Want to get in touch with ALIVE?

If you are a member of the community and have any concerns, ideas, suggestions or questions, we encourage you to contact us directly by email or phone to discuss and/or set up an appointment.

We can be reached by email at info@alivesociety.ca or via phone 604.417.0327

ALIVE is also on Facebook and Twitter

Our Facebook page is a place where ALIVE members and supporters connect with each other, share information and discuss important issues affecting the urban Aboriginal community.

Mailing address: ALIVE Society c/o Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre 920 E. Hastings St. Vancouver BC V6A 3T1

*Mail can also be dropped off in-person to the front desk at RayCam

Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society


ALIVE (Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement) Society exists to promote, enhance and foster the social, economic, and cultural well-being and health of Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver. Working within a place-based framework to develop inclusive strategies to support Aboriginal individuals, families, and extended families wherever they find themselves; ALIVE creates opportunities for urban Aboriginal people in the City of Vancouver to fully engage as citizens in their neighbourhoods and in the city as a whole. ALIVE was created in 2010 in response to the needs and desires of many urban Aboriginal peoples to seek supports and receive services in a new way.

We reach out to our community on an ongoing basis to ensure we remain fully accountable to our members and communities to which they belong. ALIVE strives to build effective partnerships and collaboratives, promoting initiatives and strategies that Enhance the experiences of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The recent, Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS), supports our findings that the majority of Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver feel empowered to contribute to community life within their neighbourhoods, and that they can make Vancouver a better place to live. The UAPS reports that success means a balanced life, close to family and friends, raising healthy well-adjusted children who contribute positively to their community.
A large proportion of Aboriginal peoples in our city report multiple barriers to participation, including feelings of stigmatization and negative experiences accessing supports and resources such as housing, education, childcare and employment. ALIVE believes that, using a place-based strategy, we can create avenues for Aboriginal citizens to have meaningful impacts in their communities and to identify their role in the urban ‘place’ on their own terms. Place-based approaches work to actively engage citizens by removing barriers, and promoting people-centred, participatory service delivery and economic involvement. It does so by creating comprehensive, holistic, and integrated strategies that target both the individual and broader community needs.

Our approach to service delivery is much broader than the current federal, provincial, and municipal government models which keep us segregated and fund programs through competitive, siloed processes. Our model is outlined in more detail in the attached Reconciliation In Action-2014 booklet. We believe that to truly be reflective and relevant, change must be progressive, evidence-based, and involve our citizens and partners. This approach is not endorsed at this time by any government level with the exception of the Vancouver School Board, which has endorsed our Graduation Strategy, a partnership developed to ensure all children are fully prepared for each level of education and that all achieve success.

This approach and the principles involved are very similar to the Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) processes that many land-based First Nations are now developing. ALIVE has been inspired by the work of Musqueam First Nations CCP process, which is described in more detail in the booklet as presented by Musqueam Councillor Wendy Grant-John. Our challenges are very different of course from that of land-based peoples, but the Indigenous principles we have adopted of connecting the social, economic, and environmental variables are quite similar. Our strategic approach is fully supported by BC Representative of Children and Youth, who shares their thoughts in the Reconciliation booklet on the need to embrace evidence-based strategic approaches, beginning with a prenatal lens and continuing to support our children and families through to post secondary graduation.

ALIVE society is committed to engaging the principles of a place-based philosophy to, foster equitable and inclusive communities for Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver. As a resource to the community, we have created a document outlining the philosophy, as well as specific place-based contexts and practises. Download a PDF of our place-based 2 pager here
Or check out our Reconciliation in Action Booklet to learn more about the collective impact, place-based work of ALIVE and our partners.

Responsible Indigenous Strategy for Empowerment







R.I.S.E (Responsible Indigenous Strategy for Empowerment) evolved out of ALIVE’s Gen 7 Aboriginal Youth Role Model Program, and is currently delivered in 5 local Community Centres as a partnership between ALIVE, the Vancouver Parks Board and the MoreSport YELL Program.

Leaders are selected based on their demonstrated community leadership, background in arts/culture/recreation and experience working with youth. RISE is one piece of ALIVE’s Reconciliation in Action Strategy.

Each RISE leader is employed as a paid staff through the Vancouver Parks Board. These are well-paying jobs at union rates that can greatly assist participating leaders to support their continuing education in addition to facilitating connections to employers, and building their familiarity with mainstream systems, employee responsibilities, protocols, and practices.

What do RISE leaders do?

RISE leaders work as a team to identify and support other Aboriginal community members and excluded groups to become connected to neighbourhood opportunities and be actively involved in all aspects of city life. They receive support from the RISE coordinator and community centre staff in the implementation of strategic activities in the assigned pilot sites that provide opportunities for intercultural sharing and learning and engage and encourage more extensive and reflective participation.

Each RISE leader brings their own unique strengths, knowledge and experience and the focus of their engagement in the community reflects their individual background and interests. RISE leaders are supported by their supervisor and the RISE coordinator to network and build connections with their community’s youth, and other local area partners and to find areas of interest for community/program development that draw on and enhance their capacities as leaders . RISE leaders run different types of programs in the community including arts & culture, recreation/sports, youth citizenship/leadership or a combination.

Some of the work of RISE includes community consultation, facilitating learning and sharing circles, asset-mapping and other outreach and engagement activities to help centres understand and respond to community-identified priorities.

The 5 Parks Board community centres currently participating in the RISE Program are:

Ray-Cam Community Centre, Britannia Community Centre, Mount Pleasant Community Centre, Hastings Community Centre and Strathcona Community Centre.

Training and Mentorship
Each leader receives on-site mentorship from community centre supervisor(s) as well as weekly check-ins with the RISE coordinator.

RISE leaders also receive regular paid training throughout their placement that is relevant to the work they are doing. This includes:

Group management, supervision, facilitation, physical literacy, asset-mapping/social policy, cultural workshops, program creation, etc…


Aboriginal people are not well-represented in mainstream neighbourhood spaces. Community centres are tax-payer funded municipal institutions with both the resources and the mandate to support/facilitate the process of neighbourhood-level reconciliation. Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing population and have great potential to support reconciliation efforts by pointing the way to the future in their urban communities. In leadership and in staff roles RISE leaders are in a position to influence other centre staff, as well as the focus of centre programming.

We hope this initiative will create a better understanding of the social, economic and cultural assets to be found in the urban Aboriginal community and the importance of involving Aboriginal youth, elders and families in community decisions and opportunities.

 We expect that more Community Centres will sign up to be a part of this initiative, supporting ALIVE to scale out the “reconciliation in action” strategy across Vancouver, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

 Check out the current RISE team and what they’ve been up to.

If you’re interested in becoming a RISE leader or just want to know more about RISE, send an email to info@alivesociety.ca or call 604.257.6949


Articles and Documents


Reconciliation in Action: A Place-based Approach

Reconciliation in Action Booklet


Other Resources:

Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study

Building Aboriginal inclusive communities in Vancouver requires a comprehensive understanding of the values, experiences, identities and aspirations of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples living in our city. A 2010 Environics Institute report, the Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS), documents the findings of their inquiry into these issues. It also reports on the types of perceptions non-Aboriginal people hold in regards to the Aboriginal population. These findings are based on interviews with a sample of 250 Aboriginal people in Vancouver and 2500 telephone surveys with non-Aboriginal individuals. You can read the full report here and key findings from various cities in Canada here.

The Globe and Mail recently published a piece that summarizes the UAPS findings and reflects on how we can advance the conversation and attend to the diverse needs and interests of the growing urban Aboriginal population in Canada. You can read the article on the Globe and Mail website.

Some findings of the UAPS study:

“Seven in ten Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver think they can make the city a better place to live. This sense of empowerment is stronger than in any other UAPS city except Toronto, and is also stronger than among non-Aboriginal people in Vancouver”

 “There is strong Indigenous pride among Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver”

  “Most UAPS participants feel discrimination of Aboriginal peoples is a pervasive problem, and one that majorities report having experienced personally”

  “A majority of Aboriginal peoples in Vancouver retain links with their community of origin, whether it be their own or that of their parents/grandparents. This sense of connection is particularly strong among First Nations peoples”


East Van Education Network Listings

Do you know a page, event or petition not yet on this list? Email info@alivesociety.ca

Facebook Pages (like and share)

East Van Education Network

Save Gladstone Secondary

Save Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School

Save AR Lord

Graham D Bruce Parent Action Group

Newsletters (Subscribe)

East Van Education Network

Save AR Lord

Graham D Bruce Parent Action Group


Saving Britannia Secondary School

Stop Closure of Award Winning Robotics Highschool Gladstone Secondary

Save Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary

Save Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School

Vancouver-Kingsway Schools Petition


EVEN action committee meetings (rotating, email info@alivesociety for information on upcoming dates)

Save Graham Bruce Planning Meeting- 6:30 pm Sunday, July 24, 2016 at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (2nd Floor Activity Room)

Gladstone and Sir Guy Carleton Student and Alumni Meetings- Tuesdays, 3pm at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House 4065 Victoria Drive

Twitter Pages

East Van Education Network (Use #EastVanEdNet)

Save Dr A R Lord (Use #SaveARLord)

Youtube Channels

Save A R Lord

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