Hope Stories

Finding Confidence through Cooking and Community Involvement

Ashley’s Journey with New Hope Youth Centre.
Published May 17, 2024, < 1 min read.

Ashley (right) cooking at the Urban Abbey.

Ashley, who comes from a large family and resides with her grandmother who has mobility challenges, often finds herself occupied with household chores, leaving little time for leisure or socializing. However, the supportive environment of the New Hope Youth Centre has provided her with a sense of community and belonging. Many of the youth at the Centre have befriended Ashley, encouraging her to participate in events where she contributes in a tangible way, especially through cooking. With their support, Ashlee has gradually become more involved, occasionally visiting volunteers’ homes, attending church services, and even assisting with cooking at the Urban Abbey, which is a women’s shelter, café, and food program for the homeless in Thunder Bay.  The New Hope Youth Centre has taken on cooking for one of their food programs once every six weeks.   Ashley’s participation in events like Art Café has boosted her confidence, as she overcomes her fear of interacting with strangers and proudly showcases the crafts she has helped create, sometimes even upselling them to support the Centre. Through her involvement, Ashlee has not only gained confidence but has also expanded her social circle, nurturing meaningful friendships along the way.