Neighbourhood houses are known as places to connect, volunteer, and become involved in the community. Many people do not realize the important work that neighbourhood houses do to help people feel a sense of belonging.
This is known as social inclusion, and is particularly important when community members are experiencing a challenge or barrier in their lives. When people feel socially isolated, they often experience negative impacts to their health and wellbeing.
At Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, and all neighbourhood houses, our open doors and inclusive programs can make a tremendous difference and help people feel valued and motivated. We are pleased to share some stories from people who have benefitted from ANHBC neighbourhood houses through our collective work on social inclusion. Enjoy!
Many immigrants and refugees whose first language is not English end up feeling isolated and very alone. Even though she is sometimes driven to isolation because of the language barrier, Masi reaches beyond this by using her sewing skills through a Kitsilano Neighbourhood House volunteer program to facilitate weekly sewing, knitting, and crochet classes in her home. This gives Masi a chance to practice her English and make new connections.
Through these classes, Masi creates a welcoming space by providing tea and snacks. As a result, her home has become a friendly and inclusive hub of warm conversation. Indeed, some participants are known to come only for the conversation and company – and many are now asking that these classes be held twice a week.
An avid cook, Masi also often shares her food with staff and residents. She participates in potluck lunches at Kits House, where she shares the Persian food that she has prepared alongside other participants. She and her husband also share their love of music with the local community by performing the violin and drums at various Kits House events. Despite the language barrier, Masi has been on several trips organized by Kits House over the past year, including visits to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Grouse Mountain, the H.R. MacMillan Space Center and UBC Botanical Garden.