Events have promoted ‘cultural connectedness’
Deb Bartlett

Celebrating and sharing the cultures that make up Canada is the purpose of posAbilities’ multicultural committee.

Sarina Ram co-chairs the eight-person committee, and says it hopes “to increase cultural sensitivity and make sure people are exposed to cultures and how beautiful they are, and what a great thing it is that we live in a country with so many cultures and so many things to offer.”

The committee started its cultural awareness three years ago at the organization’s annual picnic held for staff members, people served and families.

PosAbilities’ staff is very multicultural, says Sarina, and the committee helps celebrate the diversity internally.

The picnic has evolved to include performances, which she says are popular. People enjoy them “because it’s something different that they haven’t seen. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

This year’s picnic featured a Jamaican band, belly dancers and First Nations drummers.

To highlight the diversity of posAbilities, Sarina says staff are asked to put a sticker on a map of the world to show where they come from, “or where they culturally identify with.” The map, and flags, are set up at events organized by the committee.

Sarina says while there is a focus on Christmas in December, the committee wants to see other celebrations like Hanukkah, Eid and Kwanzaa in the spotlight too.

The committee hopes to start a new initiative next year that will celebrate diversity with the people served, says Sarina.

A cultural event will be discussed at day programs, and every three months, one day program will invite participants of residential programs to a presentation and celebration of the event.

Sarina says knowledge and celebration of cultural diversity will help staff enhance services to the people they serve.

Sharing culture explains “this is the world you live in . . . .  These are the people in your world,” she says.

She says there has been “a lot of cultural connectedness” from the events.

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