The K-W Multicultural Centre exists to foster the diversity which exists in this community and to facilitate the full participation of everyone who lives here.
Our mandate is to break down the barriers to full participation of new Canadians in the Kitchener-Waterloo Community and surrounding areas.
We Strive To:
- Assist our clients with their specific needs;
- Work with all new Canadians to help them become full participants in the community;
- Collaborate with other agencies who can provide additional assistance to our clients;
- Be a safe place where individuals can express concerns and ask questions;
- Understand, strengthen and celebrate multiculturalism and;
- Work within our community to eliminate racial discrimination and all other forms of exclusion and oppression.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre (KWMC) began as the K-W Folk Arts Council in 1967, having the mandate to support and assist the ethno-cultural and newcomer community in Kitchener-Waterloo through a broad range of programs and services. The Council morphed into the KWMC where 95 percent of our resources go directly into settlement services.
Our Centre assists ethno-cultural groups in our community to organize and undertake cultural activities, including the annual K-W Multicultural Festival which is now entrenched in the Region as an unofficial kickoff to the summer festival season. It was the K-W Folk Arts Council that wanted to create something special to wish Canada a Happy One Hundredth Birthday. A float was made for the city's Centennial Parade and what was to become the festival's trademark began: great food, dancing and unique international artifacts for the general public to purchase.
We have provided settlement services for newcomers for over 45 years. Our Language Interpreter Department has offered interpretation and translation services in a multitude of languages since 1985. The One on One Tutoring Program, geared to help newcomers learn and practice English as a Second Language has been offered since 1967 and the Doctors Group has been available to support Internationally Experienced and Trained Doctors through seminars and training workshops as well as study groups for the licensing exam since 1998. The Job Search Workshop Program has been available to assist newcomers to find employment since 1998. In 2009 we expanded our Employment Services to include in-depth career counseling and the Employment Placement Program to assist Ontario Works recipients to find meaningful employment.
Our services are funded by various sources such as the Federal Government, Provincial Government, the K-W Community Foundation, the Trillium Foundation and the United Way. All of the services of Centre are offered at no cost to eligible clients.
The operation of the Centre is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors elected from/by the general membership that consists of approximately 40 ethno-cultural associations, community organizations and individuals.