Community Development & Connections Coordinator
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
Blanca is a consummate community-builder who embodies a strength-based leadership approach with participants, volunteers and co-workers. Working from the inside out, she helps people to visualize their role in creating change and how they can use their inner strengths to fill existing gaps in services.
Her work has resulted in many successful activities, including:
- Mentor matches between newcomers with foreign credentials and established professionals in the community and/or social service sector to advance participant networks and increase job opportunities;
- Connecting families and established Canadians around a multicultural cooking club that has increased social inclusion for participants of all ages;
- Supporting foreign-trained women to co-create and co-lead a women’s support group in Spanish and Polish; and,
- Supporting a small group of immigrant men to create a men’s group.
Blanca has had an impact in cross-organizational teamwork by building up the organization’s multicultural endeavours, providing staff training on social inclusion and diversity, and leading house-wide civic engagement initiatives. One example was taking the lead to develop a food literacy video, Cooking Across Cultures, which spanned MPNH’s food security programs, and involved immigrant and indigenous participants. All of these activities have greatly supported community development and engagement, and fostered greater sensitivity around cross-cultural and indigenous worldviews.