We’re thrilled to announce that Employ To Empower is launching its very own podcast! Our podcast, called The Cardboard Project, has been inspired by the stories shared at our annual celebration of vulnerability and connection by the same name, The Cardboard Project!
How it Began
It began as a quest to tell the stories behind the cardboard.
The Cardboard Project has become one of the biggest annual initiatives at Employ to Empower, where we pair individuals of all backgrounds with a piece of cardboard. Each person is encouraged to answer a question that illuminates our shared vulnerabilities. In our first year, we started by asking, “What is something that has shaped who you are today?” What we found were responses that told stories of personal grief, loss, triumph, human connection and belonging– the most human of responses, relatable and understood by every person. Oftentimes, a piece of cardboard speaks to a need: asking for food, money, work. What a piece of cardboard can’t truly speak to is the story behind the cardboard– the human behind the words written. Since that first Cardboard Project 3 years ago, we’ve gathered over 100+ responses from the community.
How it’s Going
Since 2018, three Cardboard Projects have successfully taken place. Each installment has consisted of an event where we share community responses to a themed question, housed in a space that opens the floor to Downtown Eastside peers and entrepreneurs, many of who are part of the Employ to Empower program. Here, individuals are platformed to speak on their own behalf, telling their stories, in an effort to offer a new perspective to the stigma.
And now, a podcast. This new platform to share stories is an extension of these special events. It’s an effort to continue the conversation. We want to tackle the hard questions head-on about the state of our community and the safety of our neighbours. We want to push boundaries, offer diverse perspectives and show another side to the Downtown Eastside narrative, from the light-hearted moments missed, to the complexity of the individual experience in the community, and most importantly, the humanness that deserves to be received.
Get to Know Our Host
Charissa is the Head of Advocacy Programs at Employ to Empower works directly with a team of events specialists to curate events that focus on destigmatization, education and awareness of the entrepreneurs in the program. She is also the lead for our annual Vancouver Street Store event.
About the Podcast
We know that stigma can overshadow the power of diverse viewpoints and experiences, especially when it comes to the Downtown Eastside community. The Cardboard Project exists to shine a light on them.
Each episode will share pieces of the stories of cherished individuals with lived experiences in the Downtown Eastside, who live and work in the community. Our goal is to explore stigma and provide a new fresh perspective on old prejudices.
We encourage our audience to come with an open mind, to hear the humanness of the individual experience.
Lastly, we are so grateful for the City of Vancouver’s support of The Cardboard Project, which we are launching during Homelessness Action Week 2021. New episodes will be released each month in anticipation of The Cardboard Project 4.0!
Ready to Tune in and Learn?
Listen to our latest episode.
It would mean the world to us to hear your thoughts on The Cardboard Project! If these stories have resonated with you, share your rating and leave us a review. Have any questions for us, or one of our guests? Don’t hesitate to reach out. Another way you can help our messages reach more ears is to share our podcast with a friend!