Amy: Surrey Welcomes Refugees

DIVERSEcity had a booth at the Surrey Welcomes Refugees event and it was a success! The event was held on July 20th at the Surrey City Hall Plaza which is surrounded by City Centre Library, City Hall, and Surrey Central Skytrain Station – a very central location.

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Laura, one of my managers, invited me to help prepare for the event and I was delegated the task of preparing activities for our booth. We came up with the idea of playing diversity bingo, having a map where people could put a sticker on where they were from, having an origami station, and a photo station.

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A couple of days before the event I prepared the bingo sheets, made origami samples, and came up with a shopping list.

The day-of was a bit of a whirlwind. On my way to work I stopped by Walmart and Dollarama to pick up candy (~100 pieces – that was a mistake) and some other things we needed. We started packing our supplies about an hour before we were planning to leave and quickly realized how much stuff we had to bring. Turns out we had 2 cars worth of stuff!

It was the perfect day to be outdoors in the plaza: it was sunny, the sky was clear, and it was really warm. Seeing as this was the first time the event was being held, we had no idea of how big of a turnout to expect…

…and we were definitely pleasantly surprised. There were so many people! Tons of kids and families wandering around and mingling, enjoying the food and exploring the booths. Since we had candy and tons of free swag, we were a pretty big hit! I’ve got to say the swag we have is pretty cool. We’re talking mouse pads, pens, bubbles, stress balls, mints and balloons here. So many fun things! We even gave out bags of Lush goodies.

About 45 minutes into the 3 hour event we ran out of candy so we had to get some more. I bought 3 times as much but even then it didn’t last us the rest of the event. Everyone wants candy!

Most of our time was spent mingling with passersby, giving out swag and teaching origami. Because there was so much hustle and bustle at the beginning I wasn’t sure if people would want to actually stop and do origami, but turns out some people were really interested. The bubbles and waterless tattoos were pretty popular too.

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This is Laura! She’s helping this visitor with her tattoo.

It was so much fun interacting with everyone. As we got closer to the end of the event and things settled down, I found the time to go over to a booth offering free henna tattoos. I’ve wanted to get one for ages now and I finally got the chance!

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Look at our henna!

So for reference for the next event: have tons of candy, tons of swag, do the origami (make sure there’s someone there who knows what how to do it!), pass on the bingo, and bring a camera for photos but don’t prepare a photo station.

It was a great evening. I definitely left feeling like Surrey welcomes refugees 🙂

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Amy: Community Kitchen

Last week I got the chance to participate in my first Community Kitchen and it was so much fun! For this particular session we weren’t jam packed with participants, making it easier move around the kitchen and to have actual conversations as well.

We made risotto with squash, Korean chicken, and had a side salad. MY GOODNESS it was delicious. Hats off to Helen for the scrumptious recipe!

It took us roughly 2 hours to cook, eat, and clean up.

I find team cooking itself to be fun, but what I enjoyed the most was definitely the conversation. As I spend most of my day with my laptop I’ve found myself craving for some client interaction and I’m happy to say I got a good dose of that in the kitchen!

I know this is an idealist thing to say, but I think everyone who works in social services should do it because they care (actually I think this sentiment could stretch into many other fields too but that’s a whole other post for a different blog!); I chose to apply for this position because I care about this population. I think it’s very important for people who work in this, and many other fields, to stay connected to people they serve and I’m grateful to be getting the opportunity to do so.

Dianne: A Day at DIVERSEcity

In the month that I have been at DIVERSEcity, I have found that no two days are the same. There are so many different departments, programs and specializations to learn about and there is always much to be planned and to take part in. Working as a Human Resources intern, my days tend to be filled with project work, meetings, training sessions and catch-ups with colleagues.

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Good days start with coffee

9:00a     –      While there is no actual “typical day” I usually start by grabbing a coffee from the lunch room and reading emails that have come through from the previous evening. Once I am done replying to emails, I will update my to-do list and decide on what I aim to accomplish that day.

9:30a     –      I will typically begin with assisting Cindy, the HR manager, with any tasks that she has brought to my attention. This could be helping her with research, scheduling, or any other administrative tasks.

10:30a   –      One project that I am currently working on is assessing the professional development training of the Settlement and Community Programs staff. I came up with an idea to attain information from the staff on what their preferences are when it comes to training, so I created a short survey to be included in the training analysis booklets that would be distributed to the entire department.

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Completed training booklets

11:00a   –      Part of this same project was to copy and print 25 booklets for all the staff. However, I had a bit of a printing mishap 😦 All of the printed pages did not sort properly, and in the end I had a HUGE stack of paper that went page 1,1,1,1,1 (25 times), then page 2,2,2,2,2 (another 25 times), and so on, all the way to page 55! What a pain! Luckily, I asked my desk buddy Amy to help me out. We booked a meeting room and spread the papers out over all of the desks and we were able to organize all the booklets pretty quickly. I will never make that mistake again!

12:00p   –      I prepared and organized the Wellness Committee binder by adding an updated members list and printing all recent email communications regarding Wellness related activities, such as the plans for an upcoming Lunch & Learn where a Holistic Nutritionist will be presenting!

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12:30p   –      I have recently moved and I’m still in the process of unpacking, which has made it hard for me to pack my own lunches. Because of this, I will usually run out for my lunch, but not before checking the lunch room to see if anyone has brought any snacks or sweets to share (this is a pretty common thing here)!

1:00p     –      I got to sit in on the organization’s monthly Wellness Committee meeting. This committee promotes health and wellness within the company by holding events and activities that are fun and educational.

2:00p     –      I had a short meeting with Cindy where she showed me how the organization’s recruiting process works. I even got to help post few job openings!

3:30p     –      Time to go home! The days here are just whizzing by so fast and I am learning so much!

Amy: Rub-a-dub-dub Making Soap for the Tub

For community programs, most of what I’m working on this summer revolves around raising funds for our programs. We have a lot of lavender growing around our building that was eventually going to get cut so we decided hey, why not teach a class using lavender?

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After some brainstorming we settled on using lavender to make soap. Our first choice was to ask an instructor to come in and teach the class but after reaching out to a couple of places we couldn’t find an instructor. We did however receive an offer for a discount on supplies so being the go-getters we are, we took the discount and decided to teach the class ourselves (actually I taught it myself Smiling Face With Sunglasses Emoji (Twitter Version) adding that to the resumé!)

So I did some research on how to make soap, got the supplies, and taught a class for staff. With about 10 people, the class went well! Everyone got to take home a nice smelling soap and learned how to make their own. I even ended up teaching a second class for people who couldn’t make the first one.

Were you hoping to find the recipe here? Nuh-uh, you should have taken the class! But if you just want to buy a handmade soap, stay tuned! They’re coming.
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I may have just found a new hobby. You know who to call when you’re looking for soap 😉

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Amy: Canada Day BBQ!

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Last week we had a staff BBQ lunch for Canada Day. As someone new I was really excited to see everyone together as a whole, in a social environment.

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It was the perfect day for a BBQ!

At 11:30 everyone who was interested was invited upstairs to the roof (yes we had a rooftop BBQ!) for the singing of O Canada. The coolest part was it was being sung in different languages.

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Look at all these sweet people. Everyone is so kind and thoughtful, there is no better representation of Canadians! Visit our Facebook page to see the video here.

Dianne and I were stationed the door to hand out food tickets. Again, the perfect opportunity to learn names ^_^ Although after awhile all the names and faces blurred together… we have a lot of staff, okay?!

People had signed up for the type of burger and a time slot for when they wanted their food a few ago, but since many people came up for the O Canada singing, they also stayed to get their food tickets and lined up for food. This caused a bit of a bit of a kerfuffle because some people who did sign up for the first time slot weren’t able to get their food. Now we know for next time, people need to stick to their time slots. Lucky me was still able to get my veggie burger on time though 🙂

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The main event of the day was a hat contest! A few of the participants really went all out and decked out their hats.

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We had three lovely judges decide winners for the most original, prettiest, and funniest.

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The winners were….

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Congratulations ladies!

Everyone got to mingle a bit while having lunch and we finished off with some yummy cake.

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It was a great time. I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Canada Day! Just a few more weeks until BC Day 😉

Dianne: First Day Nerves

First days at any new job are always nerve racking. On my first day at DIVERSEcity I woke up and got ready to head out to Surrey, all the while my stomach was filled with butterflies. I arrived to the office building and my initial thought was how nice the office looked and how busy it was! The main front entrance was bustling with people and I had to wait a bit until I could catch the receptionist’s attention. However, I soon came to realize that there was no need to be nervous because my first day began with such a warm welcome from the entire company. During a quick tour of the office, I was introduced to every single employee that was working that day. All I could think was, “How the heck am I going to remember all of these names??” It felt a little overwhelming at first, but everyone was so friendly and happy to meet me that it made me want to get to know everyone. The rest of my orientation mainly focused on going through all the necessary paperwork and getting situated at my desk and setting up my computer. Since I am doing my internship for Human Resource Management, it was great to be a part of the orientation process and to see how the process works first hand. I also got to meet and interact with Cindy, the HR Manager, right off the bat, which was great since she will be my mentor for the rest of the summer.

Now I am a few weeks into my internship and I‘m still learning and taking it all in. The employees here definitely give off a feel of being a family and you can always see lots of smiles and hear lots of laughter in the office. I am happy to say that I have gotten much better with remembering everyone’s names and it helps that I sit right by the elevator so that everyone that walks in to the office first has to walk by me and say hello. It also helps that I have a great desk buddy who is also an intern here for the summer. “What’s his name again?” is something that has been commonly whispered back and forth between us. But we are getting better at it! I am definitely excited to see how the rest of my summer unfolds and I am ready to take in all the new challenges and opportunities the DIVERSEcity has to offer.