It takes a community

Editor:

Re: Make our jewel shine once again, Dec. 20 letters.

Editor:

Re: Make our jewel shine once again, Dec. 20 letters.

I found Camp Alex after retiring from working in special education.

Much to my surprise and delight, several of my ex-students greeted me when I started working there during the summer camps.

“I am having the best time ever!” they would shout, as they recognized me and practically knocked me over with a hug.

Working on Wednesdays for the hot-lunch program has been very rewarding as well, as I have gotten to know some of the seniors. A gentle smile and sometimes a hand squeeze will be just a memory if this wonderful program is cancelled due to lack of funding.

It was devastating for not only the seniors, but staff and volunteers as well, when the Thursday hot-lunch program at First United Church was cancelled. For many, it was the only meal for the day. Hard to believe in affluent South Surrey, White Rock!

In these times of monetary restraints, please remember Camp Alexandra – a place to go for support, a good meal, a good time, a place to learn or just a place to relax over coffee with newfound friends after a stroll on the beach.

As letter-writer Dee Walmsley says, it truly is a jewel that has been shining for more than 100 years.

Let it shine again.

Sandy Marantz, White Rock

• • •

Neighbourhood houses are volunteer-driven organizations, a point made so well in Dee Walmsley’s compelling letter.

Without the heart and commitment of our volunteers, we would not be able to do the work we do. What distinguishes neighbourhood houses from other social-service organizations is that we move beyond service provision, striving to engage individuals in the strengthening of community.

Dee’s letter underscores the challenges all not-for-profits face during this economic downturn. As funding streams dry up and grassroots organizations respond by merging with larger organizations, Alexandra Neighbourhood House continues to work with community to meet changing needs. Through our children’s centre and childcare programs, our services for at-risk youth and families, our programs for older adults, our Building Welcoming and Inclusive Neighbourhoods activities and our participation at local planning tables, Alexandra Neighbourhood House remains committed to building a healthy, vibrant community.

Do we need help? Absolutely. Just as we have for many years. Our historic buildings need care, our childcare programs need champions, our community programs need sponsors and our older adult programs need sustainable funding.

But more importantly, we continue to rely on committed volunteers and donors to help us rebuild our beloved ‘Camp A,’ as we continue to respond to changing needs, and strengthen our shared community – as we have since 1916.

Penny Bradley, executive director, Alexandra Neighbourhood House

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