Meeting the Guardian Angels

Guardian Angels
After being invited to be a friend on facebook, I decided to meet the Guardian Angels in the flesh. I figured their uniforms (the hats, especially) would make for great photos. Also, I was interested in why someone would volunteer his/her time to walk the saddest areas of our city. I wasn’t clear about what they do, although I understood they weren’t the police. I knew the organization started in the US, but that’s about it. I did a little research and found a comment online that kept going through my mind – “I was happy to see the Guardian Angels on the skytrain many nights when I used to work the night shift.”

Steve invited me to go for a walk with them on a patrol so I packed up my camera and my husband and met them down at the McDonald’s at Tinseltown. We met up with Steve, Wally, Liam, Phoenix and a new recruit, Brandon.

We walked and chatted a bit and went down an alley with people huddled behind dumpsters and smoking various items in the doorways. Steve pointed out to us that their concern is not trying to stop people from doing drugs. Their concern is the safety of the area and to prevent violent crimes from happening. Through the training provided by their organization, they have the skills to diffuse difficult situations (such as fights, or almost-fights, preferably) and first aid training. Their focus is definitely non-violent crisis intervention. And, if necessary, they are trained to do citizens arrests.

Phoenix

See more photos here.
As we walked through the alleys, people said hello to us and wanted to know which organization we were with. All in all we felt safe in the group and found all the Angels to be friendly. The reasons they do this as volunteer work (as opposed to working with other charities, etc) is mainly because they are civil-minded and want to give back to the community in this manner. The members have a variety of backgrounds – some in martial arts, some in security, and some members in the past have either been police or are interested in becoming police officers or working as paramedics.

The Vancouver chapter of the Guardian Angels has been given the thumbs up by the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Police Department. Across Canada, new branches are starting in Calgary, Edmonton and also in Halifax. They are currently recruiting new members and in the next few weeks, the training for their organization will be starting.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Guardian Angels, you can email them at info@vancouverguardianangels.com, you can also find them on facebook or you can email me and I’ll make sure Steve gets the message.

5 Comments so far

  1. MJ Ankenman (unregistered) on September 24th, 2007 @ 8:27 am

    Great to hear a first hand account of an evening with the Guardian Angels.


  2. Andrea in NS (unregistered) on September 24th, 2007 @ 10:23 am

    Great article Carol. I hope if they come to NS they make an impact. There are areas that certainly could use the help.


  3. Scott (unregistered) on September 24th, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    Two Thumbs Up to People helping out the community!

    We need more people like those Guardian Angels in DTES!
    I know they get such a bad rap, but over 25 years of helping should say alot.

    Excellent work Carol!!!


  4. Grimm Ronin (unregistered) on September 25th, 2007 @ 9:56 am

    Its Called a BERET


  5. Emm (unregistered) on September 27th, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

    I had the impression these “angels” were just a bunch of anti-homeless thugs, but wow, this sure smartened me up. Keep up the good work, angels.



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