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Meet Jackie, Crabtree Corner's associate director


Jackie Rumble is the Associate Director of Crabtree Corner Community, a role she stepped into in October 2015. Jackie takes over from Nancy Cameron, who retired after 17 years of service at Crabtree, the YWCA’s Downtown Eastside community resource centre.

We sat down with Jackie to learn more about what drives her, her approach to her work and her connection with Nancy.

What do you do, and why do you do it?

I’ve been working in this field for almost 20 years. When I first moved to Vancouver 10 years ago, one of my first roles was working in this neighbourhood and as part of that role, we connected with workers from this building. Crabtree’s reputation was very strong in the community. I was always curious, like, “I wonder what it’s like to work there.”

When I saw the posting come up, I had to apply. I really enjoy working on the front-lines in a neighbourhood setting like this. There are not two days ever the same. I find it stretches me, the experiences, the challenges, the awesome things that come with this kind of work definitely grow me as a person. I really enjoy the connection and the building of relationships with the people we serve.

What has it been like to step into Nancy’s role?

They are definitely big shoes to fill. She was here for so long—the depth of those relationships that she built with participants and staff is extraordinary. She’s really a part of the fabric here.

When I started, Nancy trained me and we discovered we have a lot in common in terms of how we move in the world. The thing she kept reflecting, which still echoes around my brain, is to be yourself. She saw in me a lot of the skills and beliefs that carried her through this work.

In terms of growing and evolving this space and the programs that we offer, we’re doing it in the spirit and philosophy of Nancy. It’s important to be reflective of where we’ve come from and the things we’ve learned, as we move forward.

What’s a day in the life of Jackie like?

I generally arrive between 8 and 8:30am to get myself prepped and ready for the day. I check in with the team, see how everyone’s doing, do some planning around how the day looks and then very quickly, the doors open for breakfast.

For as much as there are specific roles, everybody pitches in in terms of dealing with any crisis or challenging situation that comes up. If there’s somebody who’s struggling, maybe a mom’s having a really hard time, whoever’s there pitches in and figures how we can help.

What is unique about how the YWCA provides support in the Downtown Eastside?

I think it’s an awareness and understanding that one size does not fit all, that we have to tailor our approach to meet individuals where they’re at. That applies to a woman who walks through our door and has never accessed our services before, and maybe doesn’t speak English as her first language, to the group members who have been here for a long time but have really changing needs. I think about, for example, one of our grandparent groups with different ages and abilities and how our staff have to work hard to make sure everybody’s seen and heard. And that evolves over time.

What has surprised you about Crabtree Corner?

I think what’s been surprising is the depth of the longstanding relationships. People have been connected to Crabtree for 15-plus years. People who were tiny children at Crabtree's housing or child care programs are now moms and are connecting with us and coming to [our early literacy program for Indigenous families] Books, Bags and Babies with their own children. It’s one of the most awesome things to see—people are continuing to be connected to us.

Another thing that I wasn’t aware of is the volunteer program. Women come through the doors as participants, and have the opportunity to become volunteers, gaining skills in a supportive and welcoming environment. To see those women become YWCA staff members or gain work in other places is just amazing and like nowhere else I’ve ever worked.

YWCA Crabtree Corner Community is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, City of Vancouver, foundations, corporations and private individuals.

For more information about funding YWCA Crabtree Corner, please contact Kathy Lilyholm at klilyholm@ywcavan.org / 604 895 5851.

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