Carmela Valles, Carmela Valles Immigration Consulting
“When I first came to Peterborough in 1990 I was one of two students from the Philippines enrolled at Trent University,” says Carmela Valles. A former Executive Director of the New Canadians Centre Peterborough who owns and operates her own immigration consulting company, Carmela says it was a time in her life when she realized the important role community connection plays in a newcomer’s life.
“Having a sense of belonging was one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome. When you have social support – whether it’s a club, a church or a place where people gather, you feel like you matter. It impacts everything – your confidence and sense of self worth.”
A silver sponsor of the New Canadians Centre’s Multicultural Canada Day Festival, Carmela says the event that attracts more than 10,000 people to Del Crary Park reinforces the importance of bringing people from various backgrounds and cultures, together. “When you arrive at the park and you see all of the international food, music and performers and you see your origins and your culture being celebrated by everyone that lives in this community, you not only feel welcome. You feel like you belong.”