BY: GLORIA MUGENYI
In a search to network and connect more people from Ontario’s Caribbean community, the Caribbean Women’s Society has launched a new division called the ‘Caribbean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Community’ also known as C5.
The launch of the newest subsidiary took place on Sunday Nov.26th at the Downsview Hub in Toronto.
The organization described as a “grassroots, voluntary membership-based incorporated non-profit built on diversity, inclusion and innovation,” strives to better the quality of life for the Caribbean-Canadian community.
According to Camille Kerr, President of the Caribbean Women’s Society, the new C5 was created as an “innovative initiative to focus on promoting participation and prosperity of Caribbean-Canadians in the social and economic life of Ontario.”
The launch was an informative celebration and networking event for professionals and leadership-minded individuals. This new subsidiary helps empower diverse women and men from the Caribbean communities and all over to pursue better lives for themselves as well as encourage others to follow suit.
“This is a historic contribution to the Caribbean-Canadian community and I urge every Caribbean-Canadian to take part,” says Kerr.Minister of Education in Ontario Mitzie Hunter also attended and participated in the event. Hunter congratulated Kerr and the CWS for creating an important organization. Hunter encouraged the Caribbean-Canadian community to work together towards prosperity and offered them the government’s support in ensuring that they are included and appreciated.
Membership in the newly launched Caribbean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Community (C5) is open to all professionals and leadership-minded women and men, while membership in the CWS is open to the Caribbean-Canadian women living in the regions the organization services.
Members pay an annual fee of $40. As a member of the CSW, one is encouraged to attend monthly gatherings, volunteer and participate in the organization’s initiatives, help make new members feel welcome and more.
The CWS provides its members with free workshops, seminars to build knowledge and skills, social activities, discounts on membership programs and events, and forming new friendships and connections with other members.
The CWS and C5 encourage people to sign up for membership as well as volunteer and donate to the organizations. Ongoing sponsorship and partnership also assists in the daily operations of the organization.
Kerr says that the organization is driven by diversity and inclusion and innovation. The CWS aims to improve the quality of life not just of adults but also the children, youth, parents, families and seniors by “tackling the barriers with innovation initiatives.”
In the past, the CWS has organized fundraising events such as the “WE ARE HERE, Accomplished and United,” which showcased Caribbean Culture and Contributions.
Some of their upcoming events include a “Toy Gifting” honouring lone Canadian moms and female guardians.
The CWS is run by a board of Directors led by Camille Kerr, who is the President, Chair and Treasurer of the organization.
Kerr, a wife and mother of five understood that some of the key characteristics of a successful community entailed having an identity and a sense of belonging, being able to rely on others and take responsibility, which ultimately became the core values of the Caribbean Women’s society at its first stages.
Kerr, who is of the Trinidadian origin was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario where she was encouraged to honour and value her culture and heritage. Kerr holds a B.A. honours degree in Sociology, Philosophy and Political Science; from the University of Toronto as well as thirteen years of Human Resources work experience.
The Caribbean Women’ Society was founded in July 2015 and services the GTA, Durham, York; Peel, Dufferin and Halton regions in Ontario.
The CWS currently has two other divisions; the “Caribbean-Canadian Parents United (CCPU) and the newly minted Caribbean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce & Community (C5).”
Those looking to join and be a part of the CWS and its subsidiaries are encouraged to visit their website at www.ourcws.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information as well as their social media platforms on Twitter @ourcws, Facebook @ourcws, Instagram.@ourcws