North Shore CommUNITY Project invites residents to dinner and dialogue series to explore challenges faced by newcomers

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A project that aims to create a more welcoming and inclusive North Shore is hosting a dinner and dialogue series at local restaurants for the public. By bringing people together through food, the North Shore CommUNITY project wants to build awareness to the challenges newcomers face.

“New Census data tells us that immigrants account for 36 per cent of the North Shore’s population – that’s one third of the people we interact with every day,” says Jody Johnson, Project Coordinator from North Shore CommUNITY. “Unfortunately, a large percentage of our community is being left out … meaning we are losing out on new business, new staff, and even new ideas and ways of thinking.”

The three part series, titled Building a North Shore Community – A Dialogue Over Dinner, will visit three different local restaurants owned and operated by immigrants. The restaurateurs will share food from their country of origin and their personal immigration story, from how they started their business to challenges and achievements they’ve experienced along their journey. Their story will provide a basis for dialogue participants to explore the role individuals have in creating workplaces, neighbourhoods and genuinely welcoming and inclusive communities.

“We encourage any North Shore residents who want to make a difference in the community to join us for dinner,” says Cheryl McBride, Manager, Senior Services, Administration and Facilities. “Immigrants come to the North Shore from all over the world with valuable perspectives, knowledge and skills. They come here for a better future and are eager to contribute to the economy and society but often feel isolated and unwelcome. It’s time to start engaging our new neighbours, customers and employees.”

Johnson says, “Communities and workplaces that are truly welcoming and inclusive are healthy, peaceful, vibrant places that require the involvement of us all. Community development cannot be led only by government or community agencies.”

There is no cost to attend, but seats are limited. Each dialogue will be held between 6 and 8 p.m. The first Dialogue over Dinner takes places February 3 at Cazba restaurant. Future dinners will be at Sushi Nami on February 24 and Shanghai Village on March 4.

To register, visit:

www.surveymonkey.com/s/DialogueBuildingNSCommunity.

Or call Cheryl McBride at North Shore Neighbourhood House at 604-724-1504.