Where on the North Island can you attend an art workshop, yoga class, or just drop by for a snack and a cup of coffee?
North Island Building Blocks is a community organization servicing the entire Mount Waddington region, whose programming encompasses everything from parenting support programs, to art studio nights, and lunchtime yoga.
“I think of it more like a health and wellness program that is open to absolutely everybody,” said Coordinator Stephanie Nelson, adding, “In terms of what we do it’s hard to describe because it’s such a broad range of things.”
A lot of the programming at NIBB is family focused and centred around food. “That is a common practice and tradition, myself being aboriginal, but within our community, it allows people to feel comfortable and at home,” said Nelson.
NIBB is open to the public from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, where Nelson and two outreach workers do one-on-one community wellness work. “We also have a lot of programming in those hours,” said Nelson.
As a part of their health and wellness mission, NIBB offers programs that can help keep North Islanders fit.
The Run/Walk program, which happens every Monday at 4 p.m., is where people can meet to do either a walk, jog, or run together for a half-hour and then be entered into a draw where they can win a door prize for participating.
“We are working on physical well-being, but also it’s a social atmosphere where you can connect with other community members and it helps with mental-well-being,” said Nelson, adding, “Getting healthy together as a community is great!”
NIBB also partners with other community resources in the region. One of those partnerships is with Sharon Whitehead, who runs a noon hour yoga class every Tuesday, which is open to anyone who wants to drop by on their lunch break.
Another popular program NIBB offers is Art Studio night every Wednesday, where people can drop by for a free step-by-step art class hosted by a local artist.
“I feel really passionate about the work that we do here because I strongly believe in the importance of the programs that we offer,” said Nelson, adding “Us as human beings, we naturally strive for that connectedness, and here at NIBB we provide those relationships and the support we all need to move forward in life, but also as community.”
NIBB also offers a safe place for youth in the community to connect, as they have both a youth culture group and a girls group.
“Youth have just finished cedar bark headpieces and are going to be moving onto cedar bark hats, and after that they will be working on genealogy as well as making their own regalia,” said Nelson, adding that the girls group includes food and an educational component, but is also just “a place for them to hang out and connect.”
This year the Ministry of Children and Family Development, who fund NIBB programming, have added additional funding to support the youth cultural group.
“We are really thankful,” said Nelson.
“It has helped a lot of our other programming as well through offering additional meals and we are even going to be purchasing new toys.”
Nelson said she is happy to see new faces and hopes NIBB programming continues to help strengthen families and communities in the region.
“I would encourage people to come in and have a coffee and meet us face to face and ask us any questions they might have,” said Nelson, adding, “We could sit down and let them know about our programming and how we could work with them.”
To find out more information about the programming available at NIBB, call the office at 250-230-1132 or email coordinator Stephanie Nelson at: