About

The Mission

Our mission is to empower local communities working and organizing to improve their social conditions, particularly for those lacking basic standards of living. We aim to accomplish this mission by reporting on a multitude of academic, philosophical and spiritual perspectives, with a primary focus on evidence-based research.

The Story

With a population approaching 45,000 people, Vernon, British Columbia is world-renowned for its stunning lakes and scenic landscape. It’s a beautiful city with a strong middle-class and thriving business community.

Though, it’s also home to disproportionate levels of drug addiction, homelessness and social strain. In Vernon, these issues are hard to ignore since they’re quite visible, especially in and around the downtown core. The problems have become a hotbed of controversy and divided attitudes, all battling what to do.

It is among this struggle that two concerned citizens came together to try and help.

Shelby Bouchard met Shawn McMann in Spring 2019. Quickly becoming friends, they realized they shared some of the same personal interests and struggles. They both owned businesses, kept an active lifestyle and had experience fighting back against personal substance-use issues.

They also expressed mutual discouragement over dialogues about the local drug problem, deciding to dig deeper. And in many conversations with other community members, they realized something that caught their attention:

They found that most people do not see homelessness and problematic drug use as a mere moral failure. Instead, they agree this idea is outdated, they just don’t know what the solutions are or how to help. This realization, combined with a sense of duty to share their knowledge, formed the origins of the Among Us blog.

This platform was created to have a more nuanced conversation about harm reduction and social health. Yes, the problems – and their potential solutions – are complex. They go against the human need to simplify everything to understand it better. But, Shelby and Shawn contend there’s limitless opportunity to doing so. They believe a stronger more equitable community is one we can all be proud of.

The way forward is among us, so let’s open our hearts and find it together.

Biographies

Shelby Bouchard

As a born and raised Vernon resident, Shelby has only spent four years away from his home town. Growing up on a busy farm taught him the value of hard-work, cooperation and leadership. While only spending three semesters in University, an incessant craving for knowledge emerged.

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