photos: Photo by Kayla Isomura

Megaphone's big changes

Director's Corner: Our new executive director Jessica Hannon believes in Megaphone's positive social change

Get on your megaphone

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Five years ago, I made a call that would change everything for me. After months of buying Megaphone from my vendor Richard and then making a modest donation to the organization, I remember feeling surprised when I received a handwritten thank you card from former executive director Sean Condon. Surely, I thought, he had many other things to do.

So, I made a call to find out how I could help. I became a Megaphone volunteer the following week. It turns out I was right, there was plenty more to do. And I’m still here.

Last week was my first day as Megaphone’s executive director, and I’m honoured to step into Sean’s very big shoes (he is quite tall).

Sean has built an incredible community around Megaphone. We’ve worked side-by-side since 2011. In that time I’ve been lucky to learn from him and see this community grow. Megaphone has gone from a photocopied and stapled stack of pages to a high-quality monthly magazine, providing meaningful work to people who are low-income or homeless.

It has also grown—expanding to Victoria, taking on the Hope in Shadows calendar project, and becoming a fierce and compassionate voice advocating for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. While we miss him terribly, he’s leaving Megaphone in excellent condition.

We have an amazing crew of vendors and staff, wonderful and committed customers, incredibly generous donors, and a host of talented volunteers, writers, and board members. This is what I mean when I talk about the Megaphone community.

And you’re a part of it.

As I look to the future I can’t help but feel hopeful. Every day I hear stories of meaningful connections through Megaphone—from the Kerrisdale customers who filled the room at vendor Patrick Yacyshen’s memorial in August, to the customer whose vendor brought them a going away card when they were moving out of the neighbourhood. These connections across class boundaries have the power to create positive change.

Our new app!
And in a changing world, Megaphone is keeping up with the times to make sure those connections stay strong. Vendors tell us that they’re seeing more potential customers pass on buying the magazine because they don’t have cash. And customers tell us the same. We know it’s important for Megaphone vendors’ livelihoods that we find a solution to this problem.

I’m proud to announce that with the help of Vancouver-based tech firm Denim & Steel, we built a brand new app to make buying Megaphone easy, fast, and cash-free.

This technologically advanced method to make a purchase is the result of months of trial and error to deliver a high quality and privacy-protected app. The future is now! Download the Megaphone app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store to find vendors near you and pay for Megaphone directly with your smartphone. Creating change in our community has never been easier.

I am as moved today as I was the day I started, by the potential for powerful social change in Megaphone. By being part of the Megaphone community, it means you believe in offering a hand up. It means you believe everyone matters, everyone has something to contribute. It means you believe in giving people who may have had  every door shut in their face a fighting chance. You believe we all deserve a safe place to call home. And ultimately, you believe that together, we can make change.

I believe that, too.


Get on your megaphone

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