From participant to director: Sanjeev Karwal celebrates a 20-year milestone with Youth Services at CNH

Dec 5, 2023 | Staff Highlights

Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) proudly recognizes its long-serving staff members. At this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), CNH staff and contractors who have reached the milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years of service to the neighbourhood house were thanked by the Board of Directors.

This year, we recognize and celebrate Sanjeev Karwal for 20 years of service. Here’s what Jennifer Gray-Grant, Executive Director of CNH, had to say about Sanjeev:

When Sanjeev Karwal was a child, on weekends he would push his bike across Euclid Street to join his friends as they played on the warehouse ramps in the light industrial space. A few years later, the space had been cleared and he attended the ground-breaking ceremony for Collingwood Neighbourhood House’s (CNH) main site.

In 1995, when CNH opened its new site, Sanjeev, his brother and friends started playing basketball at CNH. For Sanjeev, the visits evolved throughout high school into opportunities to attend other programs and then volunteer, notably with the Youth Centre and the after-school Buddy Program. Twenty years ago he was hired as a youth worker at the Youth Centre and now serves a dual role in Youth Services as a manager and as a director.

“I really appreciate the journey I have had at CNH,” Sanjeev said. “I’ve been able to learn, develop and grow with the organization. I’ve also had the opportunity to lead and be part of so many meaningful and rewarding projects, where I’ve been able to be creative and use a variety of skills and assets.”

One of those skills included helping to convert an old restaurant, along with numerous CNH volunteers, into a Halloween haunted house complete with clowns, dancing ghosts, masked ghouls and a terrifying graveyard. That effort landed the group on the nightly news as two television stations came out to film the frightening scenes.

Another of his cherished memories is joining the Pulling Together Journey one year. On the journey, Indigenous youth paddle canoes, sleep in tipis and engage in traditional Indigenous cultural practices. Sanjeev said that at the end of the 10-day journey along the Fraser River, the canoes left the river and headed towards Spanish Banks. At the same time, canoes coming from the ocean also paddled towards Spanish Banks, as planned. He said it was amazing how the 25 canoes joined together to paddle in a circle, welcoming one another, before pulling up to the shore.

Sanjeev said it has been really satisfying to watch, over the years, as children and youth come to CNH to enjoy programs, maybe train to become volunteers and, in some cases, serve on the CNH Board of Directors or, like Sanjeev, start to work at CNH.

For Sanjeev personally, that cycle is happening again. CNH was established in 1985, the same year Sanjeev was born. Family members brought a toddler Sanjeev to CNH’s small storefront on Kingsway, for various programs. Now, Sanjeev is bringing his own son, Bodhi, to CNH for childcare. And so it begins for the next generation.

For information about careers at CNH, visit www.cnh.bc.ca/about/careers.

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