Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) is officially a Place that Matters in our city, but it’s also a place that has made a huge difference in three generations of the Correal family’s life.
On Feb. 16, 2021, Carmen Correal and her daughter Adriana gave a fantastic presentation to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation. And while they outlined the history of CNH, they also got personal about the organization’s impact on their family.
The Foundation was celebrating its Places that Matter initiative where it has designated a number of buildings and places in Vancouver as Places that Matter. CNH was designated under this program almost 10 years ago; you may have noticed the oval, purple plaque near the front of CNH Joyce, over the brochure holder that notes the honour.
For the Foundation’s event, they requested a speaker to talk about CNH. Recreation Coordinator Carmen Correal kindly volunteered and asked her daughter Adriana to join her. They did a wonderful presentation!
Carmen and Adriana gave a quick history of CNH, from its humble beginnings in a storefront on Kingsway in 1985 and its move to the CNH Joyce location in 1995, to its growth over the years with the addition of three off-site child care centres, school-aged care in local schools, the opening of the Annex and, most recently, the opening of RISE Community Health Centre.
They then told the story of their own family’s engagement with CNH and how it has played such a strong role in their settlement in Canada and in the life of their family. After arriving in Canada from Colombia on July 1, 1998, Carmen took English classes at CNH. She placed her then four-year-old son Juan Carlos in the program’s child-minding and also brought him to CNH’s Parents and Tots program, while she was volunteering with the program. She then started working at CNH as a contractor, then staff, eventually moving into the coordinator’s position.
Juan Carlos has volunteered at CNH, both of Carmen’s daughters, Adriana and Laura, have worked at CNH and Adriana (who created the beautiful artwork in our lobby) decided to go into a career in the arts following her work in the arts at CNH. Carmen’s husband attends Zumba twice weekly. Carmen and Adriana ended their presentation showing pictures of Carmen’s granddaughter in a program at CNH, noting that CNH continues to play a huge role in their family’s life.
An organization is not just about a collection of buildings. Carmen and Adriana made clear that the organization is all of the people who made their family’s journey possible and successful. Their particular story is one that represents so many people who come to CNH and find what they need and want, thanks to the amazing staff team. Thanks to Carmen and Adriana for a wonderful presentation and thanks to the full staff team for touching so many people’s lives and giving them a sense of belonging.
To view Carmen and Adriana’s presentation, play the video below.
Top photo: Carmen Correal and her daughter Adriana.