On Monday, June 22nd, 2020, TIES held its 32nd Annual General Meeting: the very first of its kind to be held online!
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of our services being offered remotely, we opted to host this year’s meeting using the ZOOM platform. Our theme this year was “A New Chapter,” which proved true in more ways than one. Not only was it the first to be held online, it was also the first under our rebranded name and identity.
Sixty six participants joined us for the proceedings. We were pleased to welcome funders, donors, community and corporate partners to the meeting, alongside our Board and official membership. Our President, M’Liss Edwards, and our CEO, Sally Zhao, each gave addresses highlighting notable activities from the past year. Here are some highlights:
- Rebranding as The Immigrant Education Society (TIES for short)
- Conference 2020 on Refugee & Newcomer Women’s Emotional Wellness
- New e-Learning programs, including Newcomer Introduction to Classes Online (NICO)
- New Research initiatives, including Immigrant Access Counselling and Language Brokering
- Response to COVID-19, including: remote delivery, emergency food & transportation supports, and mental health initiatives such as Settlement Chat, Mindfulness sessions, Music Therapy webinars, and a weekly staff newsletter to strengthen connections while apart.
President M’Liss Edwards conducted the business part of the meeting, followed by an appearance by our special guest speaker, Abdulfatah Sabouni! Mr. Sabouni is a graduate from our LINC and EDT programs, and is now the founder of his own soapmaking business, Aleppo Savon. He comes from a family of Syrian soapmakers, and Aleppo Savon is made using century-old methods!
To conclude the event, a success story video was shown featuring some of our clients and staff sharing their stories and experiences at TIES. One respondent mentioned that TIES gave him new strategies – “not just to survive, but to be happy in the world.” Another shared that our staff have been “a great support over the last few years.” They also described their dreams for the future: working in their field of choice, starting a business, providing for their families, and helping other newcomers settle in Canada.
Thanks to everyone who joined us!