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Changing lives, transforming culture

Changing lives, transforming culture

21st Annual Focus On Life Gala Dinner, to be held on Monday, May 27 at the Italian Cultural Centre, located at 3075 Slocan Street in Vancouver.

 

Every month, The Light Magazine arrives in your mailbox. You open it up, skim the pages. Every spread seems to be full of inspirational stories – lives changed by the hard work of men and women across the Lower Mainland. Young people with smiling faces, babies taking their first step, families happy to be together, an older generation whose faces bear years of collected wisdom. It’s easy for us to tell those important stories. We relate to them, we rejoice in them, we are encouraged and hopeful after reading them.

But there is another story behind those faces – the story of the men and women who are on the front lines, doing the hard work that results in those changed lives. This is a story of long hours, deep personal commitment, sacrifice, and hard work. It is a story about meeting the needs of others, constantly searching for the best way to help and support the vulnerable in our communities. This is the story of Focus On Life.

Focus On Life is a remarkable partnership. Founded in 1998, it is a unique ecumenical partnership between the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Christian Advocacy Society, and Signal Hill, formed for the purpose of promoting the value of life, helping the devalued and neglected, and providing life-affirming education for young people. This partnership set out to change lives and ultimately transform Canadian culture to be one where every person, from the youngest to the oldest, is valued and cared for. Our organizations – Catholic, Evangelical, and secular – work towards this common goal in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill.

Focus On Life is a successful partnership. Over the years, we have communicated this essential message in a variety of ways. In our first 12 years, our radio, television, and location-based advertisements reached 36 million people with life-affirming stories and messages of hope and help for women facing crisis pregnancies. Over 154,000 vulnerable women and post-abortion women clicked our social media advertising and online care outreach, and 48,000 students have been educated and empowered to ‘Value Every Person’ and make positive, life-affirming decisions because of our group presentations and educational events.

Focus On Life is an adaptable partnership. Canadian culture has changed dramatically over the past twenty-one years. Strategies that were effective in 1998 no longer have the same reach in 2019. In order to remain effective and relevant in this changing landscape, the Focus On Life partners have had to adapt their approach, responding to the needs of those we serve and communicating in ways that will reach the younger generation.

Over the past few years, our partnership has adopted a prevention-intervention model of cultural engagement. With Christian Advocacy Society providing important intervention support such as helping women in crisis and offering pregnancy and post-abortion counselling, Signal Hill has focused on delivering preventative, values-based education to young people designed to help them avoid entering crisis situations in the first place. Our strength comes from taking different paths towards the same goal. Lives are being changed and culture transformed.

This prevention-intervention model is so important to our story, we are making it the centerpoint of our 21st Annual Focus On Life Gala Dinner. Instead of having a single keynote speaker, we are delighted to welcome Faytene Grassechi, host of the popular Faytene.tv talk show, who will be hosting the evening in a relaxed and engaging interview-style format. Faytene will be speaking with experts in the prevention and intervention model, as well as young people and clients who have directly experienced our programs. Dr. Laura Lewis, the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, will talk about her personal journey and the importance of providing compassionate care to men and women facing crisis pregnancies. Dr. Wayne Hammond, a psychologist of 25 years in the field of educational psychology and improving resiliency among young people, will discuss the vital difference that preventative, values-based education and a deep sense of self-worth and the worth of others can make in the lives of young people.

We invite you to join us at the 21st Annual Focus On Life Gala Dinner, to be held on Monday, May 27 at the Italian Cultural Centre, located at 3075 Slocan Street in Vancouver. Cost for tickets is $65 per person or $650 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased through the Focus On Life website at www.focusonlife.ca, by calling 604-532-0023, or by emailing tickets@thesignalhill.com.

Author: Steve Almond

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