Our organization has served newcomers to Campbell River and the North Island region as a charitable society since 1992.
We are proud of how we’ve expanded our services and capabilities over the years to meet the growing needs of immigrants in our community and to create spaces where newcomers feel safe, welcome, and respected.
How It All Started
Our organization began in 1992 as the Inter-Cultural Association of Campbell River when founders Naomi Wolfe, Heather Downing, and Susan Dobie decided to respond to needs expressed by newcomers, visible minorities, parents, and community services providers.
We started by offering English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at locations such as the Campbell River women’s centre and Sikh Temple, and hosted multicultural social gatherings.
One of our first major projects was a community inventory of languages – volunteers were recruited and trained, and interpreter services were offered to service providers on a volunteer basis.
Only a few years later, in 1995, a program coordinator and settlement worker was hired and the Multicultural & Immigrant Services Association (MISA) started to provide settlement services through a government contract.
To read a timeline of other significant events in our history, including the start of our social programs, Youth 4 Diversity, and the opening of our Courtenay location, please download our Annual Report.
Along the way, we have been honoured to be recognized for our work.
The Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award recognizes an AMSSA member for their excellence in programming and strengthening diversity in BC.
This award recognizes innovative programming, and is given in honour of Riasat Ali Khan, a leader in diversity and inclusion and a former AMSSA President.
Campbell River was recognized as a community winner of the provincial WelcomeBC Award. The award was accepted by MISA (IWC), North Island College, and the Campbell River Community Literacy Association for making the community more welcoming to newcomers.
Established in 2008, our organization was the first ever recipient of this award. We were recognized for Youth 4 Diversity (Y4D), a program that fostered empathy, diversity, and inclusive behaviors among students in the Campbell River school district.
A part of our history: The Walk Away From Racism
For 20 years, the Walk Away From Racism was a signature event of the Immigrant Welcome Centre.
The event started in 1997 in Campbell River as the Walk for the Elimination of Racism in honour of the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Sixty-eight people came to walk to the doors of town hall.
In partnership with the City of Campbell River, it grew to more than 350 participants by 2007 and in one year had almost 500 attendees and included guest speakers like the former Lieutenant Governor of B.C., Steven Point. Our final walk was held in 2016.