MCSS invited to Temple to see Trudeau

By invitation of MP Jati Sidhu, representatives from Mission Community Services Society were invited to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 19, the Friday before the Victoria Day long weekend.

Trudeau spoke on multiculturalism and acknowledged a ‘black day’ in history.  More than 250 people gathered for the event at the heritage Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford.  When he arrived he was provided with a tour of the temple to learn of its history.

Federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also attended with other Members of Parliament, special guests, and local civic politicians.

After his speech, Trudeau posed with members of the crowd, shared a few words with them and was on to the next scheduled stop.

Coverage of the event and video is HERE.

A full MCSS Facebook album of images is HERE.

Lining up sponsors for Festival of Light: Diwali

An organizing committee of community members chaired by Rick Rake, Local Immigration Partnership coordinator for Mission Community Services Society, has already begun work for Mission Festival of Light: Diwali, set Oct. 11 at Clarke Theatre.

Mission Record newspaper has published a preliminary story about the event HERE:

Interested sponsors are encouraged to contact Rake at

Our lively emcees for the 2017 Festival of Light: Diwali are Kelly Chahal and Sati Grewal. Diwali is set for Oct. 11 at Clarke Theatre.



Celebrating National Volunteer Week

MCSS held a small appreciation party for our fantastic team of volunteers supporting number of our programs, ranging from Seniors, Food Centre and Tax Clinic to mark the National Volunteer Week.

Here are some photographs from the day.

Spring break: Newcomers instructing newcomers

Mission’s Sonia Sirere formerly of Kenya and Sara Salah Derradji,formerly of Algeria, enjoy instructing newcomer children from Syria, The Congo and Germany.

A trio of  instructors from Algeria, Kenya and Japan helped build confidence in more than a dozen students from Syria, The Congo and Germany  during Mission Community Services Society’s New to Canada young learners six-day spring break program.

“I get a sense of fulfillment when I give back,” said Mission’s Sonia Sirere, 24 from Nairobi, Kenya who arrived in Canada in July.

“The children have shown so much improvement since we started the program.  I see improvement in integration, language skills, and just being more confident in their environment.”

The six, three-hour sessions for children aged six to 14 featured gardening with flowers, leadership training, local Mission history at Mission Museum, Japanese cooking, mixed media art at Windebank elementary and physical fitness at Centennial Park.

Sonia Sirere enjoys mixed media art session with newcomer children at Windebank elementary during spring break session for young learners. Event was hosted by Donna Duvall’s Creative Haven.

Sara Salah Derradji, 16, who speaks French, Arabic and English, is from a family who immigrated to Canada from Algeria 12 years ago.  She attends Mission Secondary School and was employed by MCSS during spring break.

By doing this “I feel connected because a lot of the kids are just like me, coming to the country only speaking Arabic.  It is so good to see the kids improve.  They are not sticking to their own siblings at these sessions, they are also talking to other newcomer kids.”

Moeko Okabe, a Grade 11 MSS international student from Japan was also an instructor.

Mission Secondary international student Moeko Okabe from Japan teaches newcomer children how to create fruit sushi during Japanese cooking session at Mission Community Service Society.

Among the memorable moments during the program, said Sara and Sonia, was the Japanese cooking where the kids created fruit sushi.

“Some of the kids have never experienced some of the fruits we offered.  The rice paper was also something new, and the kids kept asking if they should eat it . . . they thought it was plastic,” said Sara.

Sonia, who speaks Kikuyu, Swahili  and English, said the kids created kabobs with the fruit, and when they were introduced to a dipping sauce of chocolate, “they were just crazy about it.”

Between 12 and 15 newcomer children attended each session.

Richards to lead new MCSS Food Centre

Mission Community Services Society is excited to announce that Lexi Richards (on the right in photo) is heading up the new MCSS Food Centre as of April at the current Food Centre location on Logan Avenue.

Richards, who was with Community Kitchens, most recently taught food preparation and cooking for MCSS programs serving a range of clients from people who are homeless to those new to Canada.

Stay tuned to this website for more exciting MCSS Food Centre information.


MY Bike Courier Service supported by MLAs

A MY Bike Courier Service employing the skills of vulnerable youth in Mission will be launched later this year thanks to the support of Simon Gibson (Abbotsford-Mission MLA) and Marc Dalton (Maple-Ridge-Mission MLA) who visited Mission Community Services on March 17 to make their announcement.

MLA Marc Dalton, MCSS board chair Bob Ingram, MCSS executive director Sanjay Gulati, MCSS manager of governance and resource development Karen Laing and MLA Simon Gibson at MCSS on March 17 to announce new initiative.

Thanking the two MLAs for their support were MCSS board of directors chair Bob Ingram, MCSS executive director Sanjay Gulati and Karen Laing, manager of Governance and Resource Development.

The MCSS MY Bike Courier Service plans to duplicate the success of the “TurnAround” bicycle courier service that started as a package delivery business in Toronto in 2002.

TurnAround Couriers has evolved from just providing work to a target population, to also providing them with access to education, to also enabling them to participate in company healthcare and dental plans.

To date, TurnAround Couriers has helped more than 185 youths to turn around their lives.  Its list of clients and supporters continues to grow.

MCSS will build on the key learnings and success of the Anything Possible pilot project that the provincial government supported in 2014.

Diversity, inclusiveness, hard work honoured at awards night

With CBC broadcaster Fred Lee as emcee and CTV News anchor Tamara Taggart as guest speaker, the 14th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards honoured some 50 nominees in seven categories on March 3 at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre in Abbotsford.

Mission Community Services Society was there with its New to Canada team, executive director Sanjay Gulati, MCSS managers Karen Laing and Darlene  Straarup and board of directors chair Roger Dowker to recognize the work of Mission nominees who sat with MCSS, including Champion of Diversity nominee Lesley Drown and guest Ann Murdoch who both were instrumental in key volunteer roles with Congolese and Syrian refugees who arrived in the community this year.

Colin Halldorson (with his wife Denese Maharaj), coach of Mission Spartans U13 boys of Mission Soccer Club was there as a nominee for the Inclusive Environment category (medium and large organizations).  Hallorson, his team, his club and parents provided overwhelming support for the refugee children who played with the team, and helped in the integration of the families into the community.

Mission was also represented by the recipient of the Innovative Initiative Award, Emma’s Acres – L.I.N.C. Society,  nominees Cycling for Diversity,  and champion of diversity nominee, District of Mission social development manager Kirsten Hargreaves who also serves on the Mission Local Immigration Partnership Council based at MCSS.

A complete listing of award recipients can be found at this Mission City Record LINK.  

MCSS is a supporting partner with Abbotsford Community Services Society, along with New Directions Vocational Testing and Counselling Serives and Chilliwack Community Services.  Representing MCSS on the organizing team is Local Immigration Partnership coordinator Rick Rake.  


Inclusiveness theme of settlement promotion

When the 2017 version of the Mission Visitor Guide hits the streets through the Mission City Record, the Mission Community Services Society New-to-Canada advertising will take on a new theme.

Rather than promoting the specific MCSS settlement and Local Immigration Partnership features of programming as MCSS has done in the last two years in the guide, the theme of inclusion will be highlighted in the community.

Text of this year’s advertising asks the question:  WHO ADDS TO THE CULTURAL, ECONOMIC HEALTH OF MISSION?

The response is: WE ALL DO, followed by the phrase: PARTNER WITH US TO GROW MISSION.

The advertisement also showcases the fact MCSS is celebrating its 45th year of providing various social services in the community.

The new advertisement can be seen at the right.  The older, 2016 version is below.  The Mission Visitor Guide is seen as value-added because it connects with not just the community, but newcomers, and has a shelf life of one year.




Crawford honoured with Chamber President’s Award

Cal Crawford, known as the kind of guy “every profession and community wants and needs because more selfless people like him are needed,” was awarded Friday with the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce President’s Award for exemplary service.

The special award is not pre-announced in the community, and is presented at the Chamber’s annual Business Excellence Awards at the Clarke Theatre.

A realtor for almost four decades, Crawford’s incredible service record in the community includes membership on the board of directors for Mission Community Services Society, North Fraser Community Futures, Mission Mid-Day Rotary Club and the Mission Chamber for which he served as president for many terms.

Crawford is recognized as a mentor and innovator who in 2010 was Mission Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year.  He also received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Why does he volunteer?  “I enjoy it,” he said.  My parents also gave of their time, and when I saw that I became a great believer in giving back.  It feels good.  I don’t do it for the recognition.”

Crawford encourages an environment of creating new possibilities by seeking new ways to change, grow and improve.  His philosophy of consensus-building is welcomed by the many organizations he serves on.  “He brings experience, trust and thoughtfulness to all that he does,” say his peers.

Former Fraser Valley Real Estate board president Scott Olson described Cal, who retired last year, this way: “He has dedicated himself to our profession elevating it to the highest level by displaying impeccable standards of business ethics and teaching those same standards to hundreds of colleagues over the years.”

Mission Community Services Society is proud to have Cal Crawford as a member of our board of directors.