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International Women’s Day Donation announcement

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DIVERSEcity makes donation to Nisa Helpline for International Women’s Day; PCRS matches it!

March 8, 2021, Surrey, British Columbia – Today, on International Women’s Day (March 8), DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society is proud to announce it has continued its annual tradition of making a donation to a women’s empowerment organization.

At an International Women’s Day Event on Friday, March 5, 2021, DIVERSEcity Chief Executive Officer Neelam Sahota, announced a $500 donation to Nisa Helpline. This is the fifth annual donation DIVERSEcity has made for International Women’s Day. Past recipients include Surrey Women’s Centre, Jeremy’s Memorial Foundation, West Coast Leaf and Shakti Society.

“We’ve been honouring a women’s empowerment organization at DIVERSEcity for the past five years with an annual donation — a tradition that came from cultivating a culture of abundance and paying it forward.

Reaching a point where you can create platforms for others is a critical component of women’s equality and fostering transformative change,” said Neelam Sahota, Chief Executive Officer, DIVERSEcity, a community services organization serving immigrants and refugees in Surrey, BC, for 42 years.

“This year, we are very honoured to donate to Nisa Helpline. We stand in solidarity with Nisa Helpline and believe that a healthy community is one that puts women’s mental and spiritual health at the forefront.”

Nisa Helpline is a confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental helpline that provides free peer-to-peer counselling to Muslim women across North America. Their toll-free number, 1-866-315 NISA (1-866-315-6472), is accessible anywhere in North America, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more at nisahelpline.com.

“On behalf of the Nisa Helpline team, we would like to share a heartfelt thank you to the DIVERSEcity organization for the thoughtful and generous donation. It’s because of organizations like yours going the extra mile and supporting the importance of essential services like Nisa Helpline that motivates the team to continue this valuable work,” said Surrey, BC-based Tanweer Ebrahim, Executive Director, Nisa Helpline.

“Nisa Helpline provides peer-to-peer counselling and referral services to vulnerable women in our community. This March, we mark seven years of service, during which we have been able to answer more than 30,000 calls from women needing support and counselling in immediate situations.

And during the time of this pandemic, we have been a frontline service in assisting women with and providing referrals to counselling. With this support we will continue to empower women to overcome the barriers they face and bringing a bright light to many lives around us.”

In a surprise and welcome announcement, Debbie Anderson Eng, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Community Resources Society, announced that PCRS will match DIVERSEcity’s donation, for a total of $1,000.

“In recognition of International Women’s Day, Pacific Community Resources Society is pleased to match DIVERSEcity’s donation to Nisa Helpline,” said Debbie Anderson Eng. “We support their wonderful work in helping Muslim women get the support and services they need to thrive in our communities.”

Tanweer added: “We are truly humbled to receive the matching donation from Pacific Community Resources Society and to see the inspiring example that DIVERSEcity is setting.”

In addition to the donation announcement, the event on Friday, attended by 110+ people, also featured a panel presentation on the topic of Women in Leadership. Panellists included MLA Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives; Marlyn Graziano, Vice President, External Affairs, KPU; Shahnaz Rahman, Executive Director, Surrey Women’s Centre; Ritu Khanna, Executive Director, South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce; and DIVERSEcity’s Neelam Sahota.

About DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

At DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, we empower newcomers and other diverse communities to build the life they want in Canada. Our free, multilingual programs and services in language, settlement, employment and counselling provide them with a foundation of information, skills and connections to achieve their goals.

Our social enterprises — DIVERSEcity Interpretation and Translation Services, Skills Training Centre and Language Testing Centre — support this work, too. As a registered charity in Surrey and the Lower Mainland with a 40+ year history, we champion diversity and inclusion for all, and our message is clear — everyone belongs here. Learn more at dcrs.ca.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Isabelle Martinez Hayer

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Isabelle Martinez Hayer, Mortgage Broker with Dominion Lending Centres.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? 

My passion in life is service to the community. A daughter of immigrant parents who struggled to raise a family during difficult times, I raised children to be engaged in community service, to be proud of being Canadian, and be guided through the principles of honesty, integrity, goodwill, understanding, and service to others. In 1989 I joined Rotary International and was among the first women to be inducted into the Canadian arm of the organization. I also volunteered on many boards including the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, Surrey Board of Trade, the Bell Performing Arts Centre and TD Friends of the Environment.

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? 

I am a Mortgage Broker with Dominion Lending Centres. I have also been involved as the president of the A Better Way and Rotary Club of Surrey.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? 

I am profoundly proud and appreciative, with the support of my spouse, to have had the privilege of raising 4 brilliant and accomplished children who have made positive impacts in their world and family. As a servant leader, I have also had many wonderful opportunities to engage and support meaningful organizations in our community, accomplishing great things to help uplift our society. Lastly, as a mature student, I have recently completed my Master’s degree at Royal Roads University and hope that this accomplishment will inspire others to reflect that you are never too old to learn and improve.

 Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? 

I support sustainable housing initiatives that help promote individual resiliency and I believe that through addressing housing insecurity, the community will benefit by uplifting residents, enabling them to tackle other important issues like raising their families, being more engaged in society and supporting the betterment of all.

What are your social media handles? 

Twitter

Facebook

What is your web address?

Surrey Rotary Club

 

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Shelly Howard

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Shelly Howard, Partner development manager in the technology sector. 

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? 

My name is Shelly Howard. As someone who has always been interested in the power of innovation, I have spent my entire career working with some of the leading IT companies in North America. I have helped many customers and partners leverage technology to drive new and improved business outcomes in my sales and market development capacity.

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? 

I am a Business Development Manager in the Technology Sector. 

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

My greatest achievement is producing two amazing human beings. Both my children are now off away at university figuring out their path and creating their own life adventure.

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? 

When I first learned about Options Community Services, I was amazed at how many services the organization provided the Delta, Surrey and the Langley community.  I am passionate about helping children who are ageing out of government care and was inspired by the number of programs that Options have helped these kids transition out of care.  Finding affordable housing is one important step and currently it is difficult to come by in the Delta, Surrey, and Langley area.  This is why this affordable housing project is so incredibly important.  It addresses a huge gap in our community.

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Linda Hepner

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Linda Hepner, former mayor of Surrey.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are and your background? *

My name is Linda Hepner. Now retired after a full career of representing Surrey as a manager with the city, a three-term city councillor and finally as the mayor, I am passionate about looking for ways to help and improve the lives of the people of Surrey. 

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with?

I am the former mayor of Surrey, BC.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

Honorary Firefighter recognized for decades of support; Chair of city’s 2010 Olympic celebrations that resulted in Award for most family-focussed city; individual housing plan that saw long-standing 135A tent city dismantled and all occupants housed over 72 hours.  

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? 

There are many families in Surrey living at or below the poverty line and there’s a great need for affordable housing. There are more children in Surrey than anywhere else in the province, and many vulnerable families—particularly new immigrants—who require the services Options provides more critically.

 

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Luisa Hough

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Luisa Hough, Mortgage Professional, and Partner at Verico Xeva Mortgage.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? 

My name is Luisa Hough, Since 2004, I  have worked as a Mortgage Professional, helping people with their mortgages and getting them into their homes as well as working with them on their financial goals. I am the co-founder of Xeva Mortgage where our focus is to inspire, lead, guide and achieve and make a positive impact on people’s lives.

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? 

I am a Mortage Professional and Partner at Verico Xeva Mortgage.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

I  have two big achievements in life that I am most proud of – first and foremost my family – my daughter who just finished her first year at University in Arizona and her personal achievement and commitment to school and sports is something I am most proud of. My Son whose sole focus is school and hockey with great ambitions of becoming an Orthodontist. My second most prideful achievement is what I have accomplished in my business – I never thought that 17 years ago I would be where I am today with my business. My dedication, commitment, values, and relationships I have built over the years has led me to helping hundreds of families achieve their financial goals and purchase their dream homes.  

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? *

As a young woman, I faced some challenges along with adversity and it’s important for me to support other women who need help as well. There’s no comparison for what these women are going through or have gone through and being part of a good organization that helps and provides people with the tools to move past their circumstances and thrive in their lives. Affordable housing is a necessity and it promotes diversity, creates jobs, builds communities and provides people with stability.

What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

Facebook

What is your web address?

www.xeva.ca

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Rebecca Darnell

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Rebecca Darnell, Lawyer at DLG Darnell Law Group.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? *

My name is Rebecca Darnell. Before attending law school, I honed my skills in banking, as a court recorder/transcriber, and as a freelance paralegal at several law firms. This exposed me to a wide variety of practice areas including complex commercial litigation, corporate, commercial, family law, personal injury, estates, and real estate transactions. Immediately on being called to the bar, I set out to chart my own course. Recognizing a need for experienced family lawyers in the Fraser Valley community, I opened my own law firm and was able to draw upon my extensive background and training. I am certified by the Law Society of BC as a Family Mediator and Arbitrator and am committed to alternative dispute resolution.

 What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? *

I am a lawyer at DLG Darnell Law Group.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? *

The relationships that I have built over the last 25 years with clients and the community. I am proud of being able to assist those in extraordinary experiences. 

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? *

I watched my mother die in poverty and recognize the need for affordable housing in the community. In addition, my work in family law has shown me how many women are trapped in unhealthy or abusive relationships because they don’t have the economic means to leave. Having a home validates you and makes you feel like you belong. I believe when you belong in a community then you’re better able to succeed. And when you’re successful the community is also successful.

 What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

What is your web address?

https://dlglangley.com/

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