Photo by Barbara Howe
DURHAM — Imanzi Kayitare was pleasantly surprised on a recent tour of the Abilities Centre in Whitby.
“I never would have thought there would be a centre like this out here,” said the Mississauga resident.
Mr. Kayitare was one of more than 30 rising leaders from CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network and DiverseCity Fellows program who were invited to take a look at the changing face of the region during a tour June 27.
CivicAction brings senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The aim of the evening was to acquaint these future community builders with what Durham has to offer.
The idea for the event came from Judy Wityszyn, a member of the DiverseCity Fellows program which galvanizes rising leaders interested in urban issues and impacting change.
“Our goal is to show how interconnected we all are,” said Ms. Wityszyn. “I am proud to be from Durham and this gives them a chance to understand why.”
She and Shari MacKay are both fellows from Durham. They collaborated with the Region to organize the event. It was co-hosted by Durham’s economic development and tourism division and CivicAction’s ELN.
The group arrived by GO train and boarded a bus that took members on a tour of some of the region’s most innovative organizations including the Abilities Centre and Lakeridge Health Education and Research Network.
The evening ended at the grounds of Parkwood Estate where a panel of three local business representatives made presentations and answered questions from the audience.
“We were excited to partner with CivicAction to gather the leaders of tomorrow in Durham and show them what we have to offer,” said Kathy Weiss, director of economic development and tourism in Durham Region in a press release.
She said the event put Durham Region “front and centre in the minds of participants which will enable more collaboration across the GTHA.”
Sean Lockhart, resource development director from with the Boys and Girls Club of Durham, moved to the area from Toronto 11 years ago.
He summed up the difference between the two regions.
“The difference here is that we built the community. Toronto is a big place. Durham is smaller but powerful when you unite together.”
Anjum Sultana, an ELN member from Toronto, was impressed by what she saw.
“It was really fascinating to see all the great work that’s happening in the east end. It has made me start to think about potentially relocating here.”