VPWAS Scotiabank AIDS Walk #YYJ for Life Moving Forward, Promoting Grassroots Activism While Engaging our Community

[Victoria, BC – April 8, 2016] In looking for ways promote and integrate our history of grassroots activism while still engaging our community in meaningful ways, the Board and Staff of the Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS), in consultation with membership, staff, volunteers and allies has decided we will not participate in the 2016 “Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life”.

VPWAS, along with the now-defunded Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Services Society (VARCS), have hosted this annual event for well over 15 years, with varying degrees of success. With a steady decline in interest and participation as well as increased financial costs, organizational and logistical challenges associated in hosting this event, we made the difficult decision to discontinue as host organization for the walk this year. The decision was reached after many deep reflections, meditations and critical conversations, and through strategic planning sessions at the board level.

The overall decline in momentum at the local level of the branded “Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life”, has given us the opportunity, over several months, to question how VPWAS can be most effective in fundraising, community engagement, and increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS related issues, and prevention, while elevating the profile of our agency. VPWAS will maintain our membership with the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) and look forward to working with and strengthening our relationships with CAS.

In envisioning alternatives, we aim to do our work in creative, effective ways that are rooted in our accountability to the communities we engage in. We see this as a new journey and opportunity to create and promote alternative paths that are rooted in community care and responsibility. Our popular and well attended events, such as the yearly “Garage Sale and Community Party”, as well as our “Annual Silent Auction at the Fernwood Inn”, have been very effective and engaging, and will continue. As for “walk day” it remains to be seen, join our events organizing committee and help to envision the future. (Contact Sarah Wilson sarah.wilson@vpwas.org)

It is our hope that our members, community partners and allies will continue to support us as we move forward and navigate this new, but familiar path. We view this not as a departure, but as a return to our roots. We are excited by the opportunity to create fundraising events and points of community engagement that are on our own terms, responsive to regional and local needs, and in line with the values that founded our organization.


For more information contact:

Piotr Burek, Chair VPWAS
101 – 1139 Yates Street
Victoria, BC

Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 205 - 1120 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3M9
Phone: 250.382.7927 | Fax: 250.382.3232 | Toll Free: 1.877.382.7927 | support@vpwas.org | www.vpwas.org | Login