Maria is currently a second year student in the MES Planning Program at York University. She is also an aspiring community planner. Her final research paper is focused on community planning and public participation for cities located in Bosnia. Over her summer term, Maria worked as a consultant for Northwood Neighbourhood Services. Northwood Neighbourhood Services is a community based organization that strives to improve the well-being of individuals and families by providing applicable programs and services. Maria worked as the third member of a student team in a recognised priority neighbourhood in Toronto, which was home to many new Canadians, immigrants, women’s groups, elderly populations and other ethnic groups. Maria’s job was to obtain information on what program improvements were needed in order to improve citizen well-being. Maria developed questions to ask in organized voluntary forums for these different groups within the community. She then collected data from these public forums and wrote a comprehensive report providing recommendations for the programs and services provided by Northwood Neighbourhood Services. “This project taught me a lot and it was very rewarding. I had a great deal of fun working with a diverse group of people.” Maria hopes that the report her team put together will help organizers recognise issues and improve the well-being of a community.
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– By Anthony Taylor