Every One Every Day – Kjipuktuk
We acknowledge that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. Acknowledging the Mi’kmaq ancestral territory is our way of showing respect for and honoring our shared Treaty relationship. To uphold our duties and responsibilities as treaty people, we at United Way Halifax are committed to building relationships with Indigenous organizations and peoples in Kjipuktuk. Applying the principles of reconciliation to our work, we offer our networks, our voices and our resources.
Wije’winen – Come With Us
Halifax’s North End is culturally diverse, historically unique and rapidly changing. It’s a community with many new residents as well as families who have lived there for generations. Every One Every Day was created to bring folks together through a lens of reconciliation and make everyone feel like they belong.
“If people are participating and connecting, that’s how you transform lives – but that’s also how you transform communities,” said Cynthia MacLean, Neighbourhood Coordinator with United Way Halifax and Every One Every Day.
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, with its deep and established roots in the North End, developed and delivered this collaborative series of activities focused on building neighbourhoods for everyone, with everyone. Tea and bannock with Elders, bead making classes, family scavenger hunts, yoga classes and more were offered throughout March 2021, attracting neighbours with different skills and interests and folks looking to learn something new.
Every One Every Day was made possible by United Way Halifax in partnership with Engage Nova Scotia, Participatory Canada, the Halifax Partnership, Inspiring Communities, the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia and Develop Nova Scotia.
“Giving people the opportunity to take part in programs at the Friendship Centre really made this special,” reflected Cynthia whose personal connection to the Friendship Centre goes much deeper than her job. “When I first moved to Halifax from rural Nova Scotia, I enrolled my child in their day-care program. We were welcomed with open arms and were exposed to beautiful Mi’kmaw culture and traditions.”
An open door
In late 2019, when Cynthia heard of the opportunity to work with the Friendship Centre, she was not going to miss out. “It really was a full-circle moment,” Cynthia said. “My family had received so much from them and it was amazing to have the chance to give back and fully immerse myself with the Friendship Centre’s work.”
She wasn’t the only one excited about the Friendship Centre’s role in Every One Every Day. “A father shared that he and his son have been wanting to learn about the centre for years,” Cynthia recalled. “Every One Every Day was the invitation they needed. The centre’s door was always open to everyone in community, but some people just didn’t know! Now they had an opportunity to connect and engage with their neighbourhood.”
What stood out most for Cynthia, was how the program provided meaningful action for reconciliation. “Every One Every Day was the first program of its kind to operate through a lens of reconciliation,” Cynthia said. “This created a whole different dynamic than just community building. It had another, more meaningful layer to it.”
As daily activities took place, Cynthia could see the impact Every One Every Day was having. “At a tea and bannock session, newcomers to both Nova Scotia and Canada were chatting,” Cynthia said. “By the end of the session, I overheard them making plans to connect afterwards – they had only just met!”
Every One Every Day provided folks from different backgrounds with the opportunity to meet, connect and learn from each other. “This is how we deeply partner with new people in a new way,” Cynthia said. “The program allowed people to walk side-by-side rather than across the street.”
Moving forward together
The success of Every One Every Day has demonstrated that this model works in North End Halifax and has potential to be impactful elsewhere.
“Reconciliation is top of mind for our society,” Cynthia said. “But how do we find ways to work through reconciliation in all communities in HRM and across the country? Building communities through a reconciliation lens is one of the best ways we can move through this.”
Looking ahead, Cynthia hopes to see the program solidify itself as a fixture in the North End. “I would love to see a store-front location,” Cynthia said. “I would love to see a consistent place where folks from the community can come in, take part in a variety of activities and build on what we’ve started.”
If you are interested in taking part in an Every One Every Day program, be sure to follow their Facebook page for details.