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!

Uprooting oneself from one’s comfort zone is not an easy feat for anyone, but Benilda found it particularly difficult. When her family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2008, it was her visits to Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House (FHNH) that made her feel connected and at home.

“All the staff members are so warm and welcoming,” says Benilda. “I felt included, seen and heard. Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House gave me the chance to show who I am when they trusted me to facilitate a multicultural group for parents, caregivers and their children. This experience validated my worth as an individual and as a part of my community.”

Benilda found that visiting FHNH’s family programs as a volunteer and a participant helped her to better assimilate and learn the ins and outs of the system of her new country. She credits the neighbourhood house’s training and workshops for empowering her.

Through FHNH, she had an opportunity to represent the community through various activities that also helped to hone her skills and explore different places, connect with people and gain confidence due to the staff’s belief in her ability and capacity. Programs such as Families Branching Out, Nobody’s Perfect, Financial Literacy Program, Neighbourhood Small Grants Program and others – which she discovered through the neighbourhood house – have also helped Benilda find success in her new homeland.

“FHNH helped me not to feel homesick for my native land, but assisted me to learn to trust myself and fly on my own,” Benilda adds. “FHNH truly serves as the wind beneath my wings. Thank you FHNH for everything.”