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When Ottawa Community Housing made plans to renovate a basement storage room in the Pinecrest Terrace neighbourhood into a multi-purpose room, residents saw an opportunity to make the room more welcoming.

Thanks to a spark Community Action Grant, community members are spearheading the Iris Street Arts Collective – an adult art club with the goal of reducing isolation, strengthening community pride and empowering women in Pinecrest Terrace.

"We are creating a mural that is inspired on conversations with the members of the community about what is important to them."

With the guidance of artist Claudia Salguero, community members are exercising their creativity, artistic vision, and collaboration skills to solve these challenges through art.

The result will be twofold: a wall-sized mural for the multi-purpose room that reflects residents’ values and aspirations, and a stronger sense of community in Pinecrest Terrace.

“The biggest benefit of this project is that it’s all about belonging.”

- Yolanda Jones, Coordinator, Pinecrest Terrace Community House

About 420 people call the Pinecrest Terrace social housing community their home. Many of the residents are newcomers to Ottawa, single parents, or are living in low-income situations.

Spark Community Action Grants are funded by United Way’s women’s giving initiative, and give residents in underserved areas of Ottawa an opportunity to directly shape and improve their neighbourhoods. After residents in Pinecrest Terrace identified a lack of adult programming, a Community Action Grant helped them reduce social isolation in the community and get to know their neighbours better.

To date, women have funded more than 60 resident-driven community initiatives in Ottawa with Community Action Grants.

United Way recognizes the power of women driving change in our community. Whether those women are the donors who support our spark Community Action Grants, or resident leaders like those in Pinecrest Terrace who bring initiatives like the Iris Street Arts Collective to fruition, women are making a difference in our community.



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