President's & Executive
Director's Report

President of the Board, Paula Lindner and Executive Director, Jennifer Gray-Grant

Laughter and screams from youth as they learn to cook healthy meals in our kitchen. Enthusiastic singing by seniors enjoying a karaoke session in our multipurpose room. The steady beat of drums and voices as we raised the pole that master carver Gerry Sheena and his apprentices created outside our neighbourhood house. And the beat-driven music dozens of Zumba participants enjoy as they dance and sweat their way through a workout.

These are just a few of the sounds and images from the past year at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) where people of every age, stage, language and culture came together to live, laugh, learn and contribute. The activity level at CNH is exploding.

It helped that we have a new facility, our Annex, and of course our main site on Joyce Street (along with three stand-alone child-care centres and programs in five schools for school-age care) to house those activities. Our Annex has allowed us to expand programming, including a new pre-school, art classes and drop-ins, dance programming and recreation programs. We’ve also been able to start offering a hot lunch program for our child-care programs, thanks to the new kitchen at the Annex.

The Annex has become a focus of arts and cultural activities and the new Renfrew-Collingwood Arts Council has been hard at work organizing artistic classes, presentations, events and displays. Another image from the year: the sound of salsa music blasting in the plaza outside the Annex while couples were led in a salsa dance lesson. Residents coming home from a day of work stopped to marvel at the sight – some joined in!

There have been a lot of people joining events and activities at CNH this past year. We track both the number of participants and the number of times they visit CNH for a program or service; we also track the number of volunteers. This past year 39,740 individuals visited CNH a total of 306,773 times! And our volunteer numbers were the highest ever with over 40,000 of volunteer hours (including those of our Board Directors) of work donated – the equivalent of 21 staff members working full time!

CNH also continues to build its reputation as a place to pilot or prototype new approaches – we have 49 spaces helping to pilot the new $10-a-day childcare program and CNH is poised to open a new community-based, community health centre that is the prototype model for the province.

Of course all of our programs, activities, services and community work are overseen, organized, and led by our amazing staff team. Some staff you see leading programs, teaching classes, greeting you or caring for your children. But there are also those who contribute equally but in less obvious ways – doing the accounting, administrative, cleaning and directing work that is less public but equally critical to our successful functioning. All are part of an amazing staff team who are completely dedicated to making CNH a warm and welcoming place. We’re deeply grateful to staff and volunteers for making CNH truly a place where people can belong and grow.

Paula Lindner, President of the Board
Jennifer Gray-Grant, Executive Director

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