ISSofBC New Westminster clients cut the cake yesterday to officially open a new location in Royal City Centre. Over 160 friends, clients, staff, volunteers and honoured guests from the community joined to celebrate the new space which includes an array of Language, Settlement and Employment programs for New Westminster newcomers.
“Today marks a multitude of accomplishments. We are happy to welcome all of you at today’s open house and appreciate the commitment of our staff and volunteers alike,” said Andrea Solnes ISSofBC New Westminster Site Manager to a packed audience.
Andrea Canales ISSofBC Moving Ahead Program Manager added how privileged she felt by having so many people attend the celebration including former and present clients.
“Our work has always been very personal for us, and it has been clients that have allowed ISSofBC to grow and develop,” she said.
In addition to speeches, guests were invited to learn more about ISSofBC programs from staff members and volunteers throughout the facility providing information, interactive activities and a chance for potential students to practice English.
The open house also celebrated the success of the ISSofBC Multicultural Youth Circle Program (MY Circle) which helps immigrant youth develop friendships, improve confidence and participate in community activities.
MY Circle Facilitator Alejandra Rodas said participating in the program helped her come out of her shell.
“I’ve made so many friends and learned so many new things over the past year, but the most important lesson I’ve learned was to appreciate myself as an individual. It helped me boost my confidence and feel more accepted,” she said during the event.
The Open House also welcomed former clients who found career success through ISSofBC employment services. Wendy Yang shared her struggle in her job search when she first arrived in Canada three years ago.
“I would send 10 resumes a week and received almost no calls back,” she said,
Fortunately, Wendy was able to connect with Rahila Ansari, an ISSofBC Career Facilitator in New Westminster.
Rahila guided Wendy through the job search process and within a few weeks she was able to land her first position in Canada. Today, Wendy is the Marketing Assistant at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.
Programs available at the ISSofBC New Westminster Royal City Centre office include Skills Connect for Immigrants, the Online Learning Program, the Moving Ahead Program, Volunteer Connections, Settlement-Employment, First-Language Settlement, Immigrant Women’s Peer Support, Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), and the MY Circle Settlement Youth Leadership Program.
ISSofBC New Westminster is open Monday to Wednesday 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Thursday to Friday 8:30 am to 9:00 pm.