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1968 - History of the Hollow
The year was 1968. BC’s population had just topped 2 million. Even then, East Vancouver was considered the more affordable area to live and was traditionally home to lower-income, working-class families characterized by a diverse mix of cultures and lifestyles . In 1968, the most notable building being developed on the "East Side" was the Pacific Coliseum where, that same year, musician Jimi Hendrix rocked the stage with his innovative rock/jazz sound in front of thousands of passionate Vancouver fans.
A few blocks away, another less musical sound was keeping people awake through the night. From a small bog near Skeena Terrace Housing Complex, large families of singing frogs were serenading one another. Their croaks were clear, strong, and undeniably irritating to the local residents, but paralleled the underlying struggles of the community. A group of concerned citizens came together at Skeena Terrace to brainstorm an action plan that would raise funds for community programs, focusing on the support of local families and alleviating the challenges of day-to-day life. Driven by their grassroots spirit and a shared dream, this team successfully raised their voices and garnered support to get the Thunderbird Community Centre built. With inspiration from their local amphibian neighbours, they appropriately named themselves the "Frog Hollow Neighbourhood Group.”
1977 - Movement & Evolution
In 1977 Frog Hollow joined the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of Greater Vancouver. From their humble beginnings in the 60’s, and congruent with the values of the original Frog Hollow Neighbourhood Group, the new "Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House” helped grow the vision by establishing public recreation programs, nurseries for working parents, ESL and adult-literacy classes. It also introduced social workers to strengthen support for the community and participation in the programs flourished.
1985 - Separate & Distinct
Frog Hollow builds a home of its own
In 1985, Frog Hollow completed construction of its current facility on Renfrew Street at 5th Avenue to meet the growing needs of the community. The new location introduced a preschool, after-school programming and a part-time Family Support Worker, building support for the surrounding community and laying the foundation for a space that would become an important part of people’s lives. Small grants allowed for the addition of a community law office, youth services and self-run seniors programs. This was a time of significant contribution from the seniors community. Under the leadership of Pak Lee, they developed a Seniors Lounge with many social and educational activities. Three self-run senior groups began and continue to this day.
In 1994, a small staff of approximately 12 welcomed Gary Dobbin as the new Executive Director. Frog Hollow grew rapidly over the next two years and began to expand its services to include a full-time youth worker, an off-site Daycare, ESL classes, a youth employment program and family support through the Community Action Program for Children (CAPC).
2001 - Growing Stronger, Growing Taller
Frog Hollow has grown through seasons of challenge in steady, incremental steps with the support of devoted staff and volunteers and through government funding, foundational grants and corporate partnerships. In 2001, Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House celebrated the opening of a second-floor addition to their main facility. This increased their capacity for service to their neighbourhood by adding programs for family support, youth and childcare, and an expanded emphasis on building community capacity.
TODAY – Deeply Rooted for Future Growth
Frog Hollow currently operates through nine sites with a staff of over 60 dedicated women and men. The strength of Frog Hollow’s organizational culture promotes a sense of deep passion and purpose. People who know the Neighbourhood House believe Frog Hollow is an integral part of the fabric of the local community, and that by participating in Frog Hollow, they are making a positive impact in people's lives. One of the hallmarks of Frog Hollow is its welcoming of everyone in the community, people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. With a current budget of about $3.2 million, Frog Hollow’s consistent commitment to its diverse community with varying needs is making sure every penny is used wisely.
With a long history of service to the Hastings-Sunrise Neighbourhood, Frog Hollow is proud to celebrate it's 43rd birthday this year! They are working hard to support local residents in developing skills and gaining the knowledge necessary to identify common issues and address those issues so their communities are better places to live. Times have changed yet Frog Hollow's goal within East Vancouver, to enable people to enhance their lives and strengthen their communities, remains strong and true.