Tobias Atkinson is grateful to call Vancouver home and very much enjoys going for slow walks in the North Shore woods with his lovely wife, Jo Lemay, and their two old-lady dogs.
Tobias really likes building and creating things, and especially enjoys working with wood and metal. He spent ten years working in the trades. Within that time, he gained experience in masonry, carpentry, cabinetmaking and landscaping. He pursued a few years of formal apprenticeship in Furniture Making and Joinery, and has also completed a Diploma of Fine Arts. Currently, he is a full-time student working towards a Bachelors of Education from UBC/BCIT in order to teach shop classes to youth.
His other passions include: youth justice, arts-based education, mental health, community education and advocating for youth in care. He is a dedicated volunteer facilitator in the Community Education department for the Crisis Centre of BC. In this role, Tobias regularly facilitates workshops with diverse high school aged groups on suicide awareness and prevention, as well as workshops on cultivating positive mental health through mindfulness-based stress reduction.
For the past year, he has been working on creating a non-profit organization called Hammer and Saw: Youth Building Community. This organization will foster wellbeing with marginalized youth, and will centre on trades/industrial arts-based projects to meet real community needs. Through woodwork, metalwork and graphic design, the participants will have the opportunity to create projects in response to identified community needs within East Vancouver. The goal is to launch the project in the summer of 2014.
Tobias is super committed to the co-operative model. He is a member of the Miller Goodwood Woodworking Co-operative shop, as well as a housing co-op, where he lives and acts as the Maintenance Co-Chair.
Tobias is an avid and committed lifelong learner, and places huge value on fairness and respect. This has brought him to the doorstep of Next Up and he is eager to learn from all.