Good Neighbour 2019 – Matina Spiropoulos

We say it over and over. We love Lynn Valley. Sure, the trees are great and the trails fantastic but what makes Lynn Valley our home is the community of people. We are so proud to shine the light on the good work that happens throughout the year. This year we are excited to announce Matina Spiropoulos as our Lynn Valley Life Good Neighbour!


Spreading the love


Matina has her hands involved in so many aspects of our community – not just Lynn Valley but also across the North Shore. She is a connector. A community needs people with vision of its entire being; someone who knows what is needed and has the willingness to organize those with resources to help. Take this year’s partnership between the Mollie Nye House and Argyle Secondary. Matina connected the sewing class to help with much needed updates. 

She is a year after year supporter of the Mollie Nye House and has joined the board of the Lynn Valley Services Society. She is the chair of the marketing committee as well as the vice-president. She loves the cross-generational support it provides to Lynn Valley.

“Matina is passionate about our community and goes beyond the call of duty,” said Maria Roney, operations manager for the LVSS. “Whether she is fighting for change to protect our natural resources, volunteering at the many community events or developing and executing a social media plan for Mollie Nye House, she does so energetically and with passion and commitment. She is a true asset to Lynn Valley and the North Shore.” 

Matina’s work extends to those younger as well. She has been an important part of the Argyle Parent Advisory Committee. Helping with a variety of fundraisers and representing Argyle’s PAC at the district level. 

She is also passionate supporter of music – for years spearheading the open mic Sunday Jam at the Lynn Valley Legion (supporting also as a member). This is a resource to musicians across the North Shore. 


Beyond Lynn Valley


Reaching beyond our little neighbourhood, Matina volunteers with the District of North Vancouver on the Community Services Advisory Committee. This is a volunteer driven committee that reviews grants submitted to the DNV. She discusses, with the committee, social and cultural concerns that affect the quality of life in the municipality. Last month also marked a milestone for countless hours of lobbying Matina invested in bettering our parks and environment. She was a key voice in the fight to have all types of smoking/vaping banned in ALL district parks and greenspaces.  

Also this year, Matina has become an ambassador for Foundry BC, She helps increase awareness of Foundry and its services to support mental illness (ages 12-24). She liaises between community and Foundry at booth events throughout the year to help reduce stigma and increase community engagement.

“Matina has a passion for our community and supporting the work that many of us do,” said Nicole Kennedy, prevention educator for Foundry BC- North Shore. “She is dedicated to ‘getting the word out,’ informing community  members (at events) of how to access services, and always has a bright smile on her face. We are truly lucky to have her as a volunteer with Foundry North Shore.

We are so lucky to have Matina investing in Lynn Valley and beyond – thank you for the hours and hours contribute to so many parts of our community and beyond. Congratulations on being our 2019 Good Neighbour. 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

(from the archives) The End of the Line: From family dream to neighbourhood gem

It began as a mom’s big idea. Connie Fay saw a chance to create a business that would matter – and with her son Jamie graduating high school she had the perfect business partner to do it with. In 2005 they bought the rundown corner store at Lynn Valley Road and Dempsey and dug in to begin The End of the Line General Store.


A place for neighbours


Jamie Fay

“It’s better than we ever envisioned,” says owner Jamie Fay. “I never expected to have an impact on the community. People say we are like an extension of their living room. We see families grow up. I’ve seen kids who were knee high and now they are teenagers – and I know their grandparents.”

The idea of creating a neighbourhood meeting place has been shown in research to foster connection and create a stronger sense of identity. It’s an idea that rings true for the Fays – respecting and supporting Lynn Valley and the North Shore is essential to The End of the Line’s success.

“It is everything we do,” said Fay. “We have JJ Bean Coffee. We have artist Vicki English – she lives a block away. Local suppliers reinvest in our community. It draws locals in because we get specialty products first and tourists can get something that will remind them of here.”

Investing in local goes beyond suppliers. You may recognize neighbours behind the counter and see the general store supporting Lynn Valley fundraisers. 

The End of the Line is opening its doors for two evenings in December to say thank you to all the neighbours that frequent their store all year long. [UPDATED FOR 2019] Nov. 28 and Dec. 3 from 6-9 p.m. join local vendors and many others for a customer appreciation night.


Making a dream reality


The transition from corner store to a thriving neighbourhood amenity wasn’t always smooth. Learning as the mother-son team went meant squeezing in part-time school while running a small business which led to challenges. 

“We knew we had to be committed and we would learn from our mistakes,” said Fay. “I didn’t know about running a cafe or a coffee shop. I didn’t know about managing people.”  For him it also meant learning to say “Yes.”

“A small business has to jump on opportunities. There is no time to wait. While I was attending BCIT I was approached to do some promotion for the business school,” he said. 

That shrewd move came as the business itself was coming into its own. They continued to embrace the “general” in their name by consciously offering something for all ages and to make the cafe feel comfortable and inclusive for all, said Fay. 

“Three to four years ago was a definite turning point,” said Fay. “It has taken a lot failure to perfect this craft.”

Fay attributes the ideal location as being essential. For more than a hundred years a store has been operating at the same location – first serving the loggers that gave birth to Lynn Valley. When the Fays took over the location they honoured the past, drawing the store’s name from its location near the historic last trolley stop from a line linking the headwaters to Lonsdale Quay. Today, without the parks nearby they wouldn’t have the visitor traffic.

“When a tour bus pulls up and they all want to use our bathroom that can be hard,” he said. “But I think most people see we are small and grab a coffee or we know they will remember us for their next hike and stop by for a snack. If we weren’t at this corner we wouldn’t be as successful. We know it’s the location.” 

With year over year sales increasing, the Fays have more plans for the future. They want to continue growing and evolving into what the neighbourhood needs. For 2018:

“I want to continue to make it better,” said Fay. “And maybe go on a vacation.”

For details on the Nov. 28 and Dec. 3, 2019 Customer Appreciation and Holiday Shopping Nights visit The End of the Line on Facebook.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

A local solution for mountain safety

A Lynn Valley dad has launched a new business to keep adventurers safer in the mountains – across Canada.   


National issue, local solution


The recently launched All Adventure aims to make essential safety equipment for backcountry adventures just a click away. 

Ryan Reilly

“Living in Lynn Valley, when you  hear the helicopter go overhead at first light you think ‘Wow, someone has had a bad night out there’ and you hope they are okay,” said All Adventure founder Ryan Reilly. “And the reality is: it doesn’t take long to get out of cell coverage. You head north out of Lynn Headwaters and within a few minutes you have no cell coverage. That can be nice – to be disconnected and in nature but if something does go wrong it can get really tricky. 

“My goal is to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.”

All Adventure is a personal locator beacon (PLB) rental company. While frequent users of the backcountry should have their own device, there are plenty of people who may need it one once a year or once every couple of years, who can’t or won’t make the investment, which is where All Adventure comes in. At $50 for three days and $80 for a week – all in – it’s a no brainer. 

“The ability to call for help is really powerful,” said Reilly. “What we see on the North Shore, is when people are in trouble, they get themselves deeper into trouble trying to get cell coverage – trying to climb a nearby peak to get a few bars. Without a tool it is really hard to do. 

“Most times everything goes well and you come home but there are times that things go wrong and it is really nice to have a safety device with you. Our rentals are for people, like a trail runner and who does the Lynn Loop and runs with friends, but once or twice a year they do something a little bit crazier, like going off to do Haynes Valley. You can do the whole trail and not see anyone until you reach Grouse.”

As passionate outdoor athlete and a dad himself, Reilly feels the goal of any adventure is to get home safe. As All Adventure was in its early stages, one news story from 2019 hit a little too close to home and reassured Reilly he had a good idea. 

“The one that stands out is the incident on Burke Mountain, a visitor from Georgia, was hiking to go fishing with his children and they ran into trouble. The dad made the decision to leave his very young children overnight and tried to hike higher to get cell coverage. It did end well and everyone was safe,” he said. “Those children were the same age as my kids and I think of that choice to make as a father in an incredibly tense situation and all it would have taken was sending one message.”


The All Adventure system


More than just a typical emergency beacon the Garmin In Reach Mini’s that All Adventure rents offers two-way communication. The feature makes meeting up with groups and point-to-point pick ups for trips like the West Coast trail easy. 

“We want to make it a simple process,” said Reilly. “It’s for anyone who is going beyond their norm. It’s people who are off to do something exciting and are looking for a challenge and need to take this extra step to be safe.” 

With All Adventure handling the shipping and accounts it is as easy as getting a package in the mail. When users are finished they mail the system back in a pre-paid envelope at any Canada Post box. They also have users review the ten essentials and offer links to other resources like AdventureSmart

“The North Shore is relatively unique in the world and it’s a little deceptive that you can take a city bus to a trailhead and have wilderness that stretches thousands of kilometres. It’s incredible,” he said, adding he wants to make it just as easy to do it safely. 

If you were lucky enough to score a ticket to the Banff Centre Mountain Film Fest showing Nov. 29 at Centennial Theatre – All Adventure will be there to answer any questions. 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Growing a social conscience

Argyle students harvested a bumper crop of Remembrance Day poppies from the most unlikely place – their metal work shop. Selling out in under two hours they have raised more than $100 for the Lynn Valley Legion.


When an idea blooms


“It started last year, when a student Ava Johnson – a gifted artist – said, about Nov. 10, she was going to use some scrap to make a poppy,” said Ryan Edgar, a metalwork teacher at Argyle Secondary School. “It was phenomenal and I decided this would be one of the first projects students work on this year.”

As a simple project involving copper and enamel, Edgar had students trace, cut, clean and apply several coats of enamel in red and black. The process takes time and involves repeatedly heating the copper until the enamel powder melts.  

“We made over 100 and sold them for a minimum donation of $1 for the legion,” he said. “We started at one lunch hour and by the next morning when teachers who didn’t have a donation the day before came to me – we were sold out.”


Forever poppies


The class project saw a clear shift in the students. Like any project, as the classes went on they began to lose a bit of interest, he said.

“That was the cool thing – once they realized they were giving back to the community – that there would be a significant financial gift – from their hard work, they were back at it,” said Edgar. “Students are way more socially conscious than when I was their age and even more than they were when I started teaching 16 years ago. They really want to help others.”

Edgar and students are well aware they are creating “forever poppies” and took the time to speak to purchasers to encourage them in future years to donate to the Legion. 

“We still want people to put a little something in the jar, even if they aren’t getting a poppy.”

With the success of this year’s poppies Edgar hopes to make even more next year. Keep your eyes peeled on the streets of Lynn Valley for these small works of art, and know its our local teens taking the time to remember. 


Help the Legion this week


This is a busy time for the legion membership, whose core volunteers are diligently donating hours upon hours.

The Lynn Valley community can help at the legion in many ways this time of year. The main fundraiser and awareness campaign is Poppy Tagging – that is handing out poppies to members of the community and collecting donations.

Lynn Valley community members are asked to volunteer by visiting the legion – 1630 Lynn Valley Road – any day until November 11, beginning at 12 noon. Poppy taggers will be given a tray, a short briefing and assigned a location in Lynn Valley. The work is flexible for whatever time the volunteer has. Locals are also encouraged to pick up a poppy tray to take to their workplace. Call the branch (604) 987-2050 to learn more or volunteer. 

Veterans Plaza Service

Royal Canadian Legion 114 – LV Legion

Date: November 11, 2019
Where: Veterans Plaza
Time: 10:30am
Address: 3205 Institute Road, North Vancouver
Website: www.legionbcyukon.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RCLBranch114LynnValley


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Who is your good neighbour this year?

It’s one of our favorite times of year here at Lynn Valley Life: The Good Neighbor Award season.  Year after year this is a highlight for all of us.


Our quiet contributors


Day-to-day we try to gather interesting and Innovative stories about Lynn Valley but one thing that is often missed are the quiet stories. The good that goes on in our neighborhood everyday – often unnoticed beyond the person or organization helped.  We have people step up in times of need, we have those that day in and day out give of their time, money and energy. We have those that invest in our schools, our community groups, our churches. We have those that are staples on our streets who step up and help neighbours and friends whenever it’s needed. From helping refugees to outstanding coaches to people who are practically community institutions.


Pillars of the community


Lizz Lindsay at Sharing Abundance.

The Good Neighbour Award has been going strong since 2012. We receive heartfelt nominations – some short, some long. Check out some previous winners and read their stories – whe have an exceptional community! Last year we had Linda Munro, a local who puts her hands in so many local groups. In the past we have had Tim Green, a tireless supporter of the Lynn Valley Services Society and Molly Nye House. Dave and Wilna Parry passionate advocates for refugees and immigrants. In 2015 we were proud to recognize Cath Bates Dimmock a volunteer with Argyle Secondary for more than 10 years! We have shared the astounding work of Lizz Lindsay and her charity Sharing Abundance that brings people together through food and programs address food insecurity and social isolation. We love hearing about who makes a difference in your life and our community.


How to nominate your good neighbour


Who might our Good Neighbour be for 2019? Please send us a note telling us why you think your nominee makes Lynn Valley a better place to be. It doesn’t have to be long and fancy – just from the heart! Please send your suggestions to info@LynnValleyLife.com before November 21, 2019. Lynn Valley’s Good Neighbour for will receive a plaque, a restaurant gift certificate, and some well-deserved recognition!


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

A chat with the mayor – and you can too!

Once a month you can head down to the Lynn Valley Library and have a face-to-face chat with the mayor. The open invitation is a longstanding and unique North Vancouver tradition.


Meet your mayor


Following in the tradition of past elected officials North Vancouver District Mayor Mike Little visits the Lynn Valley branch about once a month for residents to ask questions, share concerns and create an opportunity for open dialogue. 

“I enjoy it,” said Little. “Sometimes people bring a case they want to bring to my attention. Sometimes they raise macro issues like climate. I get everything from dead cedars that need attention to concerns about international agreements.”

The experience is quite different at each of the libraries he visits, said the mayor. At Lynn Valley participants are often initially quite quiet and reserved about talking at all in a library but warm up. Other Meet Your Mayor locations are more separated and have lively discussions. But sometimes no one comes at all.

“I have been skunked – no showed up,” laughed Little. “Whatever someone comes to talk about is a concern to them. It’s something affecting their life and they are asking for help or more information. It keeps me on my toes and gives me insight into the changing concerns of the different neighbourhoods.”

With the current crop of councillors this is more important than ever. Previous councils had a natural geographic mix of representatives but the current group councillors and the mayor reside in the eastern side of the district, he said. Making the Meet Your Mayor sessions an important part of understanding what is happening in the district. 

It doesn’t appear any other mayor in the Metro Vancouver area holds such regular and open engagement with the public. The City of Vancouver Mayor held one afternoon last spring with pre-booking required. If anything, this is a practice that will expand, said Little

“They are a valuable experience,” said Little. “I can better respond and these meetings have changed how I approach issues. We will hopefully expand to a new library space opening at the bottom of Capilano Road and I hope to use that to engage with that corner of the district. I have also gotten some feedback about adding some weekend times.”

You can meet the Mayor the first or second Tuesday of the month. The dates and times can be found here.


Mayor Little’s thoughts on . . .


Traffic and parking

I think one thing we have not managed well . . . we have to be forward thinking about how to get people out of their cars but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to manage the cars that are there now. There are some neighbourhoods that are really under pressure now. The Sunnyhurst/Ross area. That was a place where we went from 1.6 car spaces per unit to 1.2 and now you really see it. On 27th it is about design. The Evergreen development all has outdoor entrances so people don’t want to use the parkade. The street is full but if you walk around to the underground garage there is lots of space. 

Lynn Canyon

It’s a trending issue region wide – what is happening is people are moving into smaller and smaller spaces. Where [people] might have gone into [their] backyard, instead [they] now engage in destination recreation on a Saturday and Sunday. Destination recreation is getting out of the house because there is no space there. We are on the edge of this. More and more people are coming to anything that is free: Deep Cove, Panorama Park, Lynn Canyon. The North Shore is now playing backyard to the entire region. 

We have had major traffic problems to and from the North Shore during the work week and what we are seeing now it’s the same on the weekends. We are going to have to engage in the regulatory side with parking . . . we are going to have to do some more traffic demand management techniques where we are paying for parking or we are paying for access. I think we have to look at it so we are responsible with our neighbours and our residents are protected from the popularity. We have talked about issuing a free annual pass with your taxes so residents can access for free. For far to long it has been too easy for tour groups to use our public parks.

Changing character of Lynn Valley

We were under some pressure to put a cap on height and the council of the time was supportive of that. But there were arguments raised that said “If you ever want to do something like the Kiwanis building again – purpose built rental, supportive senior housing – don’t lock down height because you won’t be able to do it.” So the justification on height was the rare unicorn of an amenity and then all the developments come in pushing for height. I think we should have locked down height earlier in the OCP and LAP then we would have been in a better position. Then maybe we could have budged for affordable social housing but not high-end luxury housing that is going for $1000 a square foot. 

More playgrounds and updated community centres

There is a pot of money that is set aside for a youth centre that will be tied into the Kirkstone space on the Karen Magnussen side of things. We see Karen Magnussen as an aging facility that needs to be redeveloped [Ron Andrews top the priority list, as an older facility]. 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

How $5 can jumpstart two dreams

Lynn Valley’s North Shore Disability Resource Centre is back with its 5 for 5 Raffle. With proceeds going to a new mobile sensory van and ongoing advocacy work – you have until Sept. 17, 2019 to purchase tickets.


Adding Resources


The (almost) annual raffle is a key fundraiser supporting resources and advocacy work undertaken by the NSDRC. This year it is looking to expand its community resources by adding another multi sensory room available for community use and this time making it mobile to serve even more people. 

An example of a Snoezelen room.

Multi-sensory environments are safe spaces designed to stimulate senses, explained Kathleen Jessop, interim executive director for the North Shore Disability Resource Centre. They can soothe and calm the agitated, as well as engage the withdrawn, she said.

“We are purchasing sensory equipment and putting into a van to make it mobile,” said Jessop. “There is  one multi sensory Snoezelen room on the North Shore and it’s booked all the time. Our plan is to make it mobile so we can take it to a person or to a school or to a seniors’ centre or even to a community event.”

With ambient and active visual, touch, sound and smell stimulation, the existing Snoezelen room is already an important resource for local families.  

“We will be able to serve the people we already do with the room but we can also expand and serve others and it will raise awareness of us in the community as well as what multi sensory spaces are and what they are used for,” said Jessop.

The goal is to be up and running by April 2020 or when all the funds needed have been raised. The project has gotten a big boost being the beneficiary of  this year’s North Shore Community Foundation’s Mayors’ Golf Tournament. That $50,000 is a huge step forward, said Jessop.

“We have some families whose children are so anxious they don’t want to leave their houses. If we can bring the room to their doorstep, we can get them from their threshold to the van it will be a huge step for them,” she said. 

“You can imagine these families seeing the van pull up and having their children able to participate in something, to smiling and enjoying something – it could change lives,” added Bob McCormack, NSDRC past-president and board member. 


Get Tickets


Where else for the price of $5 can you support a dream project and possibly win a dream trip? Tickets are available for $5 at the NSDRC office at 3158 Mountain Hwy or by calling 604-985-5371. More information can found on its webpage. Tax receiptable donations (does not apply to raffle tickets) to the Snoezelen van or any of their projects can be made in person or online

Prizes include: 

1st prize: Trip for two, anywhere WestJet flies*

2nd prize: $180 BC Ferries voucher; two night stay Ocean Village Beach Resort in Tofino; $50 gift card to Shed Restaurant Tofino*

3rd prize: Harbour Air Panorama Tour & $150 gift card Pacific Centre

4th prize: Harrison Hot Springs Resort one night stay & breakfast for two*

5th prize: $250 gift card The Bay

*Some conditions apply, details on the NSDRC website. 


Five Facts You May Not Know About the NSDRC


  • The organization began in 1976 by a group of parents with physically disabled children.
  • They have 11 group homes.
  • They employ over 200 people making them one of the larger employers on the North Shore.
  • One of the largest roles NSDRC plays is supporting and helping individuals advocate for their disability and housing benefits. 
  • NSDRC is pretty much always hiring – they typically have both volunteer and paid positions available. Check them out

Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Here’s to the dog days of summer

Lynn Valley is a place where some days it seems like the trails are filled with just as many dogs as people. With the luxury of green space and yards there are many, many furry members of the community. With more families welcoming canines into their homes Lynn Valley dog trainer Valerie Barry is leading the charge to make your transition as smooth as possible, especially if you are moving from a couple with a dog to a family with a dog.


New resources for owners


Unlike many professions, those related to pets in B.C. are unregulated (some do have licencing). The BC SPCA AnimalKind launched its accreditation program in 2018 to offer some guidance to owners on humane, science-based training programs. 

“No dog professions [walkers, trainers, boarders] are regulated, which is a concern,” said Barry. “And the appropriate ways to train are not the the most popular ways to train. The SPCA’s initiative is important because it raises public awareness. Prior to this there were no standards. Having never experienced a dog, you can get some business cards and buy a google ad and get started.” 

The rise of pop-culture adoration for “leader-of-the-pack” training, à la Cesar Millan, has lead to popularity of punishment-based training, said Barry. She also cites a popular 1960s wolf study that does not pass scientific rigour that falsely promote dogs as pack animals. She also raises concern about balance training, which Barry says is deeply worrying because they will do anything to train dogs.

“They have great marketing techniques and terms that sound good,” said Barry. “Positive trainers will say they are positive trainers and we will use food to train your dog. Punitive trainers won’t tell you what they are going to do, they just give you magical sounding buzzwords.”

Without a program like the SPCA, people have to turn to Google and are surprised to find the trainer is going to use a shock collar and not knowing anything about dogs you’d be surprised what people go along with, says Barry. 

“If my dog is barking and I use a shock collar it appears to work, however there is that reinforcement that causes the dog to associate children, or mountain bikers, or joggers or whatever with pain because they are continually hurt in the presence of that something,” she said.

Positive training or rewards-based training are humane and based in science, said Barry. 

“It’s interesting when I go to visit families, often I will get the response of ‘That is what I do with my kids.’” 

Both Barry’s website Dog Partners and SPCA’s AnimalKind offer resources of positive training methods. 


Families, neighbourhoods and dogs


A walk in Lynn Valley is bound to encounter a dog or two, we love our four-legged friends here. 

“We have got fantastic trails, most of the spaces are dog friendly – you are allowed to bring your dog on leash – even the fantastic square at Lynn Valley Village,” said Barry. “On the trails people are friendly and willingly to help accommodate you as you work with your dog to train it.” 

However, one common source of conflict in Lynn Valley Barry hears about is trail interactions – especially between unleashed dogs and families. She has two big tips: always ask owners to call back their dogs – something the dog should respond to, and carry dog treats in your pocket. 

“Dogs respond to energy, so if you are scared or your kids are scared, the dog is barking – I would throw food in its face,” she said. “An owner may ask why you are feeding their dog, and explain if the dog had respond to its call or been trained you wouldn’t have but you are allowed to stop the dog from barking at or jumping on your children. 

“It can be good to ‘train’ your kids how to encounter a dog. Ask your kids to walk behind you and explain you are waiting to see if the dog is friendly. Running around and screaming will get a dog amped up – asking your kids to maintain stillness with you will calm the situation down. Asking a dog to sit can also work – especially if you have treats.” 

She also suggests being aware of the trails most popular for dog walkers and the times they frequent the trails. This time of year it is busiest from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. she said.

A personal passion for Barry is supporting families as they add a dog to their household or young dog-owners who are parents to be. 

“One of the things I am most concerned about is children and dogs,” said Barry. “I am concerned when I hear from a client that they are expecting a baby in three weeks and they have a dog that has been biting people for seven years. We need to get the information out to people who are going to have children that they need to prepare their dogs or prepare children for the addition of a dog.”

Her blog has a wealth of information on these topics – with the ultimate goal being to have happy kids and a happy dog. 

Photos courtesy of Dogpartners.ca.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Loving Zambia from Lynn Valley

Argyle student Hope Pearmain and her mom Debbie are returning to Zambia at the end of June. It’s a story of fate, coincidence or a divine plan depending on your point of view.


Project Samuel


Today, the Lynn Valley family is supporting the education of 24 orphans in Africa, after a Texa’s businessman went to Zambia was compelled to make a difference 2006. His young son, Brenden Vowell, now leads Project Samuel and later met – and went on to marry – a North Vancouver girl, Kim Close. It was Pearmain’s relationship with Close that brought the family to Zambia last summer.

Hope Pearmain

The Pearmains spent a few weeks in the Chibombo District, three hours north from the capital of Lusaka, at Project Samuel.

“It’s super rural,” said Debbie. “It’s like living in the 19th Century. They don’t have electricity. They cook over open fires. They wash their clothes by hand in tubs. The people live in a basic hut structure.”

The small organization started by the Vowell family sits on 257 acres of land with four homes with hopes of making a difference in the lives of some of the 1.4 million Zambian orphans (that’s 10 percent of its 14 million population).

“We are used to seeing homeless people here that are usually adults or maybe teenagers and that is upsetting but over there, there are five – six – seven-year-old kids running around the streets homeless,” she said. “It’s tragic.”

Project Samuel is a youth revitalization project aiming to raise leaders who will stay and rebuild their nation, said Debbie. With such a big challenge Brenden, then in his early 20’s took custody of 24 children – choosing to take full responsibility and invest totally in improving the lives of those children and their communities. The Pearmains arrived last year to help the Vowells as they welcomed their first birth child and learn more about the project.  It was a life changing experience.


Starting with education


Debbie Pearmain

The Pearmains were naturally drawn to schools in the area in part because their children, then 12 and 15, could relate strongly but also, dad, Mark, is the superintendent of the North Vancouver School District. Schools are little more than walls and roof with a painted blackboard – and expensive, said Debbie.

“Here every child has the right to an education,” explained Debbie. “In Zambia that’s not how it works. It costs $80 USD a term [including uniforms, supplies, tuition and supplies] and the average family lives on one US dollar a day.”    

With a background in HR corporate training and coaching Debbie joined Mark at a number of professional days for Zambian teachers.

“Education is expensive and the dropout rates are high,” she said. “Then in Grade 7 the government begins to mandate exams but the students don’t have the literacy levels to be successful.”

Children in a classroom.

They spent one teacher enrichment day just teaching how to teach an exam that students had never been able to pass.

“Everyone showed up – all the teachers, even the vice principal,” she said. “They are working so hard but without the resources and training they need.”

Even Hope stepped into to teach.

“Hope had a Grade 10 education and was actually in one of the schools teaching because we went into one of the classrooms and they were working on a math problem that no one could solve,” said Debbie. “As a mom I had tears streaming down my face because I was so proud.”


The vision is long


Teacher enrichment.

Last summer’s trip had a deep impact on the Pearmains.

“When we came home we sat down with our kids and said ‘We have had this experience, so now what? What do you want to do?’” she said. “We decided as a family our mission will be to keep these kids in school. We can’t help everyone we saw – but we can help these 24 kids at Project Samuel.”

It’s a plan that was quickly supported by people in Lynn Valley and across the North Shore.

“We did some small fundraisers with family and friends and we have raised enough money for two years for all the kids to go school,” said Debbie. “There are crazy stories of people helping us – reaching out on social media. Random people who I haven’t talked to in 20 years sent us cheques.”

North Vancouver donations.

Pearmain highlights the donations of Park and Tilford Cobs Breads for their support of bake sales and the ongoing support of Dave Smith of SmithWerks Carpet and Upholstery Care and the North Shore Alliance Church. Even Grade 5 and 6 students at Vancouver Christian School raised $5000 at their entrepreneur fair. Plus local Lynn Valley families who have donated soccer gear and necessities, including the North Shore Girls Soccer, North Van Football Club as well as the Argyle PAC. These donations are important part of a soccer outreach program in the rural villages, said Debbie.

With Hope asking to go back, the Pearmains wanted to do even more.

“The system isn’t perfect but we have so much here in North Vancouver. We are blessed to have the North Vancouver Literacy Centre. We’ve got this unbelievable resource that we were connected to because our son struggled with reading,” Debbie said. “I started meeting with Susan McLean  – she has put resources together and has been teaching me how to teach reading.”

The year has been spent creating curriculum for students as well as professional development for teachers. It’s not all business though. There were be plenty of soccer games, movie nights, community days and picnics. The long term goal for Project Samuel is to help more children, be self-sufficient and earn income with its farm and ultimately help create a stronger Zambia.

“My personal mission is to do anything here in North Vancouver I can to get the word out. There are 24 kids who will need to go to college. There are two graduating this year. I want to send each child to college – $1500-2000USD commitment per year per child. They have 24 kids to help. If people want to partner with us on this they can receive tax donations and email me for more information,” said Debbie.

“My vision is long. Not only do I want to see them read and finish high school but I want them to be able to give back to their communities and help break the cycle of poverty for their families in the future. It’s unbelievable – the kids have such dreams but they don’t even know all their options – they don’t know what they could be dreaming about.”

To learn more about Project Samuel visit its website or reach out to Debbie.

To donate go to: icmsgo.com. Then click: DONATE, select: Canada, agency: project Samuel Foundation, supporting: children and project giving.


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