The Mennonite New Life Centre is a community based settlement agency, offering a broad range of programs and services for newcomers to Canada. It is a place of welcome, friendship and community, where newcomers and neighbours gather to support each other, learn from each other, and take action together for a more just and compassionate society. The Mennonite New Life Centre envisions a society in which all people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds participate fully in all aspects of Canadian life. They model an approach that brings together community engagement and community services, working together with newcomers to reduce insecurity and reach integration, strengthen voices and increase social equality.
As programs grow and diversify, The Mennonite New Life Centre wants to stay focused on the long term goal of full integration for newcomers They design new programs and community partnerships in such a way as to facilitate full participation of newcomers in all aspects of community life. They are committed to using participatory processes to ask newcomers how successful the organization is in making a difference.
It achieves this by engaging people and communities to work together to take action. An example of this is their Community Engagement Initiative identified in their 2010-2012 Strategic Planning. This program focuses on building civic participation. The Mennonite New Life Centre has made community engagement one of its organizational priorities. One key activity has been convening the Latin American Campaign for Civic Participation, which brings together 16 organizations.
Full integration happens when newcomers participate in shaping their environment, rather than being simply shaped by it. This initiative will use community engagement strategies to involve newcomers in shaping programs and formulating public policy recommendations. It will also work to engage community partners and the broader public.
Building Blocks leaders Adriana Salazar and Sadia Khan have created an intensive training program to deliver civic literacy training, focused on the Latin American community, at their Keele and Wilson location.