On Wednesday, May 23rd, the St.Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership held their 3rd annual Newcomer Champion Awards to recognize the great work being done to make St. Thomas and Elgin County more welcoming, caring and inclusive. The ceremony, held at the Streamliners Espresso Bar in St. Thomas, granted three awards: the first award for ‘Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion’ was given out twice–once to a local group or organization and then again to an individual–who in both cases are working to address the diverse needs of newcomers. This year’s winners were the Central Community Health Centre for their work with isolated Mennonite and Amish communities, and local resident San Sok for his volunteer work and leadership within the Cambodian community since his own immigration as a refugee in 1983.

The third award for a ‘Newcomer Community Leader’ recognizes a newcomer who has worked to strengthen and give back to their own community. This year’s winner was Streamliners and Las Chicas Del Cafe co-founder Maria Fiallos: since her arrival in St. Thomas, Maria’s coffee-ambitions have produced jobs for local residents, a community hub for free live music, and she actively participates in and supports all community events and initiatives throughout the year.


STELIP wishes to congratulate all of this year’s winners for their exceptional effort building Welcoming, Caring and Inclusive Communities!