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!
Barb was homeless for eight months and suffering from multiple barriers and mental health issues–including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Originally from Brunswick House First Nation outside of Chapleau, Ontario, Barb’s poor health kept her indoors after she moved to the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. From then on, she isolated herself from the outside world.
Barb’s health and medical concerns are challenges she faces on a daily basis. Along with arthritis, she has also developed asthma. After much encouragement and many invitations, she finally decided to give the Kwayastsut Community Engagement Program a try; her depression and sadness had finally become too much to bear.
Barb says she made the right decision with the program, and it makes her feel good to be part of something small but valuable in her life. She now realizes that she can go out and do things without fear – which stemmed from financial worries, anxiety around socializing, and feeling she could no longer do the things she could do before her disability. The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House has worked to turn her insecurity around for Barb – helping to build her self-esteem and gain the encouragement she needed to do something different for herself.