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A second home and a new beginning

Oct 19, 2019 | Community Stories

Originally published in Collingwood Neighbourhood House’s 2018-2019 annual report.

Visit Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), “it’s good for you,” Maryam Shariatzadeh-Joneidi says.

A newcomer from Iran, Maryam made her first visit to CNH two years ago, thanks to a recommendation from her daughter-in-law. Maryam says she immediately filled out a volunteer form and now spends anywhere between four to five days a week here. It turns out CNH was a natural fit.

On Mondays, she is in the kitchen cooking; Wednesdays are spent on the rooftop, gardening. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, she is practicing her English, and sometimes spends Saturdays in drawing workshops. In the fall, she hopes to be volunteering with Collingwood’s child care services. “I always like gardening, I always like looking after the kids, and I like working [in] the kitchen,” she said. “I have three children and we’re [in] the kitchen all the time.” CNH has remained a major learning opportunity for Maryam, whether it’s a new recipe or a new plant. However, the people at CNH have remained an important part of the neighbourhood house for her, too. Everyone at Collingwood is nice, helpful, and makes her feel comfortable, she says.

For these reasons, Maryam regularly advises others to visit CNH, whether they’re another immigrant from Iran or a neighbour. After all, CNH has become a place for Maryam to create, learn, and grow. “Everything is good for me,” she said. “It’s a good place.”

To learn more about volunteering at CNH, visit cnh.bc.ca/get-involved/volunteer.

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