Message from the Chair
By Coleen Schneider
Some of the strongest, most remarkable women I know are those who choose to leave their countries of origin and establish new homes in Canada. These women come to this country for a variety of reasons but one shared reason is to create better lives for themselves and their loved ones.
They, like my own immigrant grandmother and great grandmothers, face challenges! These include how to be treated with respect and dignity as they navigate their way through learning a new language and culture, and how to find support for themselves while they in turn give support to their loved ones. All this must happen while in a new, unfamiliar country! Such tasks can be overwhelming.
This is where Changing Together comes in. What a remarkable organization! It was founded in 1984 by a group of immigrant women who were students at the University of Alberta, including Josephine Pallard, who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. Changing Together's mission is to "Engage, Empower, Encourage” immigrant women to be strong and resilient and to realize their full potential through participation in Canadian life.
As part of our organization’s name, the word Together, is significant! ‘Together’ is how these women learn and change; grow strong and resilient.
A great analogy for this concept comes from redwood trees. These trees, which grow to skyscraper heights, and grow together in ‘family circles’, have a unique root system. When their roots come in contact with those of another redwood, they wrap around each other multiple times, forming a powerful bond. Each tree shares this bond with another tree and this way eventually every single tree is connected to one another. The roots hold on to one another through the harshest of weather and help the family of trees grow tall and strong together.
By working and connecting to each other through the truly amazing programs and support that Changing Together offers, the women of Changing Together, just like the redwoods, can thrive and contribute in remarkable and much needed ways to their new home of Canada.