Bluefinch Creative Blog

Social Media for Social Change

July 29, 2010

What Do You Know About Vancouver’s DTES?
Do you know what it’s like to live on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside? If you live in Vancouver, you’ve likely passed through the area, but very few of us can imagine the struggles that the residents face daily. Did you know that:

  • Vancouver’s DTES is the poorest postal code in Canada
  • As defined by the city of Vancouver, the DTES was home to 16,590 people in 2001 (I’m sure that number is much bigger, now).
  • Children and teenagers make up 7% of the population, compared to 25% for Canada, overall.
  • Average income for adults living alone on the DTES is $6,282 per year, and $14,024 after government subsidies.
  • 62% of the residents over the age of 15 are not considered participants in the labour force.

Be the Change You Want to See
Those are some staggering statistics. You may find yourself saying “How can I possibly make a difference?” Change has to start somewhere. Mother Teresa said it best: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” The point is, change starts small and snowballs into something much, much bigger.

With Glowing Hearts
Recently, I spoke with Kemp Edmonds, a local social media educator who informed me of an amazing project called With Glowing Hearts, a documentary about social media for social change. Andrew Lavigne and Jon Ornoy from Animal Mother Films have created a 90 minute documentary film that follows the lives of April Smith from AHA Media, Garvin (a Social Justice Advocate), Dave Olson and Kris Krug from True North Media House, and Irwin from W2, who all either work or live in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Using the 2010 Games as the backdrop, they are documenting and telling these stories. This film demonstrates how social tools are shifting media representation and acting as a beacon for social change within the DTES. You can learn more about the project and people behind With Glowing Hearts at Follow @wghthemovie on Twitter for the scoop.

How Can I Help?
With Glowing Hearts is 100% volunteer run (i.e. a little low on funds). The shooting of the 90 minute feature film is complete but post-production is very expensive. The organizers have turned the project to the community at-large to support the completion of these amazing stories with the Tweet and Toonie ($2) Torch Relay. They hope to raise $10,000 to share this film with Vancouver and the world. Here’s how you can help:

1. Become a Producer for $2 or More
Starting with a minimum contribution of $2, “producers” can have their name published in a word cloud (like this) that will appear in the film’s credit roll and on the website. Increasing your contribution will increase the size of your name in the cloud. You can make a donation to With Glowing Hearts via PayPal here:

2. Spread the Word – Tweet, Blog and tell the world
You can become a producer by blogging about WGH’s mission or tweeting one of the tweets below:

  • I am a proud supporter and hopefully winner of a copy of the film #withglowinghearts and a producer’s credit!
  • Only $2 makes me a movie producer #withglowinghearts
  • I am entering to win a film credit and a copy of the film #withglowinghearts
  • $2 buys you a coffee or it makes you a movie producer #withglowinghearts

3. Human Curling
This sounds like loads of fun! Human Curling OH’ CANADA will give participants the chance to BE CURLING. Foam-painted-curling-rock-cut-outs will be worn by participants as they’re “pushed” down to house (rings at each end of the rink/sidewalk in this case.) Other participants will sweep the way with gigantic brooms. At the end of each game, a mock medal ceremony will reward the bronze, silver, and gold winners. All proceeds will go to help raise awareness and funding for the With Glowing Hearts documentary. Here are the event details:

When: Saturday July 31st, 4:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Details & RSVP: You can find the Facebook event invite here:

Social Change is Much Sweeter than Starbucks
Yes, change can happen, but it starts small. When disaster struck abroad, everyone  was so quick to chip in. But what about our own backyard, Vancouver? I challenge you to forgo your daily Starbucks once this week and make  a donation to this project. Yes, you can make a difference, no matter how small the contribution may seem.

About The Author
Content brought to you by Tanya Roberts, a Vancouver-based marketing consultant that specializes in slick online marketing strategies to rock your website traffic, build your brand, gain leads, and increase sales. Tanya is an experienced marketer, copywriter/editor, freelance writer, internet/online marketing strategist, and social media specialist. You can also find Tanya on Google Plus. Results matter; here are a few of

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