Following our Annual General Meeting on June 16, the Second Annual Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia Awards were presented to:
- Individual: Mohey Eldin Ahmed – Mohamed Hashish Award
- Community Group: IWK Health Centre Extra Support for Parents Volunteer Services
- Employer/Business: SNC Lavalin (Dave Preston) – Dick Smyth Award
Below are a few words about each award recipient, which were read during the presenting of the awards.
Mohey Eldin Ahmed
Mohamed Hashish Award, presented by Soulafa Al-Abbasi and Jacinda Rudolf
“Mohey has been an active volunteer for many years. He is always willing to participate in any activity that aims at strengthening surrounding communities and supporting community service providers. Mohey has always supported newcomer families in his neighborhood. He listens to their needs, successes, and struggles and offers support and connections and instills within them the hope they need to reach their goals.
He has become a leader in his community advocating especially for immigrant seniors. He founded the Royal Seniors Club for immigrants and he has been a valuable resource for numerous Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia projects that aim at improving services for all seniors. Not only does he volunteer and provide valuable insight into these projects but he also recruits and encourages others to give back to their community. He’s a great role model for many immigrant seniors as well as the younger generation.
Mohey is a star MC at our SupperNova events and he’s definitely a star in our eyes here at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. Everyone knows Mohey. Everyone loves Mohey.”
Susan DeWolf and Maura Donovan, IWK Health Centre, Extra Support for Parents Volunteer Services
Community Group Award, presented by Carmen Celina Moncayo
“Ever since first I learned for the very first time about the ESP, 12 years ago, I have been amazed by their capacity to connect with people with compassion, respect and professionalism. I had arrived to Halifax earlier when I was introduced to Maura Donovan as a possible volunteer. With my limited capacity to communicate in English, I was still able to understand their extraordinary efforts to reach out and serve immigrant families. Maura’s ability to listen me, to learn from me and to develop empathy with me, helped me to show the best of what I had to offer, made me proud of my strengths and feel that there was a future in this country because I was not alone. This is a consistent message that I continuously hear from newcomer families working with ESP staff and volunteers.
ESP has been able, in fact, to make newcomer families part of their own mission. These families are not an addition to the population they have to serve, they are not a challenge to their service. They are at their core of programming and concerns. For this reason, ESP has developed a strong partnership with Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia to work collaboratively to serve newcomer families and to support staff and volunteers to reach out and build team intercultural competency to overcome differences of language, literacy, cultural background and so on, in their work with families.
Many of the ESP clients are now newcomer families. The word has spread that this is a program than responds to the needs of immigrants in genuine, humane and practical ways. It is known that families will be supported by capable, trained staff and volunteers during what can be a very isolating and lonely time, becoming a new parent in a new country.
ESP shows leadership on a regular basis by creating opportunities for communities to find their own resources and make decisions about how they can support each other (e.g. the Chinese Parents Group and the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia Parent Support Group co facilitated with Susan for 8 years). The spirit of collaboration is evident in many ways and allows the program to be a catalyst for community building as opposed to a service operating in isolation.
And finally, IWK ESP staff and volunteers bring to networks and working groups with different stake holders the concerns they observe when working with immigrant families to be taken into account when designing and delivering services.
In name of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, and the hundreds of immigrant parents and mothers you have supported, thank you very much.”
Dave Preston, SNC Lavalin
Dick Smyth Award (Employer/Business), presented by Mohja Alia
“It gives me great pride to present Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia Dick Smith Award to SNC Lavalin, with particular recognition of Mr. David Preston. Since 2001, Mr. Preston opened so many doors for a large number of the immigrant engineers to start their career in Nova Scotia. His ability to see opportunity, and not risk, in hiring immigrant engineers made our collaboration with SNC Lavalin the most successful in the engineering field. Over the past ten years David met with a large number of our clients, most of them are successful and working in their fields, if not with SNC Lavalin then with other organizations. If you want to see diversity at the work place, you should visit SNC Lavalin’s office in Halifax; you will feel like walking through the United Nations.
David is always generous with his time in spite of his busy schedule to participate as a speaker and talk about his experience increasing diversity in the work place. Thank you SNC Lavalin and Dave for being the ambassadors of diversity in Nova Scotia.”