From the central office of ANHBC is a story of long relationships, family connections and community impact. We hope you enjoy Blanca’s neighbourhood house story, written in her own words:
My early memories of getting connected to neighbourhood houses was attending the Kiwassa Canning Community Kitchen, many years ago. I was a mother of preschoolers and my friend introduced me to the weekly class. The big thing for us, besides learning how to make delicious homemade jams, was knowing that we could bring our kids and have them play in a safe environment. Since we could not afford childcare, participating in the canning classes was a shared treat for us and our kids. Years later, I learned about the Cedar Cottage NH afterschool care program and Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House summer camps.
As the years pass and my kids grew, I began to look for places to work that allowed for the flexibility and income that would sustain my many roles. I found work at Mount Pleasant first as a community developer and later as the community connector. Working for neighbourhood houses since 2007 was the best thing that happened to me and my family; it became a second place to call home and my colleagues are an extension of my family.
Now I have moved from working within one neighbourhood house, to growing and expanding my reach as the Neighbourhood Small Grants Network Regional Organizer, at the central office of ANHBC. Both working at the local level and now regionally, have both supported much of my growth, interest and learning in how rich and important it is to work with and for communities.
Neighbourhood houses act as a gentle, and sometimes not, catalyzing movement for change and betterment of our society, at the community and regional level. All in initiating and sustaining community social actions and justice. There are many people in our communities that do not know what a neighbourhood house is, yet the work is no less important. This means that we’ll need to continue to commit to more fully organize and connect ourselves as a stronger movement.
Thank you for sharing your neighbourhood house story, Blanca. Your connection to this movement inspiring!