(From Left) Tara Tschritter, Shelter Coordinator at Inn Form The Cold, Jordan McAlpine, Outreach Prgoram Worker
Jordan McAlpine is an Outreach Worker for Kelowna's Inn From The Cold. This fantastic program provides support for Kelowna's homeless and their Inn-Home Program is one of 3 winners (of 466 entries) and received $15,000 to help support Inn From The Cold's latest effort. With so much going on at ITFC, the people that power the program are extremely valued and appreciated. Jordan took the time to answer our questions, so read on below to learn more about this kind-hearted woman and Inn From The Cold.
What do you always find yourself saying?
“Tell me about a time when you were successful”
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
I would spend the day with my younger brother, I haven’t seen him in a long time as he is residing in England. He is working with youth and an aspiring musician. It would be great to be able to support his music and see how his life is unfolding
If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would you choose?
Either Martin Luther King Jr. or William Wilbore Force—they are inspirational to me because they were convicted to stand up for the marginalized and oppressed members of their society, and despite overwhelming odds, they were successful.
Who inspires you?
My family, close friends, and amazing employer have shown to me what it means to live with conviction and resolve, to put others before myself, and to adhere to my values. They exemplify what it means to hope and to love unconditionally.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
I would love to backpack through Peru, learn to play the cello, and to eventually live on a little hobby farm with my family.
If you had an enormous yacht, what would you name it?
“For Sale”, so I could sell it and buy a kayak!
If you could foresee a single day of your future in its entirety, what date would you select?
I would love to fast forward a decade or so and see my future family, see what my kids look like, and where my home is, and to see if I ever end up getting a beagle.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about people, which is good considering my line of work. I love to connect people to others and to help them create a supportive network. Neighbors knowing their neighbors, people coming together for a common purpose, whether that’s churches or art clubs or community action groups. We tend to isolate ourselves from our community and live separate lives in our homes, which is a shame! I believe the richness of life is truly experienced when we share with others in community. The aspect of bringing people together and sharing life is intrinsic to our ability to cope with adversity and allows us to fully celebrate our triumphs, together!
What has been your favourite day of your life, up to this point?
I was given the opportunity to go to Tijuana, Mexico, where my family was working/residing at the time, to volunteer at an organization called ‘Homes of Hope’ (HoH). HoH builds small homes for families living in the slums, over the course of 3 days using volunteers from around the world. I have had the opportunity to build a few houses with HoH, one in particular stands out the most.
During this particular build, the team consisted of people of all ages from the USA, Canada and Mexico. Then the family’s extended family travelled from all over the city (Tijuana is huge, and they didn’t have vehicles, it was quite the commitment) to help build. On top of that, the community where the family was living came together and provided lunch to the team to thank them for building their neighbors a house, and then they helped out with the building as well! It was such a perfect depiction of what it means to live in community: for people to come together despite all their differences (socio-economic, culture, language, etc), for a common purpose, to improve someone else’s situation. It was overwhelming and encouraging; I often think back to that day when I need to be reminded that none of us is ever really alone, and that every bit of kindness is impactful.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Probably completing my Bachelor of Social Work Undergraduate degree. I knew when I got it that it was a big moment, not just for me, but for my whole family—who through it all supported and encouraged me to pursue what I was passionate about. I also knew that it was something that would enable me to help others and would influence the way I interact and view the world around me.
Where is your favourite place to dine in Kelowna?
I love breakfast, so I will have to go with the Bohemian Café or the Jammery. They both have spectacular Eggs Benny. Highly recommended, by me.
What is your favourite activity or event in Kelowna?
We are so blessed in the Okanagan to be surrounded by such natural beauty. I think my favorite activity to do is enjoy the outdoors: camping, hiking, kayaking, and swimming (although I mostly wade along the lake shore).
What is the name of your business/organization?
Inn From the Cold--Kelowna
What does your business/organization do?
We provide shelter and support services to people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.
Where can people find you or your business online?
Where can people find your business on Facebook?
What is your Twitter account?
What is your mission?
Our mission is to respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness in a welcoming, compassionate and mutually respectful manner.
If you could achieve one thing within your field, what would it be?
We would put an end to chronic homelessness in Kelowna! We want to see a Kelowna were the need for emergency shelters would be non-existent.
Where do you want your business/organization to be in 5 years?
IFTC would like to be providing affordable and supportive housing, as well as developing more preventative programs and public education opportunities.
What 3 qualities do you feel that your business/organization exemplifies?
Community: Our organization began as a grassroots movement of volunteers who were passionate about ensuring that everyone has a safe and warm place to sleep at night. We are true to our ‘roots’, as today IFTC is fueled by our dedicated volunteers to work 4 shifts a night at our shelter, provide all the food and maintenance to the building. We also work very closely with other agencies in Kelowna such as the Salvation Army, Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, Living Positive Resource Centre, Interior Health, and PIERS. IFTC is built on the support from our community, and is another good example of how by coming together, we can make a difference!
Advocacy and Education: Part of utilizing volunteers is helping them to understand the root causes of homelessness. We provide orientation to shelter volunteering and non-violent crisis intervention training to our volunteers. This year we have developed a “Working with Vulnerable People” workshop to education volunteers and the public about mental health, addictions, trauma and how they effect people that we often see in the shelter system. We believe by increasing people’s understanding, we increase empathy and compassion, as well as decrease stigma and judgement.
Mutual Respect and the Inherent Dignity and Worth of Individuals: Something I often hear from our guests is how appreciative they are for the shelter program. They express that they are treated as people who are valuable, and that the staff and volunteers genuinely care about their well being. We make a point to ensure that our guests are not treated as people who are less than us, but as people who are as deserving of support as any. We acknowledge that as they receive a lot from us, they also have a lot to give and contribute to our lives.
How does your business/organization impact the community?
IFTC has a direct impact on the people that access our programs, all of our volunteers benefit from the opportunity to give back, and the other service agencies benefit from working in collaboration with us-- the whole community really comes together!
If you were trapped in an elevator with several wealthy investors from any field, which field would you want them to be experts in? What would say to them/talk about?
An Elevator Repair expert
If I could change 1 thing about Kelowna, it would be:
We desperately need more affordable and supportive housing facilities, we also need a Drop-In Centre where people can hang out, access professional support, and build supportive relationships with others members of our community.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
I think Kelowna is great because of our community solidarity. At Inn From the Cold—Kelowna I have been able to witness how the business community, non-profit sector, and the public are motivated by compassion and generosity, so much as to come together to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable members of society. Not every city has that, we are lucky to be located in such a like-minded community.
My choice for the Kelowna In Focus spotlight is:
Laurence East at Metro Community
Some general comments I would like to share are:
The space allowed for my message to volunteers was too small, and i think its important to recognize them!
I would like to encourage you, on behalf of all of us at IFTC, that you are doing a spectacular job. Being a part of IFTC requires you give generously, to be patient and steady, to be loving and gracious, to be creative and dedicated. It is not always the easiest task, yet time and time again, you have gone above and beyond to make sure that our guests feel at home at IFTC.
Continue to tell jokes with our guests, keep trying to beat them at crib (you can’t!), keep greeting them with big smiles and warm hearts. You spark hope. And hope initiates change.