CoSA Banquet, March 10, 2020
CoSA Vancouver Fraser Valley Volunteers
What a special night Tuesday, March 10th was as we celebrated our volunteers and Core Members at Vancouver Fraser Valley (VFV) CoSA’s 13th Annual Banquet. The night was filled with laughter, love, and a spirit of hope as our volunteers, Core Members , correctional partners, supporters and guests came together to acknowledge the impact CoSA has on our community.
We are incredibly grateful that Rev. Harry Nigh, one of the founders of CoSA Canada, came all the way from Hamilton to give the keynote address. Those in attendance listened to his anecdote of the creation of CoSA first-hand. It was powerful, beautiful and moving; reminding the volunteers and staff why we do this challenging work while inspiring the Core Members of what is possible. Later, Rev. Harry Nigh shared how meaningful the evening had been for him, saying:
"One of the most profound moments for me was at the end when everyone was cleaning up and a young man sidled up to me and said very quietly, ‘You saved my life’. Of course, I didn't know him from Adam and he went on to say that his Circle gave him his life back when he thought everything was hopeless.
Our Annual CoSA Banquet was also a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with our correctional partners. Both Elliott Smith, Deputy Provincial Director for BC Corrections and Barbara Van Vugt, Yukon District Director for Correctional Service Canada Community Corrections addressed the group. The two correctional partners had powerful praise for the importance of CoSA and the hard work our volunteers do. They also mentioned the many meaningful relationships and connections that are born from our organization, our accomplishments, and our success in keeping communities safe.
Finally, we heard from a few of our volunteers and Core Members who echoed the sentiments of meaningfulness heard throughout the night. Our volunteer speakers emphasized how important CoSA was to them, how the experience can be life changing and the overall positivity we as an organization create in the community. One volunteer in particular shared her courageous story of surviving sexual assault and how she came to realize through volunteering with CoSA that sexual assault was a two-part tragedy where both individuals leave feeling less than human. Her story left many of us in tears. We are very grateful for her sharing. Our Core Members spoke about how CoSA keeps them honest and accountable. CoSA also provides hope and helps them feel a sense of inclusion. They receive the support they need to believe in their future and that they have the ability to change. One core member shared how her Circle was helping her stay positive in the face of her terminal cancer diagnosis. To finish off the evening, the Core Members as a group thanked their volunteers with beautiful cards. Overall, this was a night that won’t soon be forgotten!" - Rev. Harry Nigh