From Lu (he/they pronouns) on Alexandra Neighbourhood House. Written in their own words, this is just one neighbourhood house story of many, and it is one of belonging, inclusive spaces and a gathering place for youth. We hope you enjoy it!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, back in 2016, youth workers from Alex House visited my high school and told my class about the South Surrey/White Rock Youth Space. Me and my friends went to check it out for the free pizza and Wi-Fi, but I ended up finding a chill space to hang out where I’m not worried about getting bullied. South Surrey/ White Rock Youth Space had a great impact on my life – it really helped me get out of my shell, and not get so stressed out about everything. I met one of my now long-time best friends here, and since we went to different schools we always came to the Youth Space to meet up. The people here are the first friends I met that I could be myself around.

For the longest time I was at the Youth Space, I always felt like myself and really welcomed by all the other youth coming here. I wanted to take a leadership role and show new folks in the Youth Space what that inclusive and welcoming environment looks like! When I joined Rainbow Connection, it gave me the space to discover myself and my identity. The group and the people there really helped me open up, and come out – and not be so terrified of who I am to others. I made a lifelong connection there and a new dear friend, which led to me finding a new stable place to live too. It’s nice to talk to and meet more queer people my age too. This is the only place I’ve been able to do that, as there aren’t any other spaces for LGBTQ2S+ youth in South Surrey.

People are so nice here, you don’t have to hide who you are. It’s a very inclusive place, so for people who don't really fit in at school, or who have struggled to find a place to belong – there wouldn’t be a space for them if the Youth Space didn’t exist. It’s had a great impact on the community! I truly believe that the Youth Space has brought me to be a better person.

Thank you for sharing your story Lu! 🌈❤️