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Building connections to help the community grow

Jasmine Klassen says Vanderhoof provides best opportunities for people to gather
Jasmine Klassen poses for a photograph with her children. (Submitted photo)

Jasmine Klassen is a strong advocate of connecting community members with each other, especially those with diverse backgrounds. And for this reason, she is glad to be living in a place like Vanderhoof.

“I think gathering is what Vanderhoof does best,” says Klassen who is currently the anti-racism coordinator at Good Neighbours Committee (GNC).

Born and raised in Vanderhoof, Klassen’s dad worked as a millwright/electrician and mom was a nurse. “So naturally I spent some time working in both the industrial and healthcare sectors before being drawn to the Good Neighbours Committee,” she says. Klassen also serves on the board of Fireweed Collective Society in Fort St. James

The best part about her job is to be able to work with passionate advocates who have kept organizations like the GNC going for over 20 years, she says.

“Not only do they volunteer their time to this committee and others, but they also work in community services like healthcare, education, the arts, and more.”

GNC regularly hosts events in the community to actively build connections with newcomers and local Indigenous communities and this is done to reach out personally to those who might not otherwise feel welcome or invited, she says. Klassen encourages all the longtime Vanderhoof residents to do the same, to help people feel at home here.

Klassen and her family live partway in between Vanderhoof and Fort St James. In her downtime, she and her partner Jared and two children, aged six and two, like to camp at Stuart Lake in summer and ski at Murray Ridge in winter.

“Sometimes we camp at the Riverside Park Campground and pretend to live in town: We get pizza delivered, meet up with friends, go for walks, and play at Sandy Beach.”

Living in a community like Vanderhoof has its own advantages especially since it has so much to offer.

“It’s important to us that our kids develop a sense of belonging and responsibility as community members, so we try to get them involved as often as we can: after school programs and connecting with newcomers at the library, movies at the Grand Reo Theatre, public skating at the Arena, plays by the Vanderhoof Children’s Theatre, concerts by the Northern Orchestra, art shows by the Nechako Community Arts Council, lunch at the farmers’ market, walks through the nature trails, and many community events.”

Black Press Media Staff

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