To celebrate Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, we’re sharing stories from our program participants, staff, and volunteers about what makes our House so special.

Here, Lakshmi Ranasinghe, who came to Canada from Sri Lanka, explains how joining a pre-employment program at our House changed her life.

In Sri Lanka, I was a science teacher. After coming to Canada 20 years ago, I wanted to improve my English conversation and be social with others as a newcomer.

One day, I attended a talk at Charles Dickens Elementary School by Ivy Morgan, the Settlement Worker for Immigrant Women at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.

Ivy talked about the Pre-Employment Program for Immigrant Women. I decided to join the program at once.

We had three months of classes, learning about Canadian culture, taking part in the Nobody’s Perfect program, making a resume, and job searching skills.

The photo at the top of this story was taken before we went to an opera show in downtown Vancouver after finishing the program.

We had to dress nicely and I chose to dress in a Sri Lankan traditional costume, with six yards of fabric, called an Osariya. These friends in the photo came from Romania, India, Croatia, Peru, and the Philippines.

After the program, I decided to volunteer for the Drop-in Program at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.

I ended up working as a supervisor in the daycare and qualifying as an Early Childhood Educator.

Do you have a story about what your Neighbourhood House means to you? Share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #myNHstory!