The Volunteer Spirit is Born –The Early Years (1996 to 2000)
Following a series of unfortunate and tragic events involving new immigrants and live-in caregivers, ten friends banded together to found the Filipino Canadian Support Services Society (FCSSS). Driven by the spirit of neighbourly cooperation, the group of volunteers initially aimed to support Filipino settlers in Canada in crisis.
The FCSSS established a drop-in center in Vancouver at Fraser and 51st Avenue. The diversity of the immediate neighborhood soon attracted volunteers and clients from all cultural backgrounds. The City of Vancouver soon took notice, and provided funding for the Society’s first professional staff – a community coordinator. The Society eventually saw the need to broaden its mandate and serve all cultural communities. It consequently amended its constitution and by-laws by the year 2000.
The Multicultural Helping House Society – Expanding the Reach (2001 to 2010)
With its expanded community reach, new programs, the FCSSS was renamed to the Multicultural Helping House Society in 2001. This year also saw the birth of the Bamboo Network, a 100% volunteer-coordinated effort with volunteer mentors.
The society sought to establish a new center to serve as a one-stop-shop to serve its clients and by 2003, the MHHS inaugurated its main center on Fraser and 32nd Avenue. The 3-storey edifice hosted temporary accommodations for newly landed immigrants, respite housing, as well as staff offices, rooms for meetings, counseling, and training/workshops. The expanded support services included settlement, job assistance, and programs for the youth, seniors and families.
The Society’s services once again outgrew its facility, and a second office was established by 2009. The second site hosted the Fast Track employment services program, as well as workshops for EI clients, skills development programs, job creation partnerships, targeted wage subsidies and self-employment assistance.
With financial support coming from all three levels of government – Federal, Provincial and City – the society began to construction to expand its main center in 2010.
The Spirit Lives On – A New Beginning (2011 and beyond)
By January 2011, the Society inaugurated of its expanded offices. It continues to draw interest from clients and volunteers, and goes on to evolve its programs to suit the needs of the community it aims to serve.