Submitted by Muhamad on Jul, 25
Community Development Story in Thorncliffe Park
I immigrated from Dubai, where I was an IT professional. My immigration interview was waved because of my high status as an IT professional. My friends over here said I would gain lots of experience. In Dubai I worked for the world's largest property development company, Emar Properties, which built the world's tallest tower in Dubai. There were lots of ups and downs. I came to Canada in 2004 and started looking for work. I came with lots of money and thought I could buy a house and get a good job. I took a job as a Global Business Partner wiith IBM. Some of my IT friends from Dubai helped me form a partnership, and it took time to get results. After the partnership fell apart I worked for T-Mobile and Bell Canada, although it was on contract and nothing was permanent. I teach computer classes at the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office. It's very gratifying and exciting to teach and give people skills and opportunities. I help people to get jobs and train them in IT. I am also involved in the school council.
How is this object or story important to you?

I am inspired by Geoff Kettel, who is like a mentor. Always available to contribute to the community especially because it is a hub for immigrants. It is a transient community with a continuous flow of people. Workplace and at community level is very important. I help people and youth to reach their potential, especially new comers. It is important to communicate cultures, and respect each other. Sometimes conflicts at home, because of lack of work, can lead to domestic issues and kids leaving the home young. Important to help people to avoid this.

What does it add to the story of Toronto?

I help Toronto build as a city and Thorncliffe as a community. It's important to look at the community as a whole. Partnership with the school and community. Rabita - means connection in many middle eastern language. To help people discuss their family lives. CPLC Community Police Liason Commitee funds the program (53 division). Program involves open discussion. Shows movies and hosts dinners. Movie on related subject followed by an open discussion about the topic and how they relate to the characters in the movies. Subject matter experts were invited (social workers, psychologists, police officers). They give lectures and opinion and answer to community members for free for the sake of community. Some of the themes were family relations (domestic violence), opinions (e.g. why did you come to Canada?), youth (away from parents, more likely to speak), and respecting our seniors (issues for seniors, elder abuse). After the program domestic issues went down and senior abuse report went up. Nominated for Mayors Community Safety Away in 2012, big ceremony in City Hall. Guest speaker on the concept of community partners at the annual police conference so other communities can replicate the program. Successful in creating awareness. Best CPAT Crime Prevention Awareness Toronto. Think globally act locally is his motto.