This past June, BCSS has an amazing opportunity to table and showcase at the 43rd Annual B.C. Elders Gathering organized by B.C. Elders Communication Center Society.

With more than 1,800 participants from all around B.C., the BCSS Vancouver Region Team met many lovely people over the two days of the gathering. According to B.C. Elders Communication Center Society, these Gatherings provide a chance to for participants to gain perspective on how other First Nations live. It provides an opportunity for people to build connections between communities and across generations. To demonstrate respect, regard, and honour for Elders across B.C.

In addition to learning about Indigenous culture, BCSS staff and volunteers who attended connected with many elders and families asking for support for their loved ones living with a mental illness.

After an afternoon of talking with the team, Earl H., an elder from a remote B.C. community, shared his appreciation:

“I feel so special seeing all of you here. Your volunteers are good people because they want to learn about my culture and my people from my community. Thank you for being here, it means a lot to my community. My son has mental illness and I’ve been taking care of him for a long time and sometimes I need someone to talk to… now, I know I can call BCSS to help myself. Your volunteer gave me the information about family support groups and how I can call BCSS to talk over the phone. I appreciate it. Seeing all your volunteers here helping me makes me want to become a volunteer so I can help people too.”

Noleen Mueller, BCSS Vancouver Regional Educator, tells us that one highlight was partaking in the traditional ceremonial procession at the beginning of the gathering. It honoured, acknowledged, and respected the traditions of Indigenous culture as well as the land they were celebrating upon. When asked about the event, Noleen exclaimed, “We can’t wait to be a part of it again next year!”

A special thank you to our BCSS volunteers who attended and helped provide information of our programs and services to anyone who dropped by the community table.