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Archway Stories

Every year, thousands of people walk through our doors seeking support and resources. Here are a few stories of how we’ve played a role in assisting members of our community as they forge a path forward.

Abby Dads: 10 Years of Supporting Fathers in Active Parenting

Abby Dads: 10 Years of Supporting Fathers in Active Parenting

Reg Unrau has been with Abby Dads for nearly 10 years; joining in the ‘early days’ of the program which supports local fathers as they endeavour towards healthier relationships with their families.  The program was initially a part of the New Beginnings Young Parent...

STRIDE: Stepping into a New Program During a Global Pandemic

STRIDE: Stepping into a New Program During a Global Pandemic

Skills Training Results in Directed Education / Employment (STRIDE) is one of Archway’s newest programs and it’s had an excellent and eventful first year thanks to the dedication of supervisor, Frank Amadasun, and his team. Starting a new initiative is never simple,...

LINC: A Celebration of Learning Online and Overcoming Obstacles

LINC: A Celebration of Learning Online and Overcoming Obstacles

Spring break; a chance to relax, have fun, spend time with friends and family. But this year, while many were beginning to enjoy spring break, the COVID-19 pandemic was evolving rapidly. This left employers, families and organizations scrambling. Our Archway Language...

Career Paths Helps Mansi Fulfill Graphic Design Dream

Career Paths Helps Mansi Fulfill Graphic Design Dream

Recently, Career Paths participant Mansi shared great news with Program Coordinator Mary Finch - she got a great job at local design company Circle Graphics! Mansi shared:    "I came to Canada in January and felt lonely and isolated. I left a great career as a graphic...

Discovery Staff ‘Parade’ for Participants

Discovery Staff ‘Parade’ for Participants

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activities for our Discovery program have been temporarily suspended. Discovery staff were missing the program participants, so they organized a socially-distant 'parade' through their neighbourhoods to say hello. Click the photo below to...

Supporting Victims of Abuse

Supporting Victims of Abuse

In 1987, Debbie Davidson recognized a need in our community. She was working with the Red Cross Child Abuse Prevention program, visiting local schools to educate students and teachers about childhood sexual abuse – a tough yet very important topic.  Part of her...

Meet Runjan: Archway Recruitment & Engagement Specialist

Meet Runjan: Archway Recruitment & Engagement Specialist

Recently, Runjan in our Human Resources Department shared her experiences of being a newcomer looking to further her career in Canada, and working at Archway.  Curious to know more about employment at Archway? Join us and meet Runjan at our Recruitment Fair on Monday,...

Banking on a New Life in Canada: Gurdas’ Story

Banking on a New Life in Canada: Gurdas’ Story

Moving is challenging. Whether you’re packing up and transitioning across town or across the province, it’s exhausting, stressful and takes time to settle in. Those stresses are magnified when you move to a new country, but people like Gurdas do so well they make it...

Darlene’s Story: Love and Boundaries

Darlene’s Story: Love and Boundaries

From Recovery to Role Model Darlene has overcome her fair share of challenges. In 1989 she successfully completed a five-month addictions treatment program at Peardonville House; with her own life progressing positively, she was ready to help others.  While in...

Program Helps Skilled Immigrants Find Related Employment

Program Helps Skilled Immigrants Find Related Employment

The Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program at Archway helps newcomers find related employment to their former careers. It’s designed to break the stereotype of doctors driving taxis and provides newcomers with one-to-one support, financial assistance and training...

A Journey Through the History of Recycling

A Journey Through the History of Recycling

This year, Archway Community Services celebrates 50 years of ‘people helping people.’ Did you know our Recycling Program has been around almost as long? The Abbotsford Mission Recycling Program started 49 years ago, and what was initially a grassroots initiative has...

Overcoming Addiction and Homelessness

Overcoming Addiction and Homelessness

Kal’s Journey from Food Bank Client to Volunteer “I abused drugs for years,” Kal starts, getting right to some of the toughest parts of his story. Back in the 90s, what started as serious partying turned darker, to the abuse of marijuana, LSD and more. One night...

Keeping Busy and Being Helpful at Discovery: Betty Lou’s Story

Keeping Busy and Being Helpful at Discovery: Betty Lou’s Story

Betty Lou has been coming to Discovery for over 33 years. Her cheerful smile is contagious, especially as she shares what she likes most about attending; arts and crafts, knitting, outings with friends and physical activities like bowling and...

Fun and Friendship at Discovery: Donna’s Story

Fun and Friendship at Discovery: Donna’s Story

Donna has been attending the Discovery program for so long she’s lost track; staff estimate around 15 to 20 years. The activities and friendship that Discovery provides round out Donna’s week. She also enjoys time with family who live in Vancouver,...

Creative Pursuits at Discovery: Martin’s Story

Creative Pursuits at Discovery: Martin’s Story

"People get lots of help, do things together and help other people." Martin is a long-time participant in our Discovery program, attending for more than 10 years. Sharing his experiences with the program makes him feel “like Hollywood now” which suits him...

Share Your Thanks

Share Your Thanks

Have you ever faced challenges in your life that left you feeling alone and disconnected? Did you need people around you to rally? As a supporter of Archway and a champion of Abbotsford’s community, we invite you to share a place at the table with us. Meet Megan. At...

Walter’s Story: Starting and Growing Community Services

Walter’s Story: Starting and Growing Community Services

Building a Foundation in Social Justice In the 1960s, Walter Paetkau was a teacher in Edmonton, a job he trained for and assumed he’d have until retirement. But when Walter took time off to study for his Master of Divinity degree, his experiences changed...

30 Years of Serving the Community

30 Years of Serving the Community

“I started as a lot of people do here – for 10 hours per week,” shares Manpreet Grewal, the director of the Multicultural and Immigrant Integration Department at Abbotsford Community Services (ACS). At that time, 30 years ago, there was no Multicultural Department....

Leslie’s Story – Adjusting to a New Reality

Leslie’s Story – Adjusting to a New Reality

Until 2014, Leslie was a busy fisherman and painter in the northern BC community of Prince Rupert. He was often found on one of his boats, until an accident changed his life. Suddenly, his profession and even his home were no longer accessible to him, and his small...

Three Friends Join Forces To Make A Difference

Three Friends Join Forces To Make A Difference

​This week I had the pleasure of meeting three volunteers who are working as Friendship-Based Mentors for newcomers through the Community Connections program. Maureen, Janice and Connie, jointly mentor a family who is new to Canada and now living here in Abbotsford.It...

A Mother’s Struggle to Save Her Son from Gang Life

A Mother’s Struggle to Save Her Son from Gang Life

“That Could Have Been My Son” She was a newcomer to Canada who arrived as a young bride and moved in with her large, multi-generational family. But her “new life” has had its share of challenges for Surjit*. * Real name withheld Her husband struggled with substance...

Danielle Miller shares Brave Story

Danielle Miller shares Brave Story

We are incredibly grateful that Danielle Miller of The HABIT Project shared her story of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety with This Is Brave, and allowed us to share it with you. We encourage you to read her recount of living in fear and feeling brave again...

Claudia – From a Mexican Circus to Living in Canada

Claudia – From a Mexican Circus to Living in Canada

Claudia’s life has been full of challenges. At age 12 she was kicked out of her home in Mexico and lived on the streets for over a year before finding a welcoming family in a traveling circus. At the circus, Claudia did everything from selling popcorn and cleaning...

From Abuse and Addiction to New Career Opportunities

From Abuse and Addiction to New Career Opportunities

John* was nine-years-old when he first used hard drugs and started his decades-long struggle with addiction. ‘Shooting up’ was a way to deal with his horrific childhood, which included sexual abuse by his father. He ran away at age 11 and after trying to shoot his...

Pairing Her Loves of Teaching and Children

Pairing Her Loves of Teaching and Children

Before immigrating to Canada in 2012, Amandeep had worked as an elementary school teacher in India. Despite having a Master’s Degree in English, she found it difficult to find a suitable job here, since her teaching credentials were not transferrable. She ended up...

A Career in Caring

A Career in Caring

Elizabeth was always on the “lucky end” of lay-offs until that luck ran out in 2017. While she enjoyed her work at production companies the industry wasn’t always stable and didn’t provide additional training or opportunities for advancement.As a single mother in her...

There in Crisis

There in Crisis

Bridges The Bridges program seeks to bridge youth services to clients that have aged out of government care. "We had a 22 year old girl who was fleeing domestic abuse, couch surfing, unemployed and very distraught from the traumatic experience of being alone through...

Hope Restored

Hope Restored

Like many of us, Navor wants nothing more than to provide for his family. That’s why, in 2010, he started coming to Canada—first for five to six months at a time, then for eight. “I came because I wanted to help my family,” he tells us. “I have a daughter, sister, and...

From Volunteer Match to Lifelong Friends and Co-workers

From Volunteer Match to Lifelong Friends and Co-workers

Perfect Strangers In her homeland of Colombia, Claudia was a lawyer with a busy career and family life. Everything changed when she immigrated to Canada with her husband and young son in 2009. Unable to speak English and without her family and friends, she found...

Seeking a New Identity in Music

Seeking a New Identity in Music

Harley loves performing hip-hop on stage. But there is one song that he can’t bring himself to perform in public. While he can sometimes write and record a song in less than half an hour, this particular song took months to write and record. Once recorded, he waited a...

Hevin’s Story: A Tale of Perseverance

Hevin’s Story: A Tale of Perseverance

In less than two years, Hevin has made great strides. From a young refugee starting school in a new country and a new language to a dedicated student receiving a major Award of Excellence at her Abbotsford secondary school, she’s risen above the challenges life has...

Breaking the Cycle: A Young Father’s Story

Breaking the Cycle: A Young Father’s Story

Abused, addicted, abandoned. Daniel’s young life has been full of challenges, though you wouldn’t know it immediately by looking at his cheerful smile. As a child, he experienced physical abuse at the hands of his father. When he began to fear for his life, he...

Saying ‘Yes’ to a Great Opportunity: Nicholas’ Story

Saying ‘Yes’ to a Great Opportunity: Nicholas’ Story

Twelve-year-old Nicholas was bright – and bored. Despite his abilities, the nature of an average school day at Abby Middle just wasn’t working for him. His Vice Principal, Ian Levings, saw Nicholas’ potential and connected him with the Youth Education Support (YES)...

“Friendship, not just Lessons” – Sharon’s and Sophie’s Story

“Friendship, not just Lessons” – Sharon’s and Sophie’s Story

When Sharon, an RN and nursing instructor, retired after 40 years in healthcare, she knew that she wanted to keep busy doing something that would help others and the community. She was always particularly interested in working with people learning English. Sharon...

Outstanding Volunteers: Dawn

Outstanding Volunteers: Dawn

Dawn is a dedicated volunteer with our Community Connections program and through her volunteering, she's developed a friendship with Jolin, a newcomer to Canada. They have now been friends for over the 8 years and Dawn remarks, “there are times when I think I get more...

Volunteering is a Shared Learning Experience for Don

Volunteering is a Shared Learning Experience for Don

As a surgeon and GP for 40 years, Don was used to a full schedule. When he retired and moved from Terrace to Abbotsford, he knew he wanted to keep busy. After searching online for local volunteer opportunities, he got in touch with Abbotsford Community Services.For...

Helen Offers a Helping Hand for the Family Centre

Helen Offers a Helping Hand for the Family Centre

Helen Meyers has been an invaluable asset to Abbotsford Community Services over her last 18 years as a volunteer. Originally, she lent her time to our Lunch with the Bunch program, but since 2001 she's dedicated herself to the Family Centre.Twice a week Helen helps...

Outstanding Employment Mentor

Outstanding Employment Mentor

With a passion for the community and an eagerness to both share with and learn from others, Sieglinde is a volunteer with a true desire to help others succeed. An Executive Recruiter with Valley Personnel Ltd and an Adult Educator with years of experience in Human...

Outstanding Volunteers: Patricia

Outstanding Volunteers: Patricia

When we requested stories of amazing volunteers to feature, LINC instructor Rosanna was quick to mention Patricia, who volunteers as a teacher's assistant in the LINC program to newcomers learning the English language. She has volunteered in this role with several...

Outstanding Volunteers: Joshlyn

Outstanding Volunteers: Joshlyn

Joshlyn is an outstanding volunteer at our AbbotsfordWORKS employment office. She regularly volunteers because she likes having the opportunity to give back to the community. She also gains valuable work experience in the social services field through her involvement...

Answering the Call to Volunteer

Answering the Call to Volunteer

Sandy Strowbridge was thinking about how he could give back to his community, and the idea of driving people to their medical appointments kept popping up. He wasn’t sure how to get started, but after a conversation with a friend, he was directed to the Seniors...

The Cost of Loneliness

The Cost of Loneliness

Loneliness is impacting the lives of seniors in Abbotsford. According to Simon Fraser University, one in five is lonely. Loneliness is now shown to be just as detrimental to life expectancy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Currently, 17% of Abbotsford’s population are...

The Incredible Journey: Ryan’s Story

The Incredible Journey: Ryan’s Story

Just before Ryan’s 21st birthday, he became the father of a baby girl   “I was a very young dad,” recalls Ryan. “It’s kind of a lonely life when you’re that young. None of my friends had kids, so not a lot of people understood what it was like.” Feeling alone and...

Meet a Few Amazing Ladies

Meet a Few Amazing Ladies

Left: Jie (China) - currently working towards her Hydraulic Engineering certification in Canada Middle: Precious (Philippines) - secured a job as a casual as a Behaviour Interventionist Right: Mireia (Spain) – administrative support for a wealth management company...