Uniacke Square, located in Halifax’s North End, is a tight-knit community made up largely of women and young people. The neighbourhood is known as a low-income area, with unemployment hovering at 60%. The need for community outreach was seen by the Salvation Army and the Open Arms Centre was established to assist the women and children of the Uniacke community.
The Open Arms Centre currently facilitates women’s programs ranging from Bible studies to sewing classes, budgeting and other life skills programs. It also caters to children through summer and March break camps, and a drop-in after school program.
Deep Water Summer Student Shawna McKay has been working with the organization through the afterschool program. She describes it as a place that “allows kids to be kids even for a small portion of their day.” Kids in the program play games, act creatively, receive healthy snacks and have access to homework help.
Shawna also lends her support by helping out the Open Arms staff at the Gottingen Street Food bank. Also run by the Salvation Army, this food bank provides much-needed supplies to residents, including those in Uniacke Square.
The Open Arms Centre is currently seeking dedicated helpers. “The biggest rule,” Shawna says, “is that it’s about participation; it’s a hands-on organisation.” If you enjoy working with women or kids and are sensing a call to help, contact Shawna at Shawna@deepwaterchurch.com.