Susan Faehndrich-Findlay lives in and has been active in the South Hill community for many years, a keystone in creating a more vibrant and cohesive neighbourhood. Since 1994, Susan’s volunteer work has built understanding and empathy between our largely Chinese, South Asian, Filipino and First Nations population, 70% of whom speak English as a second language. Susan has taught community ESL classes and with help from other neighbours, Susan organized the first South Hill Festival in 2002- now a thriving annual event. The celebration helps residents of all cultures, organizations & businesses to connect and strengthen our community.
Susan’s local leadership has inspired among other intiatives, the formation of The South Hill Neighbours’ Society created in 2009. Since 2009, Susan has also volunteered as part of the South Hill Public Art Committee where artists and art help the community to find a creative voice and become a more welcoming and inclusive neighbourhood for new immigrants through projects such as Welcome to South Hill, INSIDE STORIES ( the acclaimed online documentary she co-ordinated) and South Hill Connect.
Susan has helped raise funds and assisted in reaching out to new immigrant neighbours. This year Susan is meeting with other neighbours to begin a network of community connectors, who will encourage newcomers on their block to get involved. They are also planning a community dance in the new year.
Susan has been a key community leader in helping South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) implement their Welcoming and Inclusive Communities initiatives. Susan’s many community connections have helped SVNH build relationships needed for implementing community programs.
Susan’s leadership and community engagement is a model for others to follow as she helps to break down the barriers that divide us by organizing community projects that bring people together and start conversations. She has been the driving force behind intiatives such as a parent participation playgroup, multi-family car and bike pools and a variety of neighbourhood small grant projects.
Susan’s achievements are a testament to her ability to enlist a very diverse local population, including business people, to cooperate toward common goals. Her positive approach in engaging with others makes everyone feel welcome and valued and she leads by example in a way that motivates others. This is why she has made positive things happen for so many people in South Hill’s community and made our community as a whole a better place.
Susan is unquestionably a remarkable woman who has worked to connect, enrich and celebrate South Hill’s vibrant and diverse community.
Article about Inside Out.
Article on various South Hill projects.