Video by Jeff Topham
The DUDES Club
DUDES is an acronym that stands for Downtown Urban Knights Defending Equality and Solidarity
The "DUDES Club" started in August 2010 when 70 men in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver attended a community forum. They spoke of the many programs for women and children (with good need), but the lack of programming for men in the neighbourhood. In the end, the men expressed the need for a men's only wellness program, one not based in a specific disease or disorder. The club was inspired by the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, which brings health to where men feel comfortable.
Running since 2010, the program has helped countless men to get themselves whole again, some reconnecting with their families, some getting clean, some reconnecting with their cultures. What began as an initiative to promote health awareness among men of the Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has grown to reach men in many different communities. There are DUDES Clubs established across British Columbia; in Kamloops, Prince George, and Smithers, BC. Each group runs things a little differently (for details, see our toolkit)
The clubs all have elders present, and usually cover a health topic during their meetings. They also typically do something fun together (whether it is bingo or ice-fishing) and share a meal. The laid back environment in which men can "drop their armour" allows them to create new relationships with men, fostering a sense of brotherhood and solidarity. Please contact us to find out more, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Vancouver Native Health Society's website for more information on the Vancouver site.