This year, on Monday, December 10, Chandrika Patel, Manager of YMCA Newcomer Services, was awarded this prestigious honour.
"Receiving this award is like winning a million dollar lottery," said Patel, who accepted her medal in front of family, friends, coworkers, clients and community partners. "Twenty years ago when I came to Sarnia, there were very few supports for immigrants."
Since that time, however, and thanks in large part to Patel's work as Manager, many federal and provincial programs have become available, all of which have had a positive impact on the community.
"I stand before you as a model of a successful immigrant, who overcame barriers to be where I am today." She encouraged immigrants and newcomers in the community to take advantage of these programs in order to reach the same level of success. She left the audience with a quote from Abraham Lincoln: 'I do the very best I know how, the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.'
CEO & President Jim Janzen and VP Financial Development & Community Programs Mike Walters were on hand to present the medal to Patel. Both shared their pleasure in being able to honour a fellow YMCA staff member and the value that she has brought to their organization and the community as a whole.