in Vancouver got to choose a Vancouver based non-profit! Thank you, Pomerleau!!

Gordon R. Mann, Senior Vice President, Construction, shared how important it is for Pomerleau to be giving back to the communities where they work.

“Establishing ourselves in the BC community means more to us than just doing business. It also means giving back and playing a key role in making our community a better place. The special alignment between RainCity Housing and Pomerleau’s values were key to our employees’ choice, and we couldn’t be prouder to support them as they strive to reach new heights,” concluded Mr. Mann.

We hope to live up to their support. And while it may seem strange to hear someone say that the values of a non-profit align with a large corporate construction company, it’s true! Like them, we work closely and creatively with people, are able to adapt to new situations, and determine the best solution for each person’s unique situation. It’s important to both organizations to establish strong relationships with people we work with in order to build trust and earn respect. And we both seek ways to innovate how we do our work in order to contribute to more positive outcomes throughout our respective sectors.

Two entities, different sectors, but both trying to provide the best possible work, support and service that they can.  

Shared Post: CAEH features two RainCity Housing First Programs

Some of the Leaders of our Housing First teams. From left to right: Jolanta, Bernie, Chelsea B, Chelsea R, and Gina

For this month’s blog we’re sharing the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness’s Bright Spots blog post that features our Surrey ICM Team and our LGBTQ2S+ Youth Housing First Program.

It talks about the importance of having folks with lived experience working and managing programs, particularly when Housing First is a crucial part of the program.

Head on over to their blog and have a read!

A Peer’s Perspective in the Downtown Eastside

RainCity Housing is excited to announce we are partnering with Vancouver Coastal Health to embed peers in nine care teams in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The peers will be hired, managed and supported by us at RainCity and hired over the next few months.

Erika Weikle is a Peer Support Worker in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

RainCity defines Peers as people who are representative of the diverse population of people we serve. Our Peer Specialists offer mutual learning and support from a lens that reflects distinct experiences and voices often unheard in society. They may have lived experience of recovery from homelessness, substance use, mental illness, or bring other relevant lived experience that can benefit communities and marginalized groups accessing our services.

Read the CBC story for the perspective from Peer Support Worker Erika Weikle.