MCRC - 30 Years of Fostering New Beginnings

Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre

It Does Get Better

- Gordana Radan

For our CEO, Gordana Radan, Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre (MCRC) holds a special place in her heart. It was her first home in Canada when she arrived as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia nearly 30 years ago, among the first group of arrivals to be housed at the center.

“In those early days of arrival in a new place, it is important to feel welcomed, safe, and respected,” Gordana recalls. “This is what we got from the staff at MCRC.” As a refugee, she had lost the option to return to her beloved homeland, leaving behind friends, family, and everything familiar. Yet, amidst the uncertainty and guilt of having made it out while others were left behind, MCRC provided a glimmer of hope.

Gordana vividly remembers arriving at MCRC in the early hours of January 15, 1995. A refugee family from the former Yugoslavia, who had been at MCRC for weeks and were supposed to have moved out that day, waited for the new arrivals. As Gordana and others stepped into the house, this family made coffee for them, breaking down barriers and extending a warm welcome.

“That’s the true spirit of MCRC,” Gordana reflects. “It’s a place where barriers are broken, and hope for a brighter future is provided.” Many of the staff at MCRC have lived the refugee experience themselves, understanding the pain and uncertainty that comes with starting anew. Seeing former clients excelling in their careers as staff members instilled a sense of hope in Gordana and others.

Over the years, CCIS, and by extension MCRC, has evolved to meet the diverse needs of refugees, expanding its programs and services to include specialized support for youth and children, mental health services, and case management. “We’ve become more sophisticated in identifying and addressing refugee needs,” Gordana explains, particularly as CCIS gained experience resettling large groups of refugees from Syria, the Yazidi community, and Afghanistan.

What sets MCRC apart is its strength-based approach, empowering refugees to be independent while providing the right amount of support and respect. “CCIS has always treated our clients with respect – a common denominator across all cultures,” Gordana emphasizes. “Every human deserves to be respected.”

Inspired by her experience at MCRC, Gordana knew she wanted to work for CCIS, applying her background in career counseling to help newcomers find employment. “The stars aligned,” she says, as CCIS needed someone who spoke the language and understood the culture of the arriving Yugoslavians.

Today, as the CEO of CCIS, Gordana says, “I feel at home at MCRC because I came from MCRC.”

Her message to refugees is one of resilience and hope: “Going through the refugee experience requires and demonstrates a great deal of strength and resilience, and this often gets lost on us. To other refugees, I say: it does get better.”

Gordana arrived at MCRC as a refugee from former Yugoslavia in 1995 and is currently CEO of CCIS.


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