The Hope in Shadows camera give-out day earlier this month shows us all the community we have built. Here's how the day was captured, in the words of our community members.

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Best Friends: Sharri and Shirley

Sharri Robinson: "Shirley and I are best friends and we have an idea for the contest, that's to get a bunch of kids together and spell out East Van! I love taking pictures, I'm a photo freak, anything, water, sunset. I like to travel, too."

Shirley: "I like to go for walks and take pictures of eagles, nature, raindrops."

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Peter Thompson

Peter: "I won the contest in 2011 and I like to enter this because it helps build up the community. I've lived in the Downtown Eastside for 35 years. I was a logger and travelled up the coast a lot in my work. When I won last time I gave some of the money away to my family, and I'd probably do the same thing if I win this time."

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Brody

Brody: "I entered the Hope in Shadows contest once 10 years ago, but I've really enjoyed photography since I was a kid. I like landscapes, everything. This has been my neighbourhood for a long time and it is important to me. We need more low-income housing, more treatment-on-demand. I understand what it's like to be addicted and I understand what it's like to be homeless. That's why I've become an activist on issues like social housing and gentrification."

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Amy's daughter Mai Loan, Amy Wilson (mom on last year's calendar cover), and her son August 

Amy: "The theme is about the community we built, and I'll probably take pictures here, and in and around the school. I do volunteer work in this neighbourhood."

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Keesha

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Alicia and Keesha 

Alicia: "I've lived here about four years and I really like this neighbourhood because we have all the support and services that we need, for me and the kids. I'm not going to do anything special out of my schedule for the contest-- I know who I want to take pictures of!"

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Joe Thompson

Joe Thompson: "I won the (HIS photo) contest one year with a photo of an affordable housing protest. I've lived in this neighbourhood for many, many years. This contest is a great piece of community-building. I lean toward architectural shots and I want to bring out the aesthetics of this neighbourhood."

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Friends Denny & Monika

Denny: "I like to live in this neighbourhood, I have friends, it's good. People are kind."

Monika: "I came here from Poland and I had no family, no one. This neighbourhood is my community now. I've worked for Coast Foundation for eight years, on neighbourhood cleanup, picking up syringes, and condoms. Yes it's tough work, but I like to be active. I'm so lucky I can contribute something to this community that helps me so much, that I can give back to the people who are the most needy. For me the really world is too scary, it makes me depressed. Here, there is always something to do, to socialize with people." 

Photos by Robin Toma
Words by Suzanne Fournier