I was 11 years old when I arrived in Thunder Bay with my family. It was a tough move to make because things in my family were not good and I didn’t know anyone. I have had a lot of trauma in my family and many struggles.
Luckily for me I found a place in my neighbourhood that I could go to and get away from my problems. The Evergreen House has been like a second home for me. Over time I began to trust the staff there and was able to open up about my struggles. They have supported me over the years and have helped me learn new skills, connect me to other things in the community and given me the opportunity to just have fun. My first job was as a summer student at Evergreen two years ago, and I continue to volunteer there and mentor new staff.
I have been going there for 6 years and now help out with photography, music events set up, social media and also help keep an eye on things. They have given me a safe place to come to and the staff are always willing to listen to me and get me back on my feet when things get bad. It helps me stay positive and they are encouraging me to finish high school. I can’t say I am perfect, but I am definitely in a better place now than when I came to Thunder Bay. Because of Evergreen, I am the first in my family to both graduate grade 12 and have a fulltime job. I currently work for the City of Thunder Bay Youth Move and am proud of how far I have come.
In 2004 the United Way of Thunder Bay embarked on a neighbourhood capacity building project: Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC). The United Way worked in collaboration with the Simpson/Ogden neighbourhood from 2005 to 2009 to establish Evergreen: A United Neighbourhood. Today Evergreen is operating as a charitable organization that offers a range of programs and services in the neighbourhood. Thanks to your generous donations the United Way continues to provide support to Evergreen and their neighbourhood building programs.