Dustin Godfrey

Colleen Aitken, affectionately known by many of her peers as “Mom,” fits her matriarchal title well. She keeps guard of some of the younger, vulnerable individuals on the streets and she provides for those who need help. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

The Mom of Abbotsford’s streets

Colleen Aitken is often called ‘Mom’ for her advice, her protective eye and her care for her ‘little ones’

Colleen Aitken, affectionately known by many of her peers as “Mom,” fits her matriarchal title well. She keeps guard of some of the younger, vulnerable individuals on the streets and she provides for those who need help. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Abbotsford school suspended 20 students for ‘fight club’

Abbotsford school suspended 20 students for ‘fight club’

But the school district denies existence of a fight club at Robert Bateman Secondary

Abbotsford school suspended 20 students for ‘fight club’
One of about 10 protesters outside Gagan Farm Market and Petting Zoo holds a sign up high. Protesters were calling attention to what they say was an abusive environment for birds and other animals at the petting zoo. (Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News)

Group protests alleged mistreatment of birds at Abbotsford petting zoo

Rally ended on a hopeful note, with the owner of the farm working with the protest group

One of about 10 protesters outside Gagan Farm Market and Petting Zoo holds a sign up high. Protesters were calling attention to what they say was an abusive environment for birds and other animals at the petting zoo. (Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News)
A convoy of vehicles travelled from the Fraser Valley Auto Mall to the Abbotsford Community Services’ Food Bank on Saturday to deliver items collected during the annual food drive. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford food drive donates estimated $50k to food bank

Annual Fraser Valley Automall Food Drive donated $6,500 cheque, but up to $50,000 in total value

A convoy of vehicles travelled from the Fraser Valley Auto Mall to the Abbotsford Community Services’ Food Bank on Saturday to deliver items collected during the annual food drive. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Best Friends: How pets can improve the lives of Abbotsford’s homeless

Best Friends: How pets can improve the lives of Abbotsford’s homeless

Responsibility over a cat or dog makes Gary Hull take fewer risks and take better care of himself

Best Friends: How pets can improve the lives of Abbotsford’s homeless
Brad Wernicke and Becky Bird say being a couple on the streets poses some challenges, but it also yields some benefits to their situation, including security and a sense of responsibility to one another. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Somebody to love: Comforts and challenges as a couple on the streets

Life as a homeless couple forces ultimatums; it also brings the security of having each other’s back

Brad Wernicke and Becky Bird say being a couple on the streets poses some challenges, but it also yields some benefits to their situation, including security and a sense of responsibility to one another. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
The Abbotsford School District board of education voted unanimously to shift from passive consent to active consent for a controversial health survey.                                Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford schools shift consent policy for McCreary health study

School board votes unanimously in favour of stricter parental consent policy for survey participation

The Abbotsford School District board of education voted unanimously to shift from passive consent to active consent for a controversial health survey.                                Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Harvey Clause drives his bicycle and trolley everywhere he goes, but his load has gotten slimmer over time. In his binning days, he would carry multiple trolleys behind his bike, but he now just hauls the one. He’s got space to hold some of his stuff at the seniors’ winter shelter, and no longer needs to haul around loads of recyclables and other items he’s found in the bins. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A WAY HOME: Abbotsford’s greenest citizens

Service provider says the homeless population is Abbotsford’s most environmentally friendly

Harvey Clause drives his bicycle and trolley everywhere he goes, but his load has gotten slimmer over time. In his binning days, he would carry multiple trolleys behind his bike, but he now just hauls the one. He’s got space to hold some of his stuff at the seniors’ winter shelter, and no longer needs to haul around loads of recyclables and other items he’s found in the bins. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
The Giver: A community builder in Abbotsford’s homeless community

The Giver: A community builder in Abbotsford’s homeless community

A WAY HOME: Harvey Clause wants to build a life helping those around him

The Giver: A community builder in Abbotsford’s homeless community
Harvey Clause has big ideas about helping the local homeless community. He wants to see another tent city – this time with more structure – to bring the community together. Clause sees the community as stronger when united. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A WAY HOME: How to take action

We asked service providers how you can help Abbotsford’s homeless population

Harvey Clause has big ideas about helping the local homeless community. He wants to see another tent city – this time with more structure – to bring the community together. Clause sees the community as stronger when united. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Abbotsford piano teacher Jean Ritter receives a teacher of distinction award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, national recognition for just two people in each province or region in Canada.                                Submitted photo

Abbotsford piano teacher earns national recognition

Jean Ritter was recently named a teacher of distinction by the Royal Conservatory of Music

Abbotsford piano teacher Jean Ritter receives a teacher of distinction award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, national recognition for just two people in each province or region in Canada.                                Submitted photo
Abbotsford program painting picture of homelessness in motion

Abbotsford program painting picture of homelessness in motion

Co-ordinated intake and referral program sees 387 referrals of homeless and at-risk in community

Abbotsford program painting picture of homelessness in motion
The Abbotsford School District is donating a few hundred iPads to local groups after replacing them with newer devices.

Abbotsford School District donating used iPads to local groups

District replaced 2,600 iPads over summer, and a few hundred were working and able to be donated

The Abbotsford School District is donating a few hundred iPads to local groups after replacing them with newer devices.
One of the Live 5-2-1-0 playboxes at an Abbotsford park.                                Submitted photo

Tackling childhood obesity in Abbotsford takes complex approach: doctor

As childhood obesity remains stagnant in Canada, it’s a challenge to bring rates down, says program founder

One of the Live 5-2-1-0 playboxes at an Abbotsford park.                                Submitted photo
As cars drive by along Clearbrook Road, often well above the 30 km/h speed limit, crossing guard Marylyn Miller stands between the hectic traffic and young students and their parents heading into Clearbrook Elementary School on a rainy morning. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford schools rehire all crossing guards after contract changes

Crossing guards shared concerns after Abbotsford Community Services dropped contract in October

As cars drive by along Clearbrook Road, often well above the 30 km/h speed limit, crossing guard Marylyn Miller stands between the hectic traffic and young students and their parents heading into Clearbrook Elementary School on a rainy morning. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Ron Sestrap jingles a bell during a two-hour shift of volunteering for the Salvation Army kettle campaign. Sestrap has been at it for about nine years, now. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A bit of joy from Abbotsford’s Christmas Kettles

December brings three big changes to malls across Canada: a surge of shoppers, Xmas music and kettles

Ron Sestrap jingles a bell during a two-hour shift of volunteering for the Salvation Army kettle campaign. Sestrap has been at it for about nine years, now. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
A truck speeds past Camille Timmermans and Joyce Verwoerd, who are calling for the city to take action on what they’ve dubbed the “Sumas Prairie Speedway.”  Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford residents urge change in high-crash ‘Sumas Prairie Speedway’

Seven fatal crashes among 233 total in area since 2010, according to data obtained by resident

A truck speeds past Camille Timmermans and Joyce Verwoerd, who are calling for the city to take action on what they’ve dubbed the “Sumas Prairie Speedway.”  Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Grace Unruh is one of the proposed ambassadors with the Drug War Survivors Business Engagement Ambassadors Program, which is intended to improve relationships with the local business community.  Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford homeless seek to improve relations with local businesses

Ambassador program would clean up businesses, help calm tense situations

Grace Unruh is one of the proposed ambassadors with the Drug War Survivors Business Engagement Ambassadors Program, which is intended to improve relationships with the local business community.  Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Superintendent Kevin Godden’s Nov. 21 blog post on youth mental health struck some online controversy.

Abbotsford’s top educator strikes controversy with mental health post

Superintendent writes many cases of youth mental health not clinical; critics say he’s oversimplifying

Superintendent Kevin Godden’s Nov. 21 blog post on youth mental health struck some online controversy.
City of Abbotsford bylaw officers work down at the Gladys Ave. homeless camp in August, speaking with people still at the site, where B.C. Hydro crews cleared the campsite just weeks prior. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

UFV developing e-learning course on Abbotsford homelessness issues

Many Ways to Home won’t offer credits, but is billed as more of a professional development course

City of Abbotsford bylaw officers work down at the Gladys Ave. homeless camp in August, speaking with people still at the site, where B.C. Hydro crews cleared the campsite just weeks prior. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News