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!
J.L. is a participant in Gordon Neighbourhood House’s Seniors in Action program, which promotes physical activity, social inclusion and independence for seniors who live in Vancouver’s West End. Shortly after the death of her husband about a year ago, J.L.’s neighbour started to bring her to the community lunches at Gordon House to meet new people and socialize with other seniors.
Over time, J.L. joined the seniors’ lounge discussion group, then the walking group, and recently the in-house Seniors’ Advisory Committee where she now advocates for seniors’ needs. She has also taken on volunteering in her community, and assisted on a Small Grants project with her fellow neighbours.
Throughout J.L.’s involvement at Gordon House, she has expressed how important it was for her to feel she could join the activities at her own pace and that the programs provided a safe space for everyone. After her husband passed away, J.L. became very aware of the potential to become isolated and fall into deep depression–but credits the Gordon House for giving her a sense of community and much-needed support during an incredibly dark time.