Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) Executive Director Carl Nicholson was part of a group that received the United Way Community Builder of the Year Award.

At a ceremony at City Hall on March 2, the Ottawa Syrian Refugee Response Leaders’ Coalition was honoured for their work in helping change the lives of more than 2,000 refugees who now call Ottawa home.

“Moments like these are rare in a lifetime,” said Mr. Nicholson. “We are such a large, far-flung country with a small population rooted in many cultural streams, that it is rare that we come together to do something together.

“I believe we are laying another cornerstone in building a new Canada … a project we have been working on for a long time. Every four years we welcome some one million new people to our country.”

The other members of the coalition are Refugee 613, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and the Community Foundation of Ottawa, with help from the United Way.

Frank Bilodeau, District Vice President of Scotiabank, which sponsors the Community Builder Award program and the Wall of Inspiration, noted it was in October 2015 when Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson asked community leaders what Ottawa could do to help the millions of people affected by the Syrian crisis.

“At the epicentre of the overwhelming outpouring of compassion and support from thousands of Ottawa citizens, a group of local leaders … learned to work collectively, aligning their expertise and resources to support Syrian refugees.”

The Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ mission is to welcome immigrants and refugees, enable their integration and build a more welcoming community in Ottawa.

CCI is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide assistance to immigrants and refugees. It has been offering programs and services in the Ottawa community for more than 60 years.