May 7, 2021

Dilly Knoll: How Families Build a Community

Dilly Knoll: How Families Build a Community

Dilly Knoll is from a family of 16. So it is not surprising that the Executive Director of the Andrews Street Family Centre understands the meaning of family. But in this episode of Humans, on Rights, Dilly Knoll shares the difference between blood families and community families. She is fondly but respectfully referred to as the “Mom” of the Andrews Street Family Centre. Dilly led a group of community volunteers to take back a drug den, renovate it, and turn it into a family centre supported by the community it now serves. She believes that if you want to be part of a family you need to be able to find work to support them, even if at one time they had a criminal record. To acknowledge International Day of  Families on May 15th, listen as Dilly shares her story about how she and her team are, one family at a time, building a community that cares for each other.
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Dilly Knoll is from a family of 16. So it is not surprising that the Executive Director of the Andrews Street Family Centre understands the meaning of family. But in this episode of Humans, on Rights, Dilly Knoll shares the difference between blood families and community families. She is fondly but respectfully referred to as the “Mom” of the Andrews Street Family Centre. Dilly led a group of community volunteers to take back a drug den, renovate it, and turn it into a family centre supported by the community it now serves. She believes that if you want to be part of a family you need to be able to find work to support them, even if at one time they had a criminal record. To acknowledge International Day of  Families on May 15th, listen as Dilly shares her story about how she and her team are, one family at a time, building a community that cares for each other. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Transcript

This podcast was recorded on the ancestral lands on Treaty One territory, the traditional territory of the Anishnawbe, Cree, Oji Cree, Dakota, and the Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis nation.

This is Humans, On Rights. A podcast advocating for the education of human rights.

Here's your host Stuart Murray.

May 15 is international day of families.

On today's podcast, we're going to talk about families and how community can play a significant role in supporting families.

Families.

They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds, but one thing in common in every family, they need a mom.

My guest today, Dilly Noel is known formally as the executive director of the Andrews Street Family Center, but she is also known informally and perhaps more importantly as the mum of the Andrew Street Family center.

Dilly Noel, welcome to humans on rights.

Thank you very much.

Good morning.

So Dilly, let's just get this right out of the harper.

How does the name Dilly come about?

Okay, my name is Delia, but at school when I went to school where I went to uh all classes, like all grades in the same building, in the same room actually they were telling me that my name was wrong and that I was spelling it wrong.

And so they were calling me Delia and Bella and all sorts of things.

So then really was something that just, I just feel comfortable with because during school years, it just frustrated frustrated me so much not to have my, I know what my name was, I kept thinking, you know, kind of thing.

so that just kind of caused me and then I got started to be called Dilly and I feel more like a dilly.

Well you know what having met you, Dilly is a great name for you and uh and I agree with you it's, it suits you to a T.

Now one of the things Dilly, when you talk about family and we're going to get into this, you come from a fairly large family, tell us about your family.

Yeah.

I come from a family of 16.

There are eight boys and eight girls and we have one set of triplets and two sets of twins in my family.

We are Amati family.

But as I grew up basically my younger years until my probably met maybe even 30.

I didn't know I was matey, I was french Canadian as far as I was told and stuff like that.

So I didn't learn about my heritage about being made tea until later in life.

So, but I'm probably making absolutely.

And you were, your family was born in somewhere in rural Manitoba.

Yeah, they were all born in Manitoba In 20 miles south of Richard Manitoba.

It was actually manatee community but we didn't know that we were all called French Canadians.

Right.

And so so Dilly would you have started speaking french at a young age.

Yeah that was the first language I actually learned and then when I got to school you weren't supposed to speak french, You had to speak english, the teacher there didn't know french.

So then you kind of lost your french.

And then when I went to grade six finally, and then they do french and it was crazy because it was actually an english teacher from England.

Like what a really strong english accent that was teaching french.

So it was kind of, oh my God, this doesn't sound like french stuff, but so I kind of lost my french language.

I understand a lot of it, but I don't really speak it.

So that was disappointing.

But the school was not a great thing for me.

I uh I didn't like school and thought I'd never go back to school because I was in grade when we moved to the city.

It was, there was an abusive situation with my mom and dad and I was a life and death decision for my mom to make that day.

We ended up, there were still eight of us at home and my twin sister and I were the oldest at home at the time and we all ended up moving to the north end of Winnipeg.

And that's why the north end of Winnipeg is been my home since then.

I was 15 then and I'm 68 now, 69 next month.

So I've been for a long time.

This is my community and I love this community.

Yeah.

Well, I, well, I'll wish you an early, happy birthday Dilly for sure.

Um so Dilly tell me when you arrived, So you're 15, you arrive in Winnipeg.

Did you go to school in Winnipeg?

Yes.

So uh we went to uh it was Aberdeen school then and it's not there anymore, but it's a niche market school now, but it used to be Aberdeen school for grade eight.

Well I stayed in grade eight for three years and passed the third year on condition.

I'm sure the condition was they never wanted to see me in the classroom anymore, but it was just lack of so many classes and stuff.

I never heard of history or science or any of those things.

So my education wasn't great.

So it took a long time to catch up.

But at least they left you in the same classroom long enough to be able to catch up.

They don't do that right?

No, that maybe that's a change for sure.

But billy coming back to you.

So you obviously being in school, uh the traditional term of schooling was not something that was kind of high on your radar.

But having said that, let's just get past schooling, how walk us through how you got out of school and the journey that takes you now to becoming the mom or the executive director of the Andrews Street Family center, grade 11, second day of school.

I skipped school and found a job.

We were able to get jobs this year then.

So started working that and ended up getting married and we ended up having a young son and when he was four years old, I was trying to get him into nursery class at William White School and when I tried to get him in there because his birthday was until november, his best little friend next door was getting in and stuff, they told me that I couldn't get him in because there was no room, but then there was a community outreach worker there and she said to me, you know, if you volunteered in the classroom, you could probably get him in this year.

So for my son, I was off work at that time actually on unemployment at that time.

So I said I was scared thinking I had nothing to offer, but I thought nursery I should be able to, I come from a family of 16, I should be able to watch some kids, right?

And so I agreed to do that and that's how things started.

I started volunteering and this worker really supported me and believed in me and kept so I started believing in myself and that and became the head of a hot dog day and you know, a parent council and my husband got involved and we became founders of maps, housing co op in the community, like we got involved in stuff like that.

So people at the school and that encouraged me to apply for Winnipeg Education Center, which was back at the time is now.

But as the University of Manitoba off campus for social work or education, I knew I wasn't going in education but social work when I found that that doesn't mean I need to be a child family service worker, but I could do community development and that was the kind of stuff I wanted to do work in the community with people in the community, get involved and support families that way.

So once I found out that was, so I applied for the program and uh got in, so it's a four year university course for bachelors of social work.

I said I'd never go back to school, but I went there the first day, so I got my books and I came home and I looked at my books and I tried to start reading my first book and I had to look at six words out of the first sentence out of the dictionary to find out what they meant.

So I began to cry and say what the heck am I doing, but I'm stubborn like my mother.

So I went back and graduated four years later with my Bachelor of social work degree, Congratulations.

And then after that I was fortunate enough the worker at the school, the community's worker, their community school coordinator, the position became available.

So I applied for the position and I was lucky enough to get the job as a community school coordinator at William White School, which is across from Anders street family center.

So I worked there for about several years.

We were looking at safety issues in the community and stuff like that at with the board parent council.

The building that pulls Andrew street was the building of concern.

There was a hot goods and drugs happening here.

It was the police were here all the time and stuff like that and there was supposed to be a program, an after school program happening in the building.

But because the gangs have taken it over and I guess the director wasn't getting bored support from her board, she was burning out and stuff like that.

So the funders of course, especially United Way, they find out because they know what your program is.

They're always checking and programs and stuff.

So uh so we went to them because all the funders are gonna take their funding away.

A group of us from the principal to myself too.

Community people, we went to the funders and said could you please stay with us so we could at least pay for the utility bills and stuff like that.

We will get funding to renovate the place, we'll go out, we want to survey the community to find out what kind of resources they would like him and so we need the utilities to be still working in order to be able to do this kind of work.

So they agreed to keep funding us the minimum funding, you know, in order to all the utilities and those kinds of things.

So we then surveyed over 300 people we hired, I was Community outreach workers, so I knew how to do door knocking and that thing.

So I trained that.

We trained eight people from the community, a male and a female Community members that hadn't possibly got any jobs before not and taught them how to do the surveys and we did over 300 services in our community to find out what community members I would like in this building and you know, for resources and those kind of things, we didn't tell them you need parenting programs, you we asked them and they chose they wanted parenting.

So Dilly just let me just recap this for a second.

So I understand it.

The building that you currently are in which is the Andrews Street Family center, was it called at that time?

The Andrews Family Street Center.

The time when it was basically a drug haven and was being run by, you know, different people that were not interested in supporting the community.

The Pritchard place drop in program, that's what it was because that was a program that was running here and the other part of the building was basically vacant.

There was nobody using that part.

So I guess they were using the whole building.

But yeah, so it was rotten by them.

But like I said, the board wasn't functioning.

They were going to lose everything.

They unpaid taxes, like it was not in a good, it was terrible.

It smelled in here.

It was gross.

You and a group of people went out into the community and basically asked them what do they need?

Yeah.

Once we took over the board, Then we went out to the community, got money to do that and went out to the community to find out kind of what our community existed.

The population basically, 85% indigenous ages of kids, big families were and what they could, what they wanted in resources.

And also, if they would be willing to volunteer to be a part of what was happening here.

Well, like me when I was asked if I'd volunteer, I felt I had nothing to offer.

And I couldn't, We had a list at about 300 things.

Can you, can you babysit, can you play an instrument?

Can unit, can you name it?

We had it on that list.

So when they would say that you'd like to volunteer, if we have, they say, well, you know, they don't have that.

Look, I Don't have anything to offer.

But once we went through the list with them, they're going, oh, I could do this.

So I could do that.

You know, kind of thing.

We had, I think it was like over 200 people that could play guitar, that kind of thing, but they were willing to help.

So we had a lot of people then who signed up to say that they would volunteer their time.

So you're really going to the community and asking them what they want.

And once they start to tell you, as you're trying to get them more engaged, when they say, we don't know how we can help.

Now, You're starting to sort of challenge them a little bit to sort of say, well, you know, you've got skills that you don't even know that you can use here.

And so you brought that out to get them more involved.

Because we knew as a board, when we took over, we knew that we would we put in policies that the board add to be a majority of community members, That then it's a board of 13 and that the staff needed to be hired from the community as much as possible.

So I have 26 staff, 22 are from the community.

So, and the board is, there's uh, nine out of 13 that our community members on the board.

So like that we wanted to make sure that the community had ownership of what was happening at the center.

And because as far as I'm concerned, our power is the community.

If you're into the community, they'll be good to you.

And so tell us, how do you start to put in some of the programming that when you were generous enough to take some time dilly to walk me through.

And some of the things that I saw at the Andrews Street Family Center are quite extraordinary.

It ranges from newborns to parents and it's all built around the support of families.

Tell me a little bit about how did you come up for you in the community, come up with some of the programming and how do you decide?

Well, you decided because they told you, But what did they tell you they needed?

And how did you respond as as an organization?

Yeah, there was certainly a longer list than we could possibly have in the center.

But then we went back and we had a community meeting to put out what things community wanted and then prioritize which ones we could do.

And then we tried to find the funding out there.

We had hired Josie Hill is our first executive director and because I was on the board at that time and she really went out and worked at trying to get funders and that's because we knew we wanted a preschool for indigenous Children or korean Ojibwe because that sort of biggest nations and the biggest population in our area, we knew we didn't want to be called an indigenous organization.

We wanted to be called a community organization because anyone and everyone that lives in our community is welcome at the center.

And so we knew that we, we would get funding Much of her.

A lot of funding will say, Okay, But families don't work just 0, 6 or 7-12 kind of thing.

So we knew in order to get the trust in a place where families could really grow as a family and not just one person in a family.

We needed to have resources that would kind of be welcoming to all ages and all family members so that families could actually be in the adult drop in having a cup of coffee or doing maybe a load of laundry and stuff while their kids were in preschool program or while they were downstairs in the after school program with the older kids because this building was not a trusting building when we took it over, although once we cleaned it up and and renovated and got money for renovations of course and those things and made a difference in the community and its word of amount once the community started coming and then they start volunteering and they get their siblings or or aunt or uncle or cousin or whatever, um, to come to the center and that.

So it became where, I mean, we had over 100 volunteers community members that have never worked before anything, but because we had showed them just making coffee for someone is important and it's a skill, you know, you being able to talk to somebody, you're welcoming people to come into the center later on.

But that's so fun.

They, that's a skill like, so we built on that.

So that's why programs happened.

We had a full time volunteer coordinator.

So the volunteers could possibly get some opportunities to build on their skills and get references for possible future employment opportunities, those kind of things that they couldn't get before we had an adult drop.

And so adults could just drop in, have a coffee, play a game of crib, maybe do some puzzles, you know, and stuff like that.

Or be a part of the, there are community events that we did barbecues and, and had, you know, games for families and stuff just to show that this was the place that was welcoming.

And to us, families mean one person, 20 people, it doesn't matter.

They're all family, you know, because unfortunately there are many families in our community that their families that are best friends and their worst at him.

These kind of things sometimes for them.

So here there was a place where they could trust people and because most of them they knew they'd seen them in the community because I hired from the community, those kind of things.

So once they seen and there was an opportunity for them for employment also, you know, And those kind of things.

So, but that's how they, we got a preschool program.

So for the little ones that's 3-5 year olds at the time, We had an after school program, 6-17 year olds, we have any adult dropping, we have a parent support program.

So if they were having trouble with their workers are needed furniture or needed, just someone to talk to or someone to go with an appointment with them.

We had three workers that we got on board right away too.

And those were community people that have life experience and we're able to be able to help them not tell them what to do.

We're not counselors, but we are able, they would trust us and tell us the truth.

Yeah.

So dilly, you know, one of the things that happens that I'm somewhat familiar with is, you know, there's the term drop in center and sometimes there's a focus on a drop in center for after kids or after school for kids and that's kind of their main focus and it's fantastic.

And this isn't trying to be judgmental, I just want to sort of bring it back always to the fact that the name of your the name of the incredible building.

I'm going to sort of say that the community housing that you provide, you know, that's that's my term, but you it's Andrew street and I want to focus on this family center and so it's, it is all about family.

So it's every age and and all of everybody family is involved.

Yeah.

And I think one of the ways we prove that we are reaching families is because we're reaching as many men as we are women now and we have a number of single dads out here that come and get that support.

And because they may not know one of our guys, he actually works here now because his kids are like 17 and 18 and stuff like that, but they were babies, a baby and a 1.5 year old and I man came to our door and said he needed help.

You know, I want to take the kids.

And unfortunately my partner was on sniff and that I'm just so he came here and he would come here and bring the kids in the we have a Children's program area where they can be there.

Well, he can come and go see the parent support, get ideas, you know, help them with housing, helped them out again on assistance properly and those kind of things.

And I know when the girls got older, he'd come in for help for feminine stuff.

And so, but he knew it was like, it's hard to talk to anybody about that, but he had trust in us because he says he raised his kids at an industry family centering, you know, kind of thing.

He was able to keep his kids this whole time until he never lost, you know what I mean?

Yeah, for sure.

And one thing Dilly that that is clearly important to to you and the Andrews Street Family center is that there's nourishment for all levels again as young Children, you know, infants, newborns, teenagers, adults, food is really important.

Talk about how you ensure that there's proper food for your community.

Okay.

Because things have changed since the covid, like prior to the Covid, we always did food anyway.

We had a big community soup days and stuff like that.

And and we try to give up food and we always have toast or something available for people to come that came in.

And all our programs fed the kids drop in after school program.

We know some kids would come straight after school and never left till we closed our doors.

So we made sure they got a full meal plus a snack.

Everyone got it.

So what did it matter if you have food at home or not?

So that's kind of thing.

So we and we always have snacks or food up here so that the food was part of, it's part of community as part of family.

But now that Covid is around Now we have because we can't be open to the community while we can be open.

We might be able to get 10 people here.

We have an average of 30 to 50 kids the after school program every day.

So we can't pick just 10.

So instead we have to figure out how can we best support our community and more of our community for instead of allowing to three families to come in.

How do we support the thousands of families we have.

So we started I a lunch program, hot lunch program.

So we serve, we cook 150 hot meals like tomorrow they're gonna have homemade meatloaf and little baby potatoes and corn for dinner with the fruit and juice.

So like it's a good meal like that.

So that this way to families we know that everyone's getting a meal a good meal every day.

And that we also do emergency food because we know some of our people just are not getting enough groceries or enough food.

Especially through Covid.

It was hard to get stuff sometimes because the stores of beef not have this stuff for the families who are scared to go to the stores, those kind of things.

So we did a lot of uh even buying at one time where you're buying diapers.

I mean toilet paper and stuff like that because they couldn't get any.

So we make sure that we at least that appear for families and act so we started feeding them that plus our head start program was still running because it's kind of uh that's the indigenous program for preschool as it runs on south side of the building and could have its own exit and entrance without being anywhere else in the building.

So that's why we allowed it for a while.

But only we usually have 20 kids in the morning and 20 kids in the afternoon.

And now we have like five kids in the morning and five kids in the afternoon because that's the covid, But we always feed people and we make Amber's at Christmas time.

We made over 250 made 256 emperors.

Those are big apertures for family because we knew we were closing for a week about I mean enough food, not funny enough to make it so bad.

Yeah.

And so now we've gotten and we've gotten good support from community and and business is we have a grocery store that's now and it's been I guess for this year starting probably in january, they started where every monday we can go pick up and they give us all the meats and some fruits and vegetables that they may have.

So that becomes our emergency food so that we're able to get potatoes on hand.

You know, I think a hamburger so that it's real substantial.

It's not just, I don't know, a sandwich with the seats through slice of meat in it.

I'm sorry.

I kind of anus when it comes to certain things that yeah, but I but you know, dilly I think that one of the elements that is so important again coming back to supporting family and as you say, and I I talked about that every family needs a mom.

You know, I know there'll be people out there that might take offense to it.

For example, you gave a very good example about a single dad, you know, trying to raise two kids, but I look at what you have established there and, and I know that it takes a number of volunteers and boards and lots of people do lead to get this done.

But clearly this has been a passion of yours.

You have overseen this project, You have seen it grow, you've seen, I mean when you signed on, you never thought about Covid, what, what did that mean?

Why are you so passionate about families and community?

Because I've seen too many agencies in that that say they're about community and supporting community.

And I've also have to deal with summit at some point in my life to where they didn't treat you like human beings.

They treat you like a number and they treat you like you don't know anything.

They don't ask you what you need or what when you need to succeed.

They tell you this is what you need, this is what you're not good at that.

You're not.

It was like seen negative and and that and I knew I love my community because people here, they might not be the most educated in that, but the most loving people and they will take care they may not have a lot, but if they got something, they will share it.

So this is the community wanted to make sure we could get the resources for them that would help them succeed and give them an opportunity to use their voices and then their skills to make it work, right?

And so one of the things that I saw when you walked me through the Andrews street family center was a big sign that said family is where life begins and love never ends.

I thought that was really kind of a tremendous signal for what is important to you and all of the people that work and volunteer there and the community that you serve.

Yes, that, that says it all to me.

We're family here.

And many of the people, like I say, some people call me mom.

I used to work at the school, some of those kids now, we're the parents that came here and then now they're kids, our parents.

So it's like a couple of generations I've been here for while and I've been saying I'm going to retire for the last five years I think, and I'm still here saying I'm going to retire in a year and a half now.

Well a year, maybe 69.

I'm hoping for 70 this time.

This is my community and I'm just scared to let it go to anybody.

I think.

Yeah.

Well, and I think, you know, dilly, it's not, it's not a job.

You know, it's not you're not doing a job.

I mean you're fulfilling a passion that is being recognized in the community is something that they want to support and be a part of?

I mean that's pretty spectacular.

I met some people there when you walk me through and some of them have criminal records and you know having a criminal record is very difficult to get employment.

How do you assist and work with people to give them that opportunity to get back into the workplace?

Well, we've worked with were lucky enough to work with our insurance company that's been with us since the beginning.

We have not changed our insurance even though they might charge a little more one year.

I won't change because we had good results of them.

Why would we, we talked to them and said, look, I want to hire this person because of bonding and stuff, that's what they're saying, they can't be bonded and then that's why they don't want to hire people and that.

So I talked to them and that and they were willing to allow us to be able to put a few people on get involved in because their criminal activity had happened years ago.

Like people Need two males, especially to males.

But females too, you get a criminal record, nobody wants to hire you have the time, you can't even get housing but they expect you to stop being a criminal or did you stop doing these negative things in life.

But if you're not giving them an opportunity to get employment or or get skills for that, they can be employable then your what are they supposed to do the lift?

That's all they know possibly.

Or so how do you give them if you don't give them any other opportunities, how do they change their lives then they end up, you know being in jail constantly and stuff but not because that's what they want.

It's because they don't get opportunities.

Usually The two stuff that I have that are just grateful.

You know one of the best staff If you need them to stay 15 minutes later, it's not like they're at the door, five is there at the door when the work is done, you know and they're grateful for it and so they're great models for other people to give opportunities and then I do a lot of tours and stuff to agencies and that and businesses and that that as also I keep telling them they need to hire people with criminal records.

You need to find ways to hire them.

How do you expect the change if they're not given other opportunities?

Like that's what I do is just find, how do you get the community to families to be able to function if things keep getting in their way.

So we try to get the things out of their way, walk with them.

They learn, we're not doing it all with them.

We're just community people just like um well I hire our families, our parents and and stuff like that.

Their party, they used to come here for resources now, they they work here and so they help other people.

So they know what it's like.

Yeah.

And I think Dilly that what you're doing is you're trying to create an opportunity for maybe other businesses or other agencies to sort of see firsthand how successful it can be if they're just given a chance or an opportunity.

I mean, if you can bring people in and tell them what their background was, maybe they had a criminal record talk about that.

That's fair enough.

But what are they doing today?

What opportunities and what are they bringing to the community today?

And everybody I think wants to find a way to make a contribution.

But as you said, not everybody is given that opportunity and that's what I mean.

And the families years like it's a revelation for them to believe that their voices are important and that they do know they know what they need.

They know what they want for their families.

They love their kids.

Unfortunately, they're not the best parents sometimes.

Some of them.

But then if you never talked to do something, it's like if you're never talked to make toast and you just eat bread, someone says, do you make toast?

You don't know how to make toast.

You know, I'm kind of a simple little things like that.

That's what I mean.

So if residential schools took the kids away from the parents or the parents didn't know, didn't become parents like God he raised kids if the kids aren't there And then the kids come back now they're 18, 17, 18.

Their parents, they've never really had that parent role in their lives.

So then how do you become that good parent if you haven't had those roles?

So that's what we try to do is like okay we're good role models for you.

Things can change, you know and opportunities can be there a voice, use your voice.

Don't let people tell you well.

And I think that one of the things you shared with me again, just it's always something that it's all I just call it a teaching moment as simple as it is that it's one thing to give somebody who has a food emergency or is looking for something of substance to give them say a can of beans.

And so I mean that's fair enough you give them a can of beans but they might not have a can opener.

That that was so many times like so you needed to find out what is it that people need and why do they need it and stuff like phones?

So everyone's got a phone don't know.

Not everyone's got a phone technology, everyone's gonna know our community don't have techno.

A lot of them don't know how to use technology and a in a good way.

Facebook kinda it was dangerous for our family sometimes because they only see the bad stuff, right?

They don't see all the good stuff.

Somebody makes a mistake.

Everyone's on top of them and that's the end of the world for them.

Yeah.

You you showed me a phone, a dedicated phone line in a separate room.

What's that?

Tell me about what what what's that for?

He called the community phone room.

And that's for anyone in the community to be able to do that don't have phones at home and that instead of being on a pay phone, which is very hard to find now.

But you'd be outside phone your worker because they need an answer to something before you can get your check.

Well they'd have to wait outside with their kids and buy a phone booth to get their answer.

Here we have a community phone that come in.

The Children can be in the Children's room, you can be sitting having a coffee waiting for that call back.

So two hours later you get the call back from the worker.

Finally be there instead of leaving missing it again.

And then you're punished for nothing making that contact, you know what kind of things.

So here they're able to make that contact or leave.

If they have to leave, they can leave the message.

That phone will be answered by a staff or a volunteer and whoever it is will take a message.

And if we need to take a walk to in the community to get that message to the family, that's what we do, you know, kind of thing.

So that's what that phone was used for.

And I don't know how many times they was used for phoning police and ambulance and and stuff because they'd come in and need.

It really is.

It was it was just a simple thing.

It's a closet space that played with a phone and it chair, well not now we've got a bunch of boxes for lunches but breakfast program, but that's what it was for.

But a simple little thing like that.

Such a difference.

Yeah.

And dilly when you when you get a chance to you know, reflect back about when you started in the community and and getting a sense of why that was important and why families in that community meant a lot to you.

What are some of the biggest changes you've seen over your time as you become the mum of the Andrews street Family center.

Some of the like generations of people that were in assistance that are now working that got a job here.

First family member that I have a job, got a job here now their kids are working, their kids have gone to school, their kids see school as important, you know and those kind of things and that opportunity I could get a job because when we first started kids you say what girls would say 12 year old girl will go, what are you gonna do when you get them?

Oh, I'm going to go on welfare have some kids because that's all they knew now to see that there is opportunities for other employment and those kinds of things are supports, you know, education, that kind of thing.

A lot of our families have gone back to school.

You know, I've gotten jobs of volunteer someplace and gotten work, those kind of things.

I've got references because they volunteer here, They've gotten on the board, they've never been on boards before.

Our board, we call it a learning board.

We have people that definitely need experience on board and no, our board operates, but we also have community people who have never been on board.

So we teach them what emotion is, why you make a motion.

You know, those kinds of things, how you, you and the meeting, how you started making everything about meeting.

So they're learning as they're on the board and they know they are here are board members at the time, are at the center, so it's not like they don't know what's happening in the programs and that.

So they have influence that way.

But a lot of those parents now have gotten on parent councils, there got on their daycare boards and those kind of things because they now their voices important.

They do have a voice again, if they don't like something, something's not going right.

They have a ability to say, you know, that's not right or we need to change things and not only say it, they're willing to play a part in getting it.

And I think one of the things that, that you know makes you sort of the incredible community leader that you are dilly is you're a straight shooter.

Yeah, that could be good and it could be bad, but so far it's been okay.

I think it's been pretty doggone good for you.

I don't like being talked around circles about things because then you really don't get to the point.

I like to get to the point of things and that's all I am with the community and that's how the community better relates to us.

But you also learn some community people, you need to talk to a certain way and work with them and it takes a long time to be able to get them to start trusting and and and starting to tell you real the real this in their lives so that we could really work together to try to get things, you know, that need to be worked out or opportunities for them.

Yeah.

And I hate to think that I'm I know I'm a community leader, I guess in a way, but I don't see myself as being more important or or better than anyone else.

And I think that that's the important thing.

I never forget where I came from.

I came from a family of 16, you know, we always, my dad was a trapper hunter fisherman and and stuff.

So we always had food on the table and we always had a place to live.

But you know, there's for education and stuff like that.

It wasn't case, you know, So when we got in the city, it definitely, so I See I come from, it's not like it's a was a bad thing that family of 16 taught me a lot and we shared and we cared about each other and I think that that's kind of, it's my family now has gotten bigger.

It's a real community.

No, I ideally I was thrilled to have a chance to walk through the Andrew Street family center with you just to understand a little bit more about what about what you are trying to achieve.

I don't know if this is a fair question just to sort of ask you towards the end, but is there a typical day for dilly knoll at the Andrews Street Family center?

You always think it's routine, but there's no, there's some things that are routine for sure.

You know, you're gonna be on zoom for this meeting, you know, for the other because we're multi funded, where it is not funded by one agency were multi funded.

So there's multi reports, multi, you know, still meetings and that.

So those kind of things, meetings are kind of regular, but as the day goes on, there will be someone who talks for some of them might know me from school well they want to talk to me and my door is open.

I am the boss per se.

But I'm a community member and someone they can talk to and all, you'll turn them into the staff that they need for the support they need, but they need to know they trust me and they want to make sure that I trust the person that there I'm referring them to, you know, kind of things.

So it's a good thing.

But now I've got staff that I've been here like for 20 years and stuff like that and it's not because I pay them well.

I certainly do not pay them well.

I I feel bad about that actually.

But there they have ownership of what happens here too.

They've seen a difference in their lives and I think that they continue to want to help others.

They forget sometimes where they come from.

But I have to remind them every once in a while.

But for the most part they are good to the community because they know the community and they are the same as the communities that are not better than they just had an opportunity that maybe someone else didn't get.

Yeah, for sure it's been a delight and an honor to speak with you and learn from you and to know you a bit better if I was going to end this podcast by simply saying when we think about family, what advice would you leave to anybody listening to this podcast about the importance of family.

I think the importance of family is that it doesn't have to be blood family to be family.

If you have someone who cares for you, that's family.

And so if you have many people who care for you, you have a big family.

But as long as you have someone who cares for you, whether they're blood related or not, that is your family and don't feel bad about not maybe having a good relationship with your blood family because you can build a new relationship with other people that really care a lot of the part of your family.

That's a great way to end this podcast.

I couldn't think of a better way myself.

Dilly.

So thank you very much for your time and for what you do.

I look forward to many, many opportunities to sharing time with you.

Thank you so very much.

Well, opportunities came to me.

So now I'm passing amongst other people.

Humans on rights is recorded and hosted by Stuart Murray.

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Thanks also to Trixie may bite you in music by Doug Edmund for more.

Go to human rights hub dot C a a production of the sound off media company.

Hi, I'm matt Kendell, host of the sound off podcast the Podcast about broadcast every week since 2000 16, we've been bringing on broadcast leaders to talk about their experiences and radio, what they've seen and where they believe it is all going.

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