Meet Shannon. She is the Coordinator of the Civic Engagement for Immigrant Women Program at CIWA.
Shannon first heard of CIWA through her professor at the University of Calgary. At the time, the professor had left the university and started at CIWA as a Civic Engagement Coordinator. Shannon applied for a job as a Youth-Civic Engagement facilitator and later moved into the Coordinator role. She has now been working at CIWA for more than ten years! Congratulations Shannon!
She was born in Alberta, but left Canada for about 10 years, living and travelling overseas. She has a deep understanding of the immigrant experience, having experienced it herself in South Korea and Nigeria, and is grateful for the settlement support she received in these countries. When she returned to Canada, she sponsored her late husband to be a Canadian citizen. She enjoys working with immigrant women because she wants to “pay it forward” and because she loves to see the confidence that comes from believing they can build a great life in Canada.
“I love it when women phone me back after taking Civic Engagement to tell me about all of the ways they engaged in society where they had never thought possible before. I love being a part of their journey to confidence, that perseverance in Canada is the key to make it here, and it is possible to focus on the daily aspects of life to get settled, rather than just money.”
Shannon believes that getting immigrant women’s credentials recognized better from overseas is one of the biggest barriers that immigrant women are still facing. It results in many of them getting discouraged early on, and impacts their ability to qualify for the employment that they want. CIWA provides employment programs, soft skills classes, civic engagement awareness, counselling, volunteer opportunities, friendship and kindness. Shannon stays at CIWA because she believes it is important for us to take care of our newcomer sisters, so that we can all succeed as women
"I like that CIWA has built equity into the core values. It is important that we advocate for newcomer women to have an equitable chance in Canada. In Civic Engagement we do our best to inspire immigrant women to go for the gold. It is my goal to be a part of CIWA to encourage newcomer women to engage in their dreams and just use the first 5 years in Canada to go for the best of what they want so that their retirement will be comfortable later when their kids are Canadian."
Shannon’s proudest accomplishment is being a mother to her son Elijah. In her free time, she loves to thrift off of Kijiji, complete DIY and renovation projects, dance, make art, and memorize the lyrics to rap songs. She also holds a black belt in Kumdo (Korean sword fighting).
To learn more about the Civic Engagement Program click here.