Streetfront: Stories about Perseverance, Resilience, and Running in the Downtown Eastside



“Doesn’t look like much. A standard-issue Vancouver School Board, double portable with industrial-grade paint of no true color. It sits atop a small hill, covered in pine needles, which rolls down to Maclean Ave. Go up 5 steps, and turn right. You meet a matte orange door repainted dozens of times. An elongated rectangular window with bars crisscrossing, the glass smeared with some unknown substance, prevents one from seeing inside. A path winds alongside. People pass by us every day.

Do people wonder what goes on inside? Do they know it’s a school? Do they care? I do. This is where I’ve come to work for 23 years. This is where Barry and Gord open up the doors and wait for the kids to come tumbling through. This is where we laugh and cry with the students. Where we celebrate their successes and hold them when they break. Where we try to make the idea of a school something di!erent – make it a place where kids want to go. As I said, it doesn’t look like much, but maybe it’s kind of perfect. Maybe it’s exactly what we need it to be. Maybe it’s the architectural manifestation of the kids we work with – a bit neglected, discarded, a little unkempt. It’s a building people would overlook - see past - fail to see the value inside.”

Trevor Lanes Stokes, headteacher at Streetfront, Vancouver.

This book is a collection of stories about students that have attended Streetfront, an alternative high school program located on Vancouver’s East Side, Canada. Through running, they find the perseverance and dedication they need in their lives.

Through 16 in-depth interviews with indigenous youth and teachers from Streetfront, the book provides a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs of these young people. With a focus on community-driven solutions and the power of sport to create positive change, "Streetfront" is a must-read for anyone interested in sustainable development and social justice.

Ryan Bolt
Charlotte Hoogers
Candelas Gross Valle
Nina Valentini
Yuna van den Brom
Bettina van Hoven
Jacob Ainscough
Yara O’Sidhe
Trevor Stokes

Design: Anna Lebedieva
Pictures: Barry Skillin

(ISBN printed version: 978-94-034-2980-9).

Publication date printed version: July 2022


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Author Biography

Bettina van Hoven

Associate Professor Cultural Geography

Cover Streetfront



June 26, 2024



Resilience, At-risk youth, Alternative education, Canada, Vancouver, Running

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