Community blogger Laura Mannix is a 2017 RADIUS Fellows alumnus and Manager of Refugee and Specialized Programs at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society.
The RADIUS Fellowship is Metro Vancouver’s preeminent professional development opportunity for top emerging social innovators from across the region. Applications for the 2018 Fellowship are open until 11:59pm on November 4th. To learn more about this opportunity, visit our Fellowship page or attend the Information Session on November 2nd.
My experience in the RADIUS Fellowship enabled a journey that was significant, providing many experiences and opportunities that were fundamentally life altering. Going in, I wasn’t entirely sure what RADIUS was, or if I could be considered an actual “change maker” but I wanted the opportunity to be provided with insight into possible theoretical approaches, other perspectives and practices necessary to fully engage in meaningful community development. The Fellowship program offered a curriculum to enhance my capacity to make more impactful actions while connecting me to mentors, friends and peers that would inspire, strengthen and motivate me to continue the work I was doing.
As a newcomer to Vancouver, I had struggled to meet like-minded people and to foster authentic and deep friendships. As a young professional without established relationships or a forum like university to meet new people, it was an isolating and disenfranchising experience. The Fellowship provided me an entry into a vibrant community of diverse perspectives, ideas and lived experiences, some of whom I am now fortunate to call some of my closest friends. These are people I can rely on to have deep, open and meaningful dialogue. They are folks who have opened up their hearts and homes to me.
As someone who is away from their family, this kind of community is invaluable, and for this alone I am truly grateful for this journey.
The network I developed through the program (the Fellows, the RADIUS team and the wonderful people I was able to meet as connections to RADIUS) have also contributed to the work I do in the community. I came into the program with a desire to build my personal leadership capacity, increase my knowledge and grow my network. Through participation in the program I was able to create partnerships to implement innovative refugee youth programming and recruit a key specialized advocate and facilitator to launch a pilot program for sexual and gender diverse newcomers.
I now feel immersed in a community and movement of people who are trying to create positive change and advance a more inclusive future in the Lower Mainland.
My exploration of the social innovation space continues. Thanks to the connection with RADIUS, I was given the opportunity to participate in the Social Innovation Certificate offered through SFU. I plan to continue collaborating with RADIUS and others in the network to help advance refugee and newcomer settlement and integration.
I am filled with gratitude to RADIUS for all of the opportunities and relationships that have emerged from the Fellowship program. Don’t miss your chance to participate if the Fellowship appeals to you! Application close this weekend.