The links between citizenship, community, and renewal are all on my mind lately.
Yesterday, I had the honour and privilege of attending a citizenship ceremony at which more than two dozen new Canadians pledged their allegiance to, and were welcomed to Canada.
These new Canadians ranged from a variety of homelands – Israel, Poland, Pakistan, Romania and the United States to name just a few.
In his words of greeting the justice of the peace made the comment,
“We may not share a history but now we will all share a common opportunity for the future.”
This time of year is traditionally seen as a time of opportunity – of renewal and hope as we see the first signs of spring. And I can’t help but think of the range of diversity of the many clients now being served by MTH and their new opportunities and hopes.
We welcomed our first family of newcomers to Canada as clients late last year, and I am happy to report that they are doing exceptionally well. Having the one on one case management, as well as knowing that they will have a roof over their heads for the next two years and a stable school environment for their children, has allowed them to focus on learning English and begin setting up their own business.
The fresh food box we provide each month, as well as the groceries and turkeys donated by Grace Anglican Church at Christmas, has led to some interesting lessons on cooking foods they aren’t familiar with. I never realized that the foods we take in stride here would be seen as new and exotic to someone new to our country.
It is so much fun to see our community through their fresh eyes or to meet and talk with our other clients and learn about their experiences. Our range of clients also includes a senior citizen, single parent families, a newly married couple and more and I learn more and more from them every time we talk.
I am so proud that, since taking on our first client in 2012 and beginning with just that one housing unit, Milton Transitional Housing now has nine units and has now graduated its 9th client family from the program. That’s nine clients who came to use experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis who have now gone on to stable, long-term affordable housing of their own.
When I spoke at the citizenship ceremony yesterday, I spoke to the concept of community and thanked the new citizens for what they will be bringing from their communities to ours – they will enrich the country we now share with their experience, history, and actions. Yesterday, they joined our community – the one that I am so truly thankful to. The community which makes support for all of our clients possible. The community which, since 2012, has helped us to help others – to offer them that helping hand to be able to reach for a better future for themselves and their families.
Spring – it’s not just a time of hope and renewal for me – it’s also a time to reflect on the wondrous community we call home and to thank every one of you for being such an important part of our community.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and thank you again for all that you do to support all that we do. Donna