Vancouver Second Mile Society (VSMS)
was established in 1958 by Dr. Wallace Wilson, a Health Department
official from the City of Vancouver. The Society was created in
response to concerns that the City’s redevelopment in the
downtown eastside did not include a community centre since the
closure of the original Carnegie Library in 1958.
Dr. Wilson recruited a small group of concerned citizens and formed
a committee to solicit support for the newly founded Vancouver
Second Mile Society.
With doors first opened to the public in 1958, the Seniors
Centre became a place for seniors to enjoy recreational
activities and find fellowship in a “living room”
atmosphere away from their small Single Room Accommodation’s.
Seniors who frequented the Centre were independent, but many of
the clients who frequented the Centre still restricted themselves
to their small isolated rooms. So in 1989, the Neighbourhood Helpers
(a Seniors Outreach Program) was established. Today the seniors
who frequent the Seniors Centre come from as far away as Surrey
Neighbourhood Helpers(a Seniors Outreach Program) was
a natural progression from the drop-in Seniors Centre since some
seniors were not physically able to leave their rooms. The Neighbourhood
Helpers (a Seniors Outreach Program) was designed as a door-to-door
visitation program to ensure we reached isolated seniors where
We continue to welcome seniors back into the Vancouver community,
regardless of their physical or mental challenges by reaching
out to them. The concept of “seniors helping seniors”
was adopted to recruit seniors living in Single Room Accommodations
and train them to become peer counsellors. The Neighbourhood Helpers
(a Seniors Outreach Program) builds a supportive network among
elderly residents of hotels and housing developments, and stimulates
broader community action.