Since opening its doors in 1977, Immigrant Services Calgary has been providing support to more than 10,000 newcomers in Calgary each year! They ensure that families and individuals have the support they need to successfully begin a new chapter of their lives in Canada. Their services include language assessments, family-centered programs, translation, and interpretation services. They also provide individualized support by understanding people’s unique needs and goals and creating personalized plans to attaining these goals.
We are grateful for our partnership with Immigrant Services Calgary! They have been instrumental in coordinating Calgary Food Bank presence at the St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Sobor and in connecting people experiencing food insecurity to the Calgary Food Bank. We met with Rebeca Andrada to learn more about Immigrant Services Calgary and her experience working with them.
Tell us about your role at Immigrant Services Calgary
I am the Outreach Manager at ISC and oversee several community initiatives that help connect newcomers to the supports available at ISC and the wider social sector in Calgary. Our role is to raise awareness about the programs and services available to help newcomers have a successful transition to life in Canada. Whether it’s supporting Afghan and Ukrainian refugees or hosting information booths at community events, we are always seeking out opportunities to connect with newcomers, as well as with other service providers and community stakeholders.
Why do you do the work that you do?
Like many of my colleagues, my drive comes from a desire to help others and empower newcomers with the tools they need to become active participants in our society. For me, it’s also my personal experience as a newcomer. Although I have been in Canada for just over 24 years, I still remember what it was like to arrive to what seemed like a whole new world as a teenager and the sacrifices my parents made in bringing us to Canada. As an adult now, working with newcomers, I have a newfound appreciation for my parents’ experience and the challenges they faced and overcame to provide a better life for our family.
What is Gateway?
Gateway is a new collaboration among organizations to better serve and support newcomers who choose to make Alberta their new home. It serves as a personal guide to help each newcomer through their unique journey, connecting them to the right service at the right agency every time—helping unleash their economic, social, and civic potential.
Gateway features a standardized client needs assessment, personalized planning, and referrals methodology that is used and shared across participating agencies.
What does success look like for the people that you work with?
Each person defines what success looks like for themselves. Our role is to provide the tools and support that they can use to help them throughout their journey.
What have you learnt from your work in communities what you would like other people to know?
Everyone has a unique story and journey. I’ve learned so much from other cultures and perspectives and it has made me appreciate diversity more than ever before.
Each day I am inspired by the resilience, determination, and courage of newcomers.
Anything else we should know? Partnership opportunities? Programs with openings for new clients?
We strongly believe that newcomers are at the centre of what we do, and that collaboration is key to achieving our mission and vision. When we take a truly client-centric, collaborative approach, we can then provide the most meaningful wrap-around supports possible. Gateway has over 60 signed partners, making it possible to connect newcomers to over 300 unique programs and services seamlessly. We always welcome the prospect of new collaborations and partnerships. For more information visit www.gatewayconnects.ca