Jim Tallman, outgoing president of the ISSofBC Board of Directors, received the 2019 AMSSA Service Recognition Volunteer Award in AMSSA’s Annual General Meeting last Friday evening.
Jim was recognized by AMSSA (Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies) for his “long-standing leadership, commitment to empowering immigrants and refugees, and supporting the creation of welcoming and inclusive communities.” The award was presented by AMSSA Executive Director Katie Rosenberger.
Aside from having served on ISSofBC ‘s board for 23 years – eight as president – Jim has also been one of ISSofBC’s most prolific volunteer settlement mentors. His first mentee Hien Quang, one of the last “boat people” from Vietnam whom Jim met in 1992, describes Jim as his “best friend.” Retired from his job as an electronic technician, Hien credits Jim with giving him confidence and “helping me to have a vision for my life”. He has a long list of examples of Jim’s generosity and support, including being present for many of Hien’s “significant” occasions.
Hien is not alone in his appreciation for Jim’s efforts as a volunteer mentor. In nearly three decades, Jim has helped over 20 other newcomers and their families from four continents adjust to life in Canada. For most of these new Canadians – who came from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma (also known as Myanmar), China, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Iran, Korea and Ukraine – Jim is considered a life-long friend.
Jim’s contributions to ISSofBC have been described as “profound” by CEO Patricia Woroch. “His leadership of the board has transformed their governance model to reflect a future-oriented, strategic and collaborative standard,” said Patricia.