What makes a community welcoming and inclusive? This was a question posed at a St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigrant Partnership community event hosted in the fall of 2016. An engaged group of immigrants, local residents, service providers, students, local elected officials, and business owners attended the event to discuss the current and future state of welcoming and inclusive communities in Leeds Grenville. A common theme emerged from these discussions – that to enhance the sense of belonging for residents of all backgrounds, local communities should be doing more to recognize and celebrate the diversity of individuals living in Leeds Grenville.

This suggestion spurred the St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership to launch the community-driven campaign ‘We Are Neighbours’. After a successful 2017 Campaign featuring 22 stories from across Leeds and Grenville, the Immigration Partnership has decided to continue the initiative into 2018.

For our 2018 campaign, we are aiming to create an anthology of stories about moving to, living, working or studying in Leeds and Grenville. Whether you have recently moved to Canada or Leeds and Grenville, or you have been here for years, we want to hear from you!

We will be sharing your stories on social media, this website, in local media and in a wrap-up project that will showcase the diversity of stories and individuals here in Leeds and Grenville. For those authors willing, and for others who wish to get involved and read stories from those not comfortable with public speaking, we’ll arrange readings of select stories in public events. All authors will be welcome and are encouraged to let us know if this is something they want to do.

In the end, we hope to have enough stories to create a book. Free copies would be given to all participants, as well as our community partners. We are looking for stories of all lengths to feature in our campaign. They should reflect your personal experiences. Remember to be honest! We want to hear about the good, bad, happy, and sad.

We’re looking for stories from the communities of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Brockville, Prescott, and Gananoque. We’re open to people of any age, status, and background.

The St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership is a coalition of organizations committed to building local capacity to attract, settle and integrate immigrants throughout Leeds Grenville. The Immigration Partnership also encourages organizations, individuals, and communities to recognize and welcome cultural diversity.

You can reach the We Are Neighbours campaign with your story, or for more information at: Lauren Smith, lauren@eecentre.com, or phone 613-498-2111 ext. 261.


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