On February 19th, at STELIP’s annual Moving Forward event, we announced the recipients of St. Thomas-Elgin’s first-ever Newcomer Champion Awards! These recipients were nominated by members of the St. Thomas-Elgin community for their many contributions to making St. Thomas-Elgin a welcomingcaring, and inclusive community!


Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion (Individual & Group)

The Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion award recognizes a commitment to go above and beyond and support newcomers by:

  • Working with the community to address the needs of newcomers by recognizing and responding to the diverse local needs
  • Developing an understanding of our local cultural diversity
  • Working to  strengthen the community by working with others to build positive changes
  • Volunteering to support diversity and newcomers and are advocating for social and civic inclusion
  • Delivering services that provide the groundwork for newcomers to be socially and economically connected to their communities


Joyce2Individual Recipient: Joyce Jeffreys

Joyce Jeffreys has touched the lives of many newcomers. Her nomination came with two letters of support. Some of the acts that live on in the hearts of the nominators include:

  • Coaching during free time to prepare for citizenship tests
  • Providing transportation
  • Providing comfort by spending time when times were difficult
  • Visiting in the hospital when they were ill

We congratulate Joyce for going beyond the confines of her job and supporting the nominators as well as the many other lives she has become a part of.


Group Recipient: Mennonite Community Services (represented by Abe Harms)Abe2

Mennonite Community Services is an agency that is always finding ways to meet the needs of their clients.  Some of the notable achievements include:

  • Responding to needs of literacy by providing alternative means to access language supports and working collaboratively with other agencies to form a program for women and their children
  • Helping the community understand the needs of their clients by establishing a networking event
  • Supporting the community by working on local tourism and awareness campaigns
  • …And so much more!

Newcomer Leader Award

This award acknowledges a newcomer who is helping to build a Welcoming, Caring, and Inclusive community by giving back to the community in some capacity. This winner is:

  • Committed to making a difference by creating welcoming communities
  • Giving back to the community in a positive and progressive way
  • Working with the community to strengthen and build positive changes

Lady-2Recipient: Lady Luisa Escover Stevens

Lady has shown a deep commitment to helping build a respectful and inclusive environment for other newcomers and to making a meaningful contribution to her community in support of diversity. Some specific activities include:

  • Working to raise awareness of cultural diversity in our area
  • Organizing Newcomer Networking Circles that provide individuals with community-based info as well as space for conversation and networking
  • Supporting English language learning with a summer English Language Club
  • Volunteering at the local food centre by leading food seminars

A big congratulations to all our winners! Thank you for your efforts to make our community welcoming, caring, and inclusive!