Victoria Cool Aid Society | October 2016 - Victoria Cool Aid Society

Janet Donald, Director

Janet Donald has worked in public policy and programs with the British Columbia provincial government for the past 20 years. This work has spanned children’s rights, early childhood development, strategic planning and the development and implementation of policy and legislation. Janet’s work has crossed a variety of offices and ministries including the Children’s Commission, Office for Children and Youth and the Ministry of Attorney General and Justice.

Janet is currently Director of Policy with the Residential Tenancy Branch, Office of Housing and Construction Standards.

Prior to her work with the provincial government, Janet worked in the not-for-profit and education sectors.  This included work as a sessional instructor with the University College of the Fraser Valley, a Team Lead with the Provincial Review Team, and a Research Associate with Women-Futures Community Economic Development Society.

Janet received a Master of Social Work from the University of British Columbia, with a specialization in Community Development, Social Policy and Research.

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Kathleen Perkin, Director

Kathleen has a background in research and policy analysis in the areas of harm reduction, substance use and housing. Kathleen holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in anthropology from the University of Victoria.

From November 2009 to 2014, Kathleen was the Research Coordinator for Dr. Bernie Pauly at the Centre for Addictions Research/University of Victoria of BC.

In this position, she managed a variety of projects focused on health equity, substance use, harm reduction and/or social determinants of health. Her two most recent projects were Equity Lens in Public Health and Managed Alcohol Programs: Evaluating Effectiveness and Policy Implications.

Kathleen is currently working with the Ministry of Health, as Manager, Harm Reduction Policy in the Population and Public Health Division.

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Blaine Sparvie Works Hard

blaine-wendy-labour-pool-web-2016-septWendy from Cool Aid’s Labour Pool would like to introduce you to Blaine Sparvie.

For the past ten years, Blaine has been finding work using Cool Aid’s Labour Pool; earning income, learning new skills and building confidence.

Blaine has been able to secure near full-time work through the Labour Pool, and in an interview jokingly stated that, “I am so busy now… maybe it’s time for a vacation!”

But joking aside, Blaine has worked hand-in-hand with Cool Aid to get off the streets and into safe housing, build a steady stream of employment, and find a community that cares and supports him.

Blaine has gained skills and experience that he would not have otherwise received had it not been for the work he has found through Cool Aid’s Labour Pool these last ten years.

When asked what he would say to those at Cool Aid who have helped him, he replied:

“What would I say? Oh gosh—THANK YOU! Thank you for listening, thank you for helping, and thank you for just being there. Cool Aid has helped a lot – hundreds of people – not just me.”

Check out Blaine’s Video Interview on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

Learn more about the Casual Labour Pool at or call Wendy at 250-388-9296 to book a skilled or general worker for your business, garden, home or move.

Cool Aid Hosts Project Connect Next Wednesday

October 6, 2016 – Project Connect creates a celebration of giving for many of the Capital Region’s most vulnerable and poor citizens, by providing “one stop shopping” for a wide variety of needs: from personal portrait photos to ID replacement, food to hygiene items and gift bags, and includes live music and an open mic. An initiative of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, and a partnership effort, this year’s Project Connect will be hosted at Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing shelter and transitional housing, 535 Ellice Street from 10 am to 3 pm, next Wednesday, October 12.

“This is an important annual event for members of the community experiencing homelessness and also for organizations providing much needed services,” says Don Elliott, Executive Director of the Coalition to End Homelessness. “Project Connect gives everyone the opportunity to access a range of services and information in one place – something that cannot be underestimated – and is an important part of coming together as a community in support of one another.”

Cool Aid’s volunteer coordinator, Erin Gallagher, iProject Connect Needs Your Helps excited, but needs the community to step up more to donate needed goods and services, and volunteer to help out on the day. “It’s been fantastic to talk to all the caring Victorians who are giving and helping,” send Erin. “But we still need another 30 volunteers for Wednesday and a variety of clothing, hygiene items and food, or cash donations, to provide for our guests.”

One of the key organizers this year is Anawim House’s executive director, Terry Edison-Brown, who says: “Project Connect is a unique and exciting opportunity where all the service providers in Victoria come together to provide for those in need offering information and services.  This is a time where instead of representing individual organizations, we are all able to come together and do what we do best, which is help the homeless and in a direct and tangible way. We are able to connect with each other and connect with the individuals we serve as a whole. This is about meeting the needs of poverty, and together working to eradicate homelessness and provide social justice in the way it was meant to be.”

Our Place Society has also been active lining up donations for our clients, as well as volunteers. Community relations coordinator Tracy Campbell added that, “It is a delight for all of us to work together as service providers to make sure none of our ‘family members’ falls through the gaps. It takes a community to help those who are most vulnerable among us.”

To make a donation to Project Connect or volunteer on the day, contact Cool Aid’s Erin Gallagher at 250-383-1951 extension 4 or Rock Bay Landing is located at 535 Ellice Street in Victoria.

Media are also invited down to Rock Bay during Project Connect next Wednesday.

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Erin Gallagher, Volunteer Coordinator, 250-383-1951 ext. 4,

Terry Edison-Brown, Anawim House, 250-382-0283,

Tracy Campbell, Our Place, 250-388-7112 ext. 259,

Don Elliott, G.V. Coalition to End Homelessness, 250-415-1717,



The Victoria Cool Aid Society builds homes, lives and community. We create opportunities for people who are homeless or living in poverty. We make a difference through housing, health care, support and emergency shelters. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps over 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 15 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build or repurpose an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home. #buildhomes

Thomas Keeps Things Spic-and-Span at Desmond House

Step into Thomas’ room at Desmond House, and one can see this former Navy man’s attention to detail shines. The bed is made to perfection, the bookshelf organized immaculately, and then there is Thomas, reading from his expansive library.

Thomas has been at Desmond house for the past nine years and has become an integral part of the community that lives there. In Thomas’ words, “Desmond house is a community – we are all there to support each other. Whether it’s a can of beans, or what have you, we always try to help each other out.”

Thomas once served in the Navy, but like many veterans, he fell on hard times and challenges. He was on and off of the streets for a few years, but Thomas worked with Cool Aid to face these challenges head on.

With support from his housing worker Mike (on the left) and resources from Cool Aid, Thomas has had stable housing, a strong support system, and works every week at Desmond house to keep it spic-and-span.

Check out Thomas’s video interview on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel:

Learn more about Cool Aid housing or call Alan at 250-414-4781. Tours are available.