My Grandmother was no stranger to the Downtown Eastside

“My Grandmother was no stranger to the Downtown Eastside. She overcame her addiction and was living proof to me that a person can truly turn their life around. My family’s perseverance has brought me to this point in my life and is, in part, why I’ve been drawn to this field.

I was a student at Vancouver Community College in 2018 and enrolled in the Addictions Counselling Program. Thanks to funding from MNBC I was able to devote myself to full-time studies and fast-tracked the three-year program in one year. I completed my Practicum at Vancouver Aboriginal Health society and from that placement developed techniques and understanding on how to utilize coming back to culture as a form of therapy and healing.

As the Cultural Programmer for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, I am responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of cultural, educational, recreational, and social programs at the Drop-In centre. In my role, I am mindful of the daily impacts women are faced with in the DTES such as violence, mental health, homelessness, and addictions.

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) exists to support and empower women and children living in extreme poverty in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, providing practical support to over 500 women and children daily to survive the conditions of ill health and violence that surround them. DEWC works to provide safe refuge and security, basic needs, specialized services, and programs to support women in making long-term change by identifying and removing barriers to full participation in the larger community.

Through understanding practices of trauma-informed care and response learned in my studies I aim to meet the demand of In-Center programming which women look forward to.

I am Cassandra Gordon, and I am proud to be Métis.”

Thank you Cassandra for sharing your story. Recognizing Métis individuals in their careers/education inspires us all. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the following form:; or if you or somebody you know would like to receive education funding, visit our Skills Training, Employment and Post-Secondary (STEPS) micro-website