From left: Speaker Elexis Schloss, executive director Sonia Bitar and temporary board chair, Sr. Diane Brennen
BY SISTER DIANE BRENNEN
On Friday, May 30, Changing Together – the Centre for Immigrant Women in Edmonton, Alberta – celebrated its 30th anniversary with a dinner and silent auction.
Thirty years ago a small group of immigrant women who were studying at the University of Alberta decided to meet together in order to provide each other with support in learning Canadian ways.
With that humble start, Changing Together began its mission to help immigrant women. The centre provides language and computer training as well as other life skills. It has programs to help prevent family violence and human trafficking for sex and labour.
It arranges safe shelter for abused women and their children. It helps women learn the difference between a healthy relationship and an abusive one, both in a marriage and in the workplace. Volunteers gain Canadian work experience so that they can get references in their job search. The seniors program provides needed support and encouragement.
Since 1984, Changing Together has helped nearly 68,000 immigrant women and their families by providing services, safety, and assistance in grappling with the many challenges women face.
At this 30th anniversary we honoured the stories and lives of those accomplished immigrant women who have served our community in many ways.
The guest speaker was Elexis Schloss, a recent recipient of the Order of Canada. She presented Changing Together with a statue of four people resting on each other’s shoulders. From the bottom to the top we have Courage, Strength, Hope, and Dignity.