I have always cultivated a thick personal pantheon ofheroes. Some are fictional, or longdead, others are local, and some are national or international figures. But, one very important hero in my life is awoman named Lise Ecclestone. This woman is amazing! Let me tell you why –
Lise Ecclestone lives in Penticton, where she works forInterior Health as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in PsychiatricRehabilitation. She is a board member ofthe Community Resource Society and South Okanagan Victim AssistanceSociety. Before moving to Penticton,Lise was a founding member and initiator of the Peace Energy Coop in DawsonCreek and developed the community Gardens project at Northern Lights College.Her current Cooperative supports affordable housing initiatives for FirstNations as well as operates a variety of businesses managed, operated, andowned by people recovering from mental illness. The majority of thesebusinesses have an environmental and recycling focus such as; electronic wasterecycling, mattress recycling, Green Zone stewardship, and composting. She has been on the Provincial Green PartyCommittee and was the election secretary in several past elections. At home, Lise has a beautiful lush organicgarden in which she spends about five hours a week. This year she has 18 successful germinationsof Peruvian corn, which she brought back with her from a trip in 2000. She’s midway through completing her Mastersin Psychiatric Rehabilitation with the University of New Jersey. As you cansee, Lise has her hands in a lot of issues. Sometimes watching her makes me feel lazy!
What impresses me about Lise is her unfaltering commitmentto grassroots empowerment. Liserecognizes cooperative development as a vehicle towards community economicdevelopment – she initiates and builds a framework for communities, communitygroups, and the disadvantaged. Her workfacilitates peoples’ access to and exercising of power.
While participating with the Energy Coop in Dawson Creek,Lise shared her vision recognizing the need for sustainable energy in BC andfurther, that a sustainable solution should start and be maintained by thecommunity. After helping to develop thestructure of the Peace Energy Coop, she moved on to other projects such asestablishing the community garden and workers coop. She’s humble too! I’ve always been struck byher ability to be noninvasive when designing programs for coops. She just truly has a passion for organizingand empowering people to make positive change in their lives no matter whatdirection it takes them.
Lise Ecclestone is a perfect example of a BC Hero. She is a committed champion for socialpolitical change and cooperation. She’sinnovative, works hard to achieve her goals, and supports causes like greenenergy, the environment, and human rights for all peoples. Her strategy has always been the pebble inthe pond analogy and she seems to never lose sight of that. Lise is role model for people whose lives shehas touched through her work and initiatives, especially for me, because she’smy mother (cue collective ahhhh).
I am sure that all of you know someone like my mum; someonewho you can turn to in moments of crisis or confusion to find the inspirationyou need to keep fighting the good fight, whatever it may be.
Dogwood wants to know about your BC heroes. We want to know about people whose leadershipinspires you to action in defense of what makes BC (and Canada) great. Fromyour neighbourhood to your province, we want you to tell us about your localhero.
They are out there everywhere, working behind the scenes,and like my mother, deserve a little shout out. Let’s start building our own pipeline… of BC activists, leaders, advocates,and voices supporting grassroots and community empowerment for our future.
Don’t be shy friends. Right now, sit down for a minute or two and write to me about your ownBC heroes. Become one of my heroes -send me your insight at firstname.lastname@example.org