The 2015 Hope in Shadows calendar is now for sale and you can scoop one up from your local vendor, located on a bustling street corner in Vancouver.
There are a few layers to the Hope in Shadows project, starting with the photographs that go in the calendars. Hope in Shadows, based in the Downtown Eastside, grew out of the work of a group of Pivot Legal Society volunteers who began working with the Downtown Eastside community in 2000 and in 2003, Pivot hosted the first Hope in Shadows photography contest in 2003.
“Single-use film cameras were distributed to people in the neighbourhood. Participants took pictures of their friends, their families, and the places in the community that mattered most to them. The top photos became the first Hope in Shadows calendar. From the very first year, the community was eager to get involved with the project, and since then Hope in Shadows contest participants have captured over 30,000 images of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Winning photos are chosen by a panel of artists from inside and outside of the community, and through a community vote. Contest winners and photo subjects are invited to share the stories behind the captivating images, and a selection of winning images is featured in the annual calendar.”
The Hope in Shadows calendar is then sold through our vendor program, which provides opportunities for residents to earn an income, gain and practice skills, and act as ambassadors for their community. Every season, Hope in Shadows works with over 200 low-income people who sign up to sell the calendar. Vendors earn $10 dollars for each $20 calendar sold. Since the first calendar was published in 2003, vendors have sold over 75,000 copies.
I spoke with Project Director Paul Ryan a few years ago and he told me that selling calendars is a stepping stone for a lot of people. “It helps them gain self-esteem and build confidence. It’s a way that they can feel good about earning money again.” Some of the vendors use the program to compliment a low-income for their household as well, especially with the holidays around the corner.
A full list of vendor locations is available online including high traffic areas in Downtown Vancouver, Granville Island, and a few spots in Victoria, BC. You can also purchase a calendar online. Follow Hope in Shadows on Twitter and Facebook for more information.