Sammie Jo Rumbaua: Creating inclusive and welcoming parks and community centres

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      I have always been passionate about building community. Born into a large immigrant family—where my parents worked multiple jobs in hopes of giving me and my two sisters the life that they never had—my siblings and I spent much of our formative years in community centres. As a Filipino-born Canadian, the importance of culture and language was instilled in me at a very young age.

      As a young woman of my community, organizing cultural festivities for neighbours and friends, I have always seen public spaces as a place to celebrate diversity and share our story. I believe it is important to cultivate and build inter-generational and inter-cultural bridges. I work towards this as a volunteer board member of the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society (SEACHS) and through Tulayan (a nonprofit Filipino-Canadian organization).

      I work with some of the most marginalized in our community as a youth settlement worker and employment program assistant (specializing in services for survivors of abuse and violence), and know the challenges the most vulnerable in our community face every day. I see and hear the struggles of youth, seniors, and new immigrants to Canada and am inspired by their strength to persevere and overcome their barriers.

      I am seeking to become a commissioner for Vancouver’s park board because I believe our parks, community centres, and public spaces play an integral role in creating and reflecting who we are as a city. I want to ensure that everyone—especially the youth, seniors, newcomers, and immigrants—are genuinely included in this process.

      With your help, I hope to be able to contribute even more to creating an inclusive and welcoming city as part of the Vision Vancouver team.