MEANINGFUL WORK: Founded in 1992, Mission Possible has been helping individuals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside challenged by poverty, homelessness, addiction and other barriers get back on their feet.
Through its employment readiness and social enterprise programs, the non-profit has been helping people experience a sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work. To provide more individuals the opportunity for purposeful employment, the registered charity recently held its annual Mission Possible holiday hootenanny.
This year’s gala theme was Old Hollywood, and many glammed it up for the red-carpet paparazzi, countless photos and night of philanthropy.
Staged at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel Vancouver, some 350 guests came out to hear inspiring stories of transformation, bid on unique live and silent auction items, purchase Christmas crackers filled with prizes and enjoy a delicious three-course dinner, all while celebrating the amazing achievements of program participants, both past and present.
Prior to the night of giving, party guests raised a glass to Mission Possible’s growing efforts to create jobs that lead to lasting change. From MP Maintenance, a landscape and maintenance service, to MP Neighbours, an innovative program for Downtown Eastside residents to be trained as security personnel to care for their neighbourhood, the firm’s social enterprises pave the way for more people to move into employment.
Attendees also toasted six individuals, recipients of the humanitarian agency’s Momentum Awards that are given to alumni who have demonstrated courage, determination and faith in overcoming great challenges and adversity, emerging from life’s challenges with strength and stability. Feted this year were John Barbour, Thomas Gibbons, Catherine Shimizu, Alexandre Nadon, Lorenzo Watters and Michael Wielgosh.
Sunrise Soya Foods owners Peter and Shirley Joe, a longtime champion, benefactor and employer of MP grads, were recipients of the Impact Business Partner of the Year Award. The awards were presented by event emcee Drew Savage from Virgin Radio and Mission Possible CEO Matt Smedley.
The six stories of success inspired everyone in the room to give. From a silent and live auction that included a Yukon adventure and luxury Okanagan escape to a spirited paddle raise, there were plenty of opportunities to support. By evening’s end, organizers were confident of meeting and or exceeding last year’s $190,000 fundraising standard to support Mission Possible’s ever-expanding employment efforts.
“This year we are celebrating 10 years of social enterprise impact and success in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community,” said Smedley.
“Thanks to the growing support and demand of our services, we are moving into a new building in the spring of 2020, preparing for the launch of a women’s track in our employment readiness program and creating a human resources guidebook for the growing employment partners wanting to hire our graduates.”