Happy new year to our partners, staff and clients,
As we enter 2021, we have new hope that the vaccine rollout will bring better days this year, but it’s still going to take time and patience. We all still must do our part in following COVID-19 guidelines to protect our most vulnerable populations. At DIVERSEcity, we continue to offer our full breadth of services virtually, with some select and essential services safely in person.
At the same time, DIVERSEcity is growing in size, staff and scope of services. I’m pleased to announce that we have purchased office and classroom space in Newton (#1107 – 7330 137 Street, Surrey, BC), where we already hold English LINC classes. Once we resume in-person LINC classes and other language services, these will continue at the newly named DIVERSEcity Newton Town Centre Campus.
Eventually, we will also be welcoming other teams and services to this location, including our Violence Prevention Services and Mental Health & Substance Use Services. Under the leadership and guidance of Director Amanee Elchehimi, Senior Manager Andrea Canales, Manager Richa Karkee and new Manager Linda Deng, these two areas are growing and evolving in scope of service and program delivery, including with the introduction of our new Journeys to Recovery program for concurrent disorders.
We also welcome several new key staff, including Saleh Altaf, our new Manager, Community Programs who will be overseeing our ever-growing portfolio of seniors’ services and food security programs, and Amie Johnson, Manager, Covid Safety. We are also happy to see longtime DIVERSEcity employees Rola Nasredinne promoted to the new role of Assistant Manager, Volunteer & Civic Engagement, and Zahrae Al-Zaim to Assistant Manager, Child & Family Services.
As we embark on the many new opportunities and initiatives that 2021 will bring, we are also steadfast in our commitment to keep evolving as an organization. DIVERSEcity is proud to have joined the Government of Canada’s 50-30 challenge, to promote diversity in corporate Canada. Research has shown that a broader range of perspectives in an organization results in better performance. We, at DIVERSEcity, know this to be true, and continue to increase our own efforts in creating inclusive and representative teams at all levels of our organization.
Indeed, following a tumultuous year of reckoning with longstanding racial inequities and amidst ongoing conversations as an organization around our role in advancing equity within our community, DIVERSEcity has committed to moving forward with concrete steps toward becoming an anti-racist organization. We are pleased to commence our work with Simon Fraser University’s RADIUS Refugee Livelihood Lab this month in a process that will engage senior management, our Board of Directors and all staff. A select group of staff will help inform an initial survey to be shared with all staff, providing everyone in the organization the opportunity to share their perspectives around issues and concerns that are present within our organization in relation to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI).
This will serve as the first of many touchpoints for DIVERSEcity staff and stakeholders to provide input and reflections into this process as it takes shape. We acknowledge that this will be an iterative journey for us, with an intention to build best practices across the organization to confront systemic racism and address unconscious bias within the settlement context.
To a year of health, progress and rejuvenation for us all,
Neelam Sahota, Chief Executive Officer, DIVERSEcity