Vitannya! Welcome. My name is Sasha Kondrashov. I was born in Lviv, Ukraine, 8,333 km away from TRU or as Education and Social Work Dean Airini says it only takes 1,666 times to walk to Riverside Park from TRU to recognize the distance I have travelled to be here today.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Peoples, who today are a Nation made up of 17 bands.
I am a newcomer to Kamloops, but I have lived in Canada for more than ten years. Whether one is moving to a new side of town or moving across the country (or beyond), getting settled in a new city can always be a little nerve-racking. I have been blessed that when I originally moved from Ukraine to Winnipeg which is only 2000 km away from Kamloops, I had a Canadian family who answered questions I had about living in Winnipeg. Not everyone has such a blessing when moving to a new place to have someone who can share their knowledge with you on any aspect of life in Canada to meet one’s needs. In case anyone wonders how someone might know about the diversity of everyday human needs my Canadian mama is a social worker who worked in child welfare for more than 30 years. Social workers know a lot on how to meet human needs!
During Christmas break, I have created a new course and this winter we had the first group of students who took the Welcome to Kamloops: A free course at TRU. The course is open to anyone who wants to learn about Kamloops and its assets. In the course we found more than 400 helpful hyperlinks to resources that help course participants to meet their everyday needs. We have covered topics related to the History of the city, Housing, Banking, Shopping, Healthy Eating, Arts, Social Services, Education, Employment, Health Care, Recreation services and Tourism in Kamloops.
A resource guide that you currently reading is designed to help future course participants to meet their basic needs. With every offering of the course, the guide will be expanded and more topics added based on expressed needs of course participants. The joy of this applied research is in its immediate benefits to people. Everyone who is new to Kamloops or someone who might want to learn more about the city can review the guide and find something that interests them. In future, everyone will have an opportunity to add new hyperlinks to keep building the resource guide that can help people to learn about Kamloops and the wealth of resources it has to offer to its residents. Another benefit of this research is the ability to offer the course in other BC towns and cities outside of BC. The course can be delivered in any community and benefit New Canadians from Sea to Sea. The power of online education creates new opportunities to make information available and accessible to anyone. When people share local resources, new connections become possible. When people connect and learn from each other, the community becomes stronger. Tahir Shah the author of Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams wrote “Settling into a new country is getting used to a new pair of shoes. At first, they pinch a little, but you like the way they look, so you carry on. The longer you have them, the more comfortable they become.” I believe that if one knows how to find resources in the community to meet one’s needs it is like finding the shoemaker who can help you to locate the new pair of shoes that fits you well and once you find those shoes you will wear them proudly in your community. Welcome to Kamloops. Djakuju! Thank you.