Immigration services is marking 10 years of helping to settle newcomers in the Kingston area.
A celebration will take place this evening in city hall.
The support program for immigrants and refugees is run by Kingston Community Health Centres.
Darryn Davis has more on how it helps..
When you walk into the Kingston Community Health Centre’s office on Weller Avenue, chances are you’ll be greeted by Madhureima Banerjee.
She and her husband – a Phd. student at Queen’s — immigrated to Kingston from India two years ago.
Banerjee says ISKA – the local immigration service — was critical in helping them.
“We got help from ISKA for a renewal of study permit application and for my work permit application. ”
Ruth Noordegraaf oversees the immigrant support group …. and says in the last 10 years they’ve helped over 3000 immigrants and refugees in the region access the services they need.
“If you’re taken out of one world and put into another world you may you may need a little bit more supports in understanding how our system works, with school , even buying groceries, preparing meals,housing maybe some cultural differences.”
“Noordegraaf says all the services that ISKA offers really have one overriding goal, which is to help newcomers to the country become self-sufficient members of Canadian society. ”
“Our population is shrinking, so we also need people in this community to fill the jobs of the future, to help people that are you know are retiring. ”
Which is how people like Banerjee can play an important role.
She still volunteers at the medical centre to give back to the organization and work on her English …. but says immigrant services also helped with the training necessary to get her a job in a restaurant.
“I got food handling training here, which led to getting a certificate and I applied for a restaurant job where it is a asset. ”
Banerjee and her husband hope to stay in kingston long term …. and she also plans to further her own education.
Darryn Davis CKWS News Kingston.