The Welcome Centre, located at New Westminster Secondary School, is a dedicated space for newcomers to access resources, settlement services, and programming from various community organizations.
“Because of the Welcome Centre, our team is now able to connect with newcomer families and children directly at the time of registration, rather than waiting months to be able to support them,” said Ghada Tallia, Manager of the SWIS Program.
The space in the Centre comes after years of advocacy from Tallia. Prior to the opening of the Centre, SWIS staff were scattered throughout the school district and there was no centralized location to serve students.
“To be among the organizations to receive space in the Centre is a real honour and vote of confidence in the SWIS program’s work in the school district. Now that this location has opened, it really feels like we are part of the school,” said Tallia.
The recent opening ceremony for the Centre included a special welcome from Chief Rhonda Larrabee of the Qayqayt First Nation and speeches from local officials including school trustees, New Westminster Mayor Johnathan Cote, and Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Burnaby Peter Julian. SWIS team members and other MOSAIC staff were able to gather together and tour the program’s new home.
Moving forward, the SWIS team is focused on settling into the new space and looking forward to providing even more support to newcomer families and students in New Westminster.
For more information about the SWIS program, please email Ghada Tallia at email@example.com.