“If you go to sleep now, I’ll take you to The North Grove tomorrow,” is a common offer in Aliya and Shaahid’s home to get the kids to bed. With five children ranging from 10 years to a few months old, this family loves to come to The North Grove because there is something for everyone! Aliya can take a break and connect with other parents, and there is always a program happening for the kids like Sunshine Gang or Young Farmers.
“If the kids know we are going to The North Grove they are so happy. If they give me a hard time I say ‘Ok I guess we can’t go to The North Grove then’ and they immediately go ‘Ok I’m going to be nice! I’m going to be nice!’ It works for me every time.” –Aliya
Aliya started participating in programs in 2014, when her oldest, Nabeel, was a toddler. A friend invited her to Playgroup and her family has been part of The North Grove community ever since. Aliya often connects with other parents from the Dartmouth Mosque to plan which programs they want to attend so their kids can play together. She also loves attending the programs that are just for parents. “I’ve learned a lot at Coffee Talk for Parents, like parenting skills and tips to not yell at your kids.” After programs she’ll take bread from The North Grove to share with her elderly neighbours.
Nabeel, who is now 10, and his siblings are all regulars at The North Grove. “Young Cooks was my favourite because you get to cook new recipes and try them” says Nabeel’s seven-year-old sister Yasmeen. Aliya also loves the recipes; “I get a lot of nice and healthy recipes from The North Grove and everyone likes it when I cook them.”
“There was once when I said something like ‘I don’t know what to eat’ and Yasmeen went around and got her cookbook from Young Cooks and offered to cook something from it! The North Grove gave them confidence that they can cook. Like it’s not a big impossible thing.” –Shaahid
Six-year-old Zahra had lots of fun making garden stones recently in the Crafting Together program. And all the kids love to play in the Children’s Discovery Garden where their sense of humour comes through in fun dress-up games and silly poses for the camera. The older siblings are incredibly considerate with the younger ones; playing pretend in the kitchen with their toddler brother Muhammad, and holding their baby sister, Najwa, with so much care and sweetness.
Over the past couple years Aliya has brought little Muhammad to Family Playgroups. “Family Playgroup for the kids is very nice because they can see other toddlers,” says Aliya. Their youngest, Najwa, was born on June 11, 2022 and is not old enough to join Family Playgroup yet, but when she is older there is no doubt that she will be the fifth child in the family to participate.
“It’s a great thing to have for the community. If we didn’t have The North Grove, where would the kids go? There’s not a whole lot of options... to have that social environment is a really special thing.” -Shaahid
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