Growing up in a single-parent home in a Manitoba Housing complex, Nasrollah says he knew about the hardships that came with poverty.
“Early on I got to know that the standard of living here is really low. I just knew that.”
He saw some kids in his community turning to drugs, and to property crime. He says he was also tempted by those things, but he found a way to stay away from them.
“The way I would not do it is by being busy. By going to the centre,” Nasrollah said.
The centre Nasrollah found is a United Way Winnipeg donor-supported family resource centre in St. Vital that supports young people with programming to boost confidence and belonging. They also offer family and individual counselling, community outreach, job search help, food and clothing depot programs to build strength in the community.
When he was in Grade four Nasrollah remembers a friend inviting him to the centre to make food in the cooking program – one of many programs at Marlene Street that give kids practical learning and nurture healthier living.
“I love cooking. I still love cooking, but I’m not very good at it.”
The centre also helped Nasrollah with his mental wellness.
While there, engaged and engrossed with his friends, he thought less about his negative body image. Since he was very young he felt he was too skinny. The feeling was always in his mind, and he was embarrassed and self-conscious about it. The centre took that feeling away.
“When I was at the centre I never really thought about negative things. I was too busy doing something that I enjoyed, and being with other people.”
Today Nasrollah is attending school to be an electrician, and he’s glad to know the family resource centre is still going strong and giving kids in his community an important place to be.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important a place like this is. I can’t really put it into words.”
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