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Message from the Board Chair

Assalamalikum/Peace be with you,

On May 6, 2017, we marked our tenth anniversary with a celebration at the Family Centre. The evening was full of learning and fun. Prof. Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP Ottawa Vanier, was the recipient of the inaugural MSS Truth and Justice award for her work on the anti-Islamophobia motion at Queen’s Park. Other community leaders, volunteers, and partners were also recognized at the event. This fundraising event was attended by over two hundred people and supported by many well wishers, donors, partners, and friends. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to all. The event would not have been possible without the amazing volunteers who invested tens of hours in attending to every little detail. We look forward to making the MSS dinner gala an annual time to gather with our friends and supporters.

During Ramadan, the month of giving, MSS was busy with distribution of social assistance to the families in need, all identified by our partner agencies. This year close to a hundred  families received assistance. Thanks to all who contributed to the Ramadan Drive 2017.

There are several ongoing programs and other new one’s in the making. You will read about some of them below.

We welcome a few new Board members. Mr. Mahmud Shiblee, Mr. Mohammed Raas Siddiqui and Mrs. Malika Ismaili. We also welcome a new staff member. Ms. Sara Algabry, our counsellor, and our summer students Ms. Rida Masood and Ms. Emin Nawaz. As we near the end of our current strategic planning cycle, the Board and staff have embarked on a new strategic planning process. We are assessing our priorities, identifying key areas of our work, and implementing a new organizational plan. We are fortunate to have a lot of research and data that is helping guide this process.

As always, none of what we do is possible without your support and encouragement. We welcome your involvement in giving back to your community. We also welcome your feedback and ideas for our work. Our Annual report is available online as is a presentation on MSS's impact over its ten year history.
 
 
Idrisa Pandit, Board Chair, Muslim Social Services Kitchener-Waterloo

What has been happening at MSS?

Over here at MSS, we have been very busy these past few months! We have worked to offer a variety of great programs for both youth and adults. Our Healthy Families Workshops were aimed at helping Syrian refugee families settle into life in Canada. The workshops addressed issues such as physical and mental health, safer families, and domestic violence. This workshop series was immensely successful as approximately 300 people attended. Our Run and Fun After School program engaged school-aged children in fun activities and encouraged them to foster a desire for reading. This was a drop-in program, and children who attended enjoyed participating in games and reading activities. MSS was also involved in serving the annual community outreach meal at St. John's Soup Kitchen. MSS volunteers and staff cooked and served over 500 halal meals to the homeless. Through our Ramadan drive this year, we raised over $5000 and provided 100 families with food vouchers.

The MSS office is open Monday - Friday, from 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. However, my weekly hours vary, and I'm in and out of the office. If you would like to meet with me, you can make an appointment through phone or email. We welcome your support for the organization. Please consider donating or volunteering with MSS and helping us serve the community. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. 
 
 
Dr. Iman Arab, Coordinator, Muslim Social Services Kitchener-Waterloo

Introducing Our New Full-Time Staff Member

Sara Elgabry will be joining our team, starting July 2017. She holds a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. Sara will be involved in planning and execution of MSS programming.
 

Sara Elgabry, Staff, Muslim Social Services Kitchener-Waterloo
Upcoming Programs:

Healing through Art program: allows children to express and share their lived experiences in a creative way. For more information, please check the website

Welcome to Canada: youth programming series engages young people as volunteers and provides them with an opportunity to build workshop design and facilitation skills. For more information, please check the website

University 101 workshop: provides newcomers and refugees with a chance to learn more about post-secondary education in Canada. 

For current and upcoming programs, please check our website.

Celebrating Ten Years of Serving Our Community

This year Muslim Social Services Kitchener Waterloo is celebrating 10 years of serving our community. Over the past decade, MSS has aimed to provide a wide variety of support and services. Our assistance programs include language courses and translation services, employment and education assistance, and youth engagement opportunities. MSS has been integral in building bridges between individuals/families and mainstream organizations. Our programs have helped newcomers learn about life in Canada, as they settle into their new environment. MSS has also created a welcoming space for belonging and identity formation by providing the community with spiritually and culturally sensitive services. This includes our multi-lingual counselling service, which is available free of charge to those individuals who require it. MSS helps provide intercultural competency training by offering ongoing workshops to mainstream organizations. Through this training we hope the larger community has the proper tools to better serve an increasingly diverse community. MSS is also involved in interfaith bridge-building. We aim to work together with a number of other faith-based groups and congregations to serve the community.

We want to take this opportunity to thank our staff, volunteers, partner organizations, and the Kitchener-Waterloo community for their continued support. We look forward to continuing our work and helping serve our community in the years to come.

You can read more about the impact MSS has had in the past ten years: here.   
Celebrating our Partners and Supporters
MSS Truth and Justice Award Recipient:
Honorable MPP Prof. Nathalie Des Rosiers
MSS Interfaith Leadership Award Recipient: 
Rev. Dr. Brice Balmer, Interfaith Grand River
Excellence in Volunteerism Awards:
Humera Javed, Abbas Hyder, Khalid Khokhar, Rosina Kharal
Community Partner Awards:
St. John's Kitchen at the Working Centre and Family & Children's Services of the Waterloo Region
Organizational Mentorship Award:
Cathy Brothers, Capacity Canada
MSS University Partner Award Recipient:
Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Community Service Learning
The Muslim Social Services Kitchener Waterloo recognized Wilfrid Laurier University’s Community Service Learning (CSL) with a University Partner Award during our tenth anniversary celebration. MSS and CSL share a vision: we are committed to providing students with opportunities that allow them to engage with their community in a meaningful way. MSS has had a mutually beneficial relationship with students who have come to work for us. We benefit from their innovative ideas and fresh energy, while they gain valuable knowledge and experience they can employ later on in their lives. Read more about our work with students of Wilfred Laurier here.    
 

Spike in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes

According to CBC news, the Conservative rhetoric during the 2015 federal election has had some dire consequences for the Canadian Muslim community. Statistics Canada determined that the number of police-reported hate crimes against Muslims jumped by 60% in 2015, when compared with the previous year. New data shows that in 2015 there were 159 anti-Muslim hate crimes reported to the police, while in 2014 there were 99. These numbers do not include hate crimes that go unreported, therefore, the actual number could be much higher. The National Council of Canadian Muslims has tracked and compiled a map of the location and details of anti-Muslim incidents reported across Canada. This list can be found here.

They have also put forth a Charter of Inclusive Communities, to address this spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes. We encourage our supporters to use the link provided above to endorse this charter. Alternatively, you can use this link to report any hate crime incident you observe or experience. By reporting incidents of hate and bigotry, we can raise awareness and help make our community safer.

MSS continues to work to end hate in our community and to build bridges with all those who care to build a safe, welcoming and inclusive community, where each person's dignity is upheld. 

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The Family Centre Hub,
65 Hanson Avenue, Kitchener, Ontario, N2C 2H6
Phone: 
519-772-4399 x 2707
Email:
info@muslimsocialserviceskw.org

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Muslim Social Services KW · 65 Hanson Avenue, Kitchener, ON, Canada · Kitchener, ON N2C 2H6 · Canada

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