It’s often said that when a door closes, a window opens, and for the community of North Woodside, that’s exactly what happened.
Faced with the closure and possible tear-down of the North Woodside School in 1994, residents rallied to save the building that was at the heart of the South Central Dartmouth community.
To do this, an innovative model was proposed: The building would become a municipal responsibility, but the centre’s programing and operations would be run by citizens.
Twenty years later, the North Woodside Community Centre (NWCC) remains a model of community-led engagement. Its operations are overseen by a volunteer board that employs a centre manager, clerks and a janitor on a part-time basis. However, the majority of the centre’s numerous programs and projects are taken care of by volunteers.
NWCC’s 20th birthday celebration, held on October 26th, was an excellent example of the volunteer spirit that makes the centre thrive. It was an all-ages get-together that included activities like a cake walk, pumpkin carving, square dancing and a mock jail.
The event was organized by Marly Morris, a newly-graduated teacher whose volunteer roots run deep.
Morris’s mother, Debby Meier, manages NWCC, and she said she could hardly recall a time when her daughter wasn’t involved there. “Marly has been volunteering here since she was three years old. She was the one that said that we couldn’t let 20 years pass without a special celebration, and she put together this whole thing.”
Morris was quick to praise the dozens of volunteers who helped with the event and who help out every day, saying that so many people are willing to pitch in because NWCC is such a special place.
More information on NWCC and its programs is available here.