Good news hangs behind tree ornaments is the headline on a very good article by Elizabeth James in the North Shore News, published on Christmas Day. Tradeworks endeavors to create good news, and we thank Elizabeth for good overview.
The Chef Table is an initiative out of Quebec whose self-declared mission is to “fight against hunger by nourishing less privileged families and by developing culinary autonomy for future generations in order to break down the eventual cycle of food bank dependency.“ Having seen the good work the organization had done in Quebec, Tradeworks reached out and inquired whether there was a possibility of extending the Chef Table into Vancouver. There was.
Once a week, the students of Tradeworks’ RONA Fabshop head into a local kitchen to participate in the Chef Table’s ‘food knowledge transfer’ program: a series of workshops intended to introduce youth to cooking and healthier eating. Directed by a professional chef, the students are shown how to prepare a variety of interesting, healthy meals that will improve their dietary standards and provide them with greater culinary independence. Since this program is tailored specifically for these youths, it is adaptable based on their needs and expectations. It recognizes the importance of a healthy diet as part of a happy and productive lifestyle.
Beyond its knowledge transfer program, the Chef Table also intends to start a ‘food brokerage’ program in Vancouver, as it has done in Quebec. The brokerage will act as a liaison between food surplus producers and the organizations that redistribute the food to low-income people. The Chef Table takes care of the logistics involved in getting the food from donors to recipients.
Tradeworks prides itself on providing opportunity to the students involved in our programs. Beyond providing training for a career in the trades, we seek to provide a solid platform to give these at-risk youth a chance to live the best life they can. Our partnership with the Chef Table reflects this ambition, and we’re pleased to offer our full support to this noble endeavor.
Tradeworks’ unique 12-days of Christmas tree ornaments were featured on Global-BC Saturday Morning News (video link) today. Carol Madsen represented Tradeworks Custom Products, our women’s social enterprise, in conversation with Lynn Collier.
These delicate ornaments, made of BC beetle killed pine, are designed and manufactured by women in the inner city who face various barriers to employment and have little or no work experience. The tree decorations represent each of the 12 Days of Christmas in three dimensions – with finely cut components cut on a laser engraving system.
They may be purchased online, or at local RONA stores, at Bird On a Wire Creations on Main Street, and at Floral and Hardy on Lonsdale.
The social enterprise empowers these women, enables them to build technical and employment skills, and helps them transition into the conventional workforce and potentially trades careers.
Posted in Custom Products, Events, Media | Tags: Blue pine tree ornaments, Christmas ornaments, DTES, novel Christmas gifts, Sustainable tree ornaments, sustainable wood products, Tradeworks Custom Products, Unique tree ornaments, Xmas decorations
Our Women’s Workshop program gives women an introduction to futures in the trades. For some women the opportunities to really move into the trades are a perfect fit.
Rachel entered the program last year. She had some skills in graphic arts but had not been able to find work. She was looking for a new way to get into the world of work. And in our hands-on, practical program she got inspired. On completion of the Women’s Workshop training she stayed involved and she worked casually at Tradeworks Custom Products, our social enterprise. She got to learn more woodworking skills as a result. “It was awesome! I didn’t know what to expect… I expected ‘school school’ but everyday I learned something new!”
Then she registered in a cabinet making apprenticeship program at BCIT, where she completed her level one studies. And now, we have hired her to teach basic woodworking skills and safety in our program. With a youngster at home, she is juggling work and parenting, but she is making real progress with a trades credential, and will almost certainly be a Journey-woman Cabinet Maker in a few years. (There are four levels of study & work based training to complete.)
Trades such as cabinet-making, carpentry, welding, and sheet metal work are frequently good fits for women. But others in our program have chosen to pursue mechanics, hairdressing and other registered trades.
As the year closes, it is good to reflect on what has been done. And also to acknowledge those who have lent us financial and moral support. As a non-profit agency, Tradeworks relies on many others to make things happen.
Three of our most important partners are RONA, Concert Properties, and BC Housing. These corporate entities have more than ‘cheered us on’, they purchase product, they suggest innovations, and they promote us to others in their distinct business worlds. Tradeworks is exceptionally lucky to have these partners.
Tradeworks also relies on many individual donors (and shoppers). We have long-standing support from several people who include us each year in the annual giving routines. And we see many men and women coming to us to buy wooden Christmas ornaments, sheds, benches and more, because they know that the ‘goods’ being traded are enhanced by the ‘good’ being done in our social enterprises.
And then we also count upon a host of people on staff, volunteering (especially directors), or offering practicum opportunities to our program participants. People are at the heart of training and social enterprises like ours. It takes people to step forward and establish positive relationships, provide constructive feedback, and offer good guidance those who have been struggling, but are who trying hard to succeed in the world of work.
We really appreciate all of you.
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