MCRC - 30 Years of Fostering New Beginnings

Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre

Working at MCRC has changed me

- Margaret Styczynska

I spent 36 years with CCIS, around 25 years in this building alone. MCRC is not only the building. Yes, it’s a house. But for me it is more than a house. It is home. It has been the first home for thousands of refugees who came to Calgary. That’s what makes this place unique and special.

That is not only me. I have heard that through the years of working here. VIPs coming here from Ottawa, from provincial government. They always said there’s a special kind of feeling here. They asked, “Margaret, what is this?”

I would say, “This is us. It is the staff plus the people who come here.”

That is the most important thing for me. It is probably the legacy of people who went through this house, through the services they received here, because it was their first home.

I am so proud that this house was built as the first facility of its kind in Cananda. We were the first ones to have a reception house built specifically for refugees.

When they came to MCRC directly from the airport, through our airport reception services, they felt safe right away. The moment they came here, they felt safe. And often the people that come here, refugees, come from a traumatic experience.

They had a roof over their heads, they had food, they had the people, counsellors, who take care of them from the beginning and start the resettlement process.

To make this building home, it takes a lot of effort. The staff I worked with were the best. We even tried to adjust the food according to our clients. They even taught us what they ate back home, helped us in the kitchen to make those foods.

Working at MCRC has changed me as a person. I came to Canada as a refugee from Poland, behind the Iron Curtain. Here I started working with people from all over the world. I learnt from all of them. I acquired different views of the people who came from different countries. It made me a better person. I saw the world differently, learning from our clients and trying to make their lives better here.

Margaret Styczynska retired as Manager of Resettlement & Integration Services at CCIS, based out of MCRC, in 2017.

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