A new calling

Rev. Allen Tysick’s new mission takes shape as Our Place Society announces his replacement

Rev. Allen Tysick

For the past month, Rev. Allen Tysick’s booming voice has been missing from the breakfast program at Our Place Society.

Tysick often helped out behind the counter, telling jokes and singing songs to help lighten the load for the people waiting in line for eggs or oatmeal.

On April 15, Tysick quietly wrapped up his duties at the drop-in centre on Pandora Avenue – almost three months ahead of his official last day – and departed with a small gathering with his staff and no media fanfare.

“The finances aren’t great,” Tysick said of his reason for leaving early, by taking his accrued vacation. “It just gave me that time when income is coming in to set up a new society.”

As executive director of Our Place, Tysick worked long hours to balance his high-level duties and still maintain a personal connection to the clients by handing out coffee and doughnuts to people sleeping in the street, and helping out during the breakfast shift.

It’s this love of personally connecting with the poor, homeless and vulnerable that will guide his next ministry.

“I’m looking at a ministry downtown that would really be with the men and women who are the most destitute on the street,” he said from his home in Sooke.

“A lot of them have been barred from various places – including Our Place – for good reasons. I want to be able to visit them in jail, making sure they don’t go from jail to the corner, from hospital to the corner.”

At this time, the details of this new ministry are scant. He won’t share his ideas for a name and specific mandate until approved by the United Church of Canada. But one thing he knows for sure: “I don’t want to do something that somebody else is already doing.”

Operations at Our Place are also evolving.

Early this week, the board of directors announced it hired a new executive director.

Sandra Danco will be leaving the helm of the Edmonton Women’s Shelter to replace Tysick. She takes over her new duties July 4.

Danco, who has an education in social work and theology, brings 20 years experience in the field.

As executive director of the women’s shelter in Edmonton since 2001, she expanded services to include the first shelter for immigrant women in Canada.

“One of the things we’re going to be working towards is having (Our Place) open seven days a week, and longer hours, 12 hour days, to meet the needs of the people,” Danco said, from her office in Edmonton.

“It’s unfortunate that right now, there’s no place for the family to go on weekends.”

This expansion has long been Tysick’s mission. Despite tirelessly advocating for more funding, however, the operating grants never materialized. A 7 a.m. breakfast program, launched in 2010, is under threat of closing June 30 due to a lack of operating dollars.

But a new strategy is already in place.

Since Tysick’s departure, interim executive director Gail Snider has introduced a more diversified fundraising strategy.

“There has been a shift to a bit more of a professionally-based direct mail-out model … mirrored after a fundraising model from the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver,” said Snider. “How that all plays out depends on how our new executive director chooses to follow that path.”

Danco said she’s prepared to examine fundraising opportunities when she arrives.

“(I’ll) look at ways to encourage the people to open the doors literally,” she said. “People can see a concrete need and they can address that need. And that’s the most exciting part about this – this is a concrete day-to-day life need … That’s been my experience working in women’s shelters. People just get such satisfaction from being able to fill a gap, to make life better for a person or more people.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria council recommends prioritizing housing for people in the area for at least a year

The motion passed unanimously during committee of the whole meeting

Deal Street artist to host front yard art show this weekend

Ojibwe artist inspired by West Coast features and landscapes

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read