British Columbia·Photos

East Vancouver woman uses flower petals to share messages of hope with neighbours

East Vancouver resident Lozan Yamolky says she started making flower petal arrangements to honour one of her friends, a health-care worker, who she says lost her mother to COVID-19.

Lozan Yamolky, a former care-aid worker, made her first message out of petals to honour her friend's mother

East Vancouver artist and poet Lozan Yamolky places flower petal arrangements around her neighbourhood to encourage people struggling with mental health during COVID-19. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

East 51st Avenue between Knight Street and Fraser Street might be one of the most unassuming streets in Vancouver, but it's recently received a splash of colour thanks to a resident who wanted to share messages of hope during Mental Health Awareness month.

Lozan Yamolky, a former care-aid worker, says she started making her flower petal arrangements to honour one of her friends — a health-care worker — who, she says, lost her mother to COVID-19 in early April.

Yamolky says she gets the flower petals from her neighbour's garden when they fall off. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

"When she was sick, she could not see her mom, and when she died, she couldn't even say goodbye to her mom," said Yamolky. "They couldn't even have a funeral."

Her work didn't go unnoticed.

She says it inspired some of neighbours, who started putting up small flower petal arrangements of their own all along their street.

Yamolky said she also wants to encourage people struggling with mental illness at this time.

She recently started putting up posters next to the flowers about Mental Health Awareness month, with phone numbers to mental health services and the suicide prevention hotline.

Yamolky hung up as many as 10 or 12 of her signs all along her block on East 51st Avenue at the beginning of May. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

"You notice down the block all the way to the end of the block, I made those signs all the way," she said, adding she loosely attached them with strings so people could take them if they need them.

"A lot of people ... feel like they're alone," she said. "We need to show them that you're not ... you know, we're all in this together. We all are human. "

Yamolky finishes an arrangement in front of her house honouring her father, whose birthday she was forced to skip due to pandemic restrictions. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Yamolky's latest arrangement is a message to her father, whose birthday she had to skip due to COVID-19 restrictions.

She said he is struggling with his health and missing his birthday was hard on her whole family.

"Having the hotline to help people ... is a great tool," she said.

"I'm very happy that we're using this time, this crazy time, to actually spread a message of hope and support for those who need it."

Some of Yamolky's neighbours got on board and made their own arrangements just a few blocks away from her house. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

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