At the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative (DWCC), we fully embrace the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to neighbourhood revitalization and community development in our work in downtown Windsor. In fact, it was from Hugo Vega’s involvement and friendship that we developed successful partnerships with the YMCA, such as our community gardens, sports activities, and various civic engagement activities. Over the past 10 years, we’ve developed rich relationships with many newcomers and could not imagine our downtown schools, institutions, businesses, and everyday life without them!

My involvement with the WE Value Steering Committee stems from my experience in the community development field. I find this work to be incredibly rewarding as I get to know, learn and understand, not only the hardships of immigration, but also the beautiful stories of resilience and determination. I’ve developed many ongoing friendships – and it is through these relationships in the neighbourhood setting that I’ve come to understand the value that the steadfast presence of newcomers brings to our community.

This is what excites me most about the WE Value project: we get to uncover the talents and passions of newcomers right at the outset of their arrival. Not only does this new system simplify the process and make it easier on individuals and families, but it also brings out the best of these new community members, which adds to the robust tapestry of social capital that is already present in our city, but often times unknown and overlooked during the settlement process. This work reminds us to see ourselves as complex people with many gifts to offer the Windsor-Essex region and beyond. I look forward to seeing the multi-layered benefits of this newly created system and ultimately, manner of doing settlement in our community!

 

Sarah Cipkar

Community Member

At the time this was released, Sarah was with the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative