Updated: Jul 7, 2022
The month of June 2022 was filled with tons of events and celebrations, including (but not limited to) the Indigenous and Pride celebrations. Our Unique Get Together Society (UGTS) team celebrated these important causes, but also participated in a two-day staff training (June 9th and 10th) with Chief Darrell Bob at the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA)’s headquarters in Surrey, B.C. FRAFCA’s mission is “to support the activities that promote the health and well-being of Aboriginal People and to promote the resurgence of resident Aboriginal culture, language, and teachings, particularly those of local residency”. This was in line with June 21st, Canada’s Indigenous Peoples Day.
Some of our Tribe members also had the opportunity to attend a Sweat Lodge hosted by Lodge Keeper, John Delorme, on June 23rd, which turned out to be a unique experience for those who have never tried it before! So what is a sweat lodge about? The Canadian Encyclopedia (2021) defines it as follows:
A heated dome-shaped structure used by Indigenous peoples during certain purification rites and as a way to promote healthy living. The intense heat generated — often by steam created from pouring water onto heated rocks — is meant to encourage a sweating out of toxins and negative energy that create disorder and imbalance in life. In this way, the sweat lodge ceremony cleanses the body, mind and soul.
The definition also adds that it is “a sacred place, likened to the womb of Mother Earth”. The below graphic shows how much fun our UGTS team had during this event:
It is important for UGTS staff and management to continuously get trained and grow their skills, as it contributes to becoming more empathetic, open-minded, and understanding. Cultural awareness is about our ability to connect with and care for others, regardless of their differences. Not everyone had the chance (or curiosity) to learn and interact with different cultures.
Training and development (T&D) programs like these abovementioned ones are regular at Unique Get Together Society. They matter because they promote sharing, compassion, and inclusivity among our team, but also towards UGTS’ stakeholders through our various programs and events. If you are interested in continuing education and learning, here are current trainings intended for both UGTS employees and clients:
- Early Childhood Education (ECE) program in partnership with CDI College - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Financial Litteracy - email@example.com
- Seniors Digital Literacy program (for 50+ years old) - call 236-317-3153
So if you are interested or know someone who is, reach out to us or share the info!
One of UGTS' awesome programs that were recently launched is the Warrior Program for 6 to 18 years old young males, initiated by Dr. Ricardo Manhmohan. You can visit our website for the list of other programs offered at UGTS: https://www.uniquegettogethersociety.com/programs.
And since it is the holiday season, registrations are now open for Summer Camps in Chilliwack, Vancouver, and a Cultural Camp in Kamloops. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your kids or for any inquiries.
Diversity and inclusion are challenges that are crucial to effectively manage in contemporary organizations. According to an article from the Canadian Immigrant, “diversity in the workplace refers to having and welcoming people from different cultures, genders, sexualities, disabilities and ethnicities, and voices. In short, it means having a heterogeneous workforce of distinctive perspectives and experiences that’s reflective of the society in which an organization operates in”. In June, we also celebrated Multiculturalism Day, a day that reminds us that we, as individuals, need to foster equity, diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect in our everyday lives and careers.
In 2021, a survey conducted by Abacus Data (Kishchuk, 2021) found that:
“Half of working Canadians (54%) have observed instances of discrimination towards other employees. This includes less than equal treatment based on their race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, or anything other than their skill.”
Furthermore, the same source reported a very sad reality to hear or witness in this beautiful country:
“Close to half of working Canadians (45%) say that they’ve experienced discrimination themselves."
Many people think they are open-minded and tolerant enough, but they end up judging or discriminating, sometimes without even being aware of it. Ignorance and complacency should be combatted, and it is our personal responsibility to educate ourselves. Continuous learning and growth can help prevent issues: these can be done through formal education, trainings like the ones we talked about, workshops, experiences (travels, cultural encounters), readings, watching documentaries, but more importantly, through real conversations with real people. You need to ask questions, be curious, and learn as much as you can about others and our world. For instance, Roda Wasarme, UGTS' Social Media Coordinator and Web Developer, had a very inspiring and educational interview with Grand Chief Wilton (Willie) Littlechild. These authentic conversations create awareness around diversity and inclusion. If you missed the interview, no panic! Just click here.
We have now entered the month of July with sunny days across Canada along with hope, positivity, and daily new opportunities to make a difference in our community. Mindfulness is key in this process. A reminder that this month of July marks "Eid al-Adha", a significant annual Islamic observance for many Muslims in Canada.
Let's celebrate together our diverse and beautiful Canadian society! Despite all the challenges that will probably come post-Covid 19, we need to stand in unity, resilience, and strength to support each other in this journey called life.
This is what UGTS’ core values, mission, and vision are all about.
To conclude, we will cite anti-apartheid activist and first elected Black president in South Africa, Nelson Mandela:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Finally, did we tell you that we created a UGTS Newsletter this summer 2022? This was originally initiated by Domoina Ranjatoelina, UGTS' Marketing and Brand Strategist. The UGTS Marketing team will now be collaboratively working and expecting valuable inputs from the entire UGTS Tribe to contribute to the newsletter monthly releases.
These efforts will foster communication, sharing, education, and inclusion both inside and outside UGTS, so that every voice can be heard.
Thank you to the UGTS Marketing team's for the ongoing support and creative collaboration:
- Christine Li-Leger, Marketing Manager
- Domoina Ranjatoelina, Marketing & Brand Strategist
- Roda Wasarme, Social Media Coordinator & Web Developer
- Preksha Goenda, Marketing Ambassador
Also, a big thank you to Debra Abraham, Founder of Unique Get Together Society, and the entire UGTS Tribe for the daily hard work we need to acknowledge.
If you are tech-savvy, you can just use this QR code below:
Our website is www.ugts.ca if you want to reach us for any questions, partnerships, volunteering requests, or donations. Meanwhile, have a wonderful yet safe summer 2022, and stay tuned!
Blogpost content: Domoina Ranjatoelina
Graphics: Christine Li-Leger, Roda Wasarme, Domoina Ranjatoelina
Kishchuk, O. (2021). Abacus Data. https://abacusdata.ca/workplace-diversity-inclusion-canada/
The Canadian Encyclopedia (2022). Sweat Lodge. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sweat-lodge#:~:text=What's%20A%20Sweat%20Lodge%3F,way%20to%20promote%20healthy%20living.