A Passion for Community Development
Those values that I had back in my home country actually helped me here to get connected and help the community.
— John Yohan
The neighbourhoods surrounding Victoria Park have many vital newcomer services and community centres. These are important assets to the community. Oftentimes, it is newcomers themselves who work on the frontlines. John Yohan, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, saw firsthand some of the struggles his family went through as immigrants themselves- they were initially from East Africa. Through positive reinforcement from his parents, he was able to migrate on his own to Canada in order to overcome the limitations he faced at home. He attributes the values of becoming involved in community to his family. Since settling in Toronto, John has been able to find belonging through faith communities and meeting individuals of similar backgrounds in the neighbourhood. His work in community development at the local Arab Community Centre has allowed him to help others experiencing isolation.
John and restaurant in the Wexford area
“I’m working on a project that’s mostly kind of of beautifying the community. And that’s why we worked and partnered with schools, churches, mosques. Right now we’re working with the Toronto Community Housing, to help communities and get them involved. We work with kids and youth, to get to know what kind of environment they’re living in. We teach them by working with our partners, who do the technical stuff. And then we provide them with info sessions, letting them know how to figure out ways to improve their community.”
— John Yohan