COLUMN: Working towards a community dialogue

As we all get ready to ring in the new year tomorrow, 2015 is going to be a special one for me...

By Ken Herar

As we all get ready to ring in the new year tomorrow, 2015 is going to be a special one for me. I’ll be celebrating my 20th year as a columnist come June and our fifth year for Cycling4Diversity Foundation in May.

All I can say is that I have been honoured and privileged to have this opportunity and thank The News for having faith in me to carry this valuable discussion. I have grown to view myself as more of a bridge builder than someone who just simply focuses on diversity matters. Not that it’s not important, but it’s through bridge building that we’ll see positive relationships grow amongst our diverse communities.

It’s all about building a better tomorrow and continuing to be a inclusive community. Let’s not kid ourselves;  there still remain large cultural gaps that need to be closed,  and our C4D team – which includes Coun. Dave Loewen, APD Deputy Chief Rick Lucy, Bill MacGregor and Elizabeth Lloyd, just to name a few – has worked hard to establish a dialogue and conversation in our schools and almost every corner of our community.

I also encourage all of you to continue to write to me and provide me with feedback and ideas that may benefit us all in 2015 and beyond.  One of first things, I will be doing in the months ahead is our annual Abbotsford News Diversity Challenge, asking students from Abbotsford/Mission to write on a diversity subject and selecting the top choices to be featured on these pages. It’s always tons of fun showcasing the next generation of leadership and minds.

Cycling4Diversity Foundation recently traveled throughout the District of Mission for its first food drive. Having been part of the event, I can share with you that this experience was life-changing in so many ways and made my Christmas. The C4D team stopped at many households and almost everyone gave some kind of food donation to the Christmas Bureau. When it comes to donating food, people often do it in big ways and that’s a wonderful gift for families in need at this time of the year. Approximately $1,000 was raised throughout the day on Dec. 21.

If you are still looking for a special gift in the new year and being a tennis player myself, I recommend you go check out the tennis bubble here in Abbotsford where a book is being sold and covers the rich history of local tennis. Flipping through the many pages, you’ll see many interesting stories and faces from the past. I even found myself and some of my family members on the pages and bought a book that I share with folks to use. It’s a fabulous investment and everything is all in one package.

Adrian Oziewicz, from Great West Fitness and head tennis pro, said: “I decided to do a tennis photo book about Great West because one of my co-workers showed me a tennis scrapbook of old newspaper clippings and pictures she had collected over the years.

“Reading through them I discovered that the tennis club had been around since 1978 and there was a long history of indoor tennis in Abbotsford. There weren’t very many indoor tennis clubs in Canada in the ’70s and early ’80s.

I scanned the clippings into my computer and also came across more pictures when one of the offices at Great West was renovated.

“I have been going to The Reach gallery in Abbotsford every year and going through the newspaper archives to find any more tennis articles and pictures so I can add to the photo book every year. The book roughly covers 40 years of tennis history in Abbotsford.”

Happy New Year. See you all in 2015.

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