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Happy 30th Anniversary to NeighbourLink North York!



Last week I had the pleasure of attending the AGM and 30 year anniversary of NeighbourLink North York. Originally launched by a community member in partnership with World Vision, the charity became independent later on when World Vision decided to focus on their global work. As someone who played a role in the resuscitation of the charity during the pandemic, it was so encouraging to see the incredible work that is being done by only 6 people on staff along with 500 volunteers! It is truly a picture of the community coming together and building an ecosystem of care. Here is a list of the amazing work they do:


Community Care

  • 415 Food Hub 

  • Mobile Food Support

  • Children and Youth Programs for under-resourced communities

  • Fresh Vegetable Support over the summer (from Zawadi Farms, sponsored by Peoples Church)

  • Youth Mobilization Network - leadership development for youth in our community

  • Community Care - offering systems navigation and support for community members

  • Single Mom’s Mother’s Day Celebration (You can sign up to sponsor a single mom to enjoy Mother’s Day)


Community Connectivity

  • Taste of North York

  • We Love Willowdale Christmas Market & Walking Parade

  • Meet Your Neighbour Week

  • Willowdale Yard Sale Day

  • Let’s Move Willowdale (A great local move-a-thon that supports North York Seniors Centre and NeighbourLink North York!)


What moved me the most at the 30-year celebration was the sharing by Jordan Dover, the youth worker at NeighbourLink North York. He described how he had earned the trust of the youth who now attend weekly drop-ins run by the Salvation Army and Peoples Church. They want to be with him and are upset when he cannot make it. Jordan used to be a professional soccer player and has a masters degree. He has declined better paying jobs because he is so committed to the young people with whom he has built a relationship. 


Many years ago, I hosted a basketball drop-in for the youth at 415 Willowdale. We provided food, gym time and discussions about life. However, I always felt completely inadequate for the job. I could not connect with the young people in a relatable way. It means so much that the community now has Jordan, who is a great mentor. Hearing about the friendships he has built with the young people brought tears to my eyes. It has also brought encouragement to the moms in the community - knowing where their kids are hanging out on Friday nights!


Please consider joining Let’s Move Willowdale on May 4. It is a fun Move-a-thon along the hydro corridor from Hendon Park followed by a community BBQ with local performances. It will be a fun event that supports this important work in our neighbourhood.

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