Sunday, April 3, 2016

IofC and partners hold workshop to open dialogue between Calgary South Sudanese and family service providers

Calgary, January 30, 2016--“This community is where it is today because of your unwavering support and mentorship. IofC assisted us in various ways. Thus I do believe that IofC was and still is the core partner of our community.” South Sudanese community organizer Gatluak Bichoik expressed his appreciation for IofC’s ongoing role in helping his people integrate successfully into Canadian society. 

His comments followed a full day workshop: “Collaborating Towards a Community Approach to Children, Youth and Families’ Well-Being” held at the Grace Lutheran Church. A combined effort of Initiatives of Change Canada, the South Sudanese Community Association and the Calgary Catholic Immigrant Services, the workshop was the culmination of eight months of  planning  and cooperation, and drew nearly 100 participants from the  South Sudanese community, Calgary Family Services (CFS), Calgary Police Service (CPS), and the City of Calgary. 

The day began with welcoming speeches from community leaders, followed by a keynote address by Jon Reeves, CFS Regional Director. Panel presentations were then made by each of the representative groups.

Breakout sessions led by IofC in the afternoon focused on creating solutions that were brought to a plenary session at the end of the day. Each group presented their findings and created time for the beginning of a dialogue that will be continued. Respondents felt that the workshop created space for relationship-building between community members and service providers. 

 “The organizing committee was very successful in building team work and collaboration for this event,” stated committee member Otor Okoth. The discussions identified the need for follow-up community break-out sessions to make specific recommendations that will be included in a final report to be presented to all service providers and community members. 
For more information on the workshop and its outcomes, please see www.calgarysouthsudanese.ca