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The Town of Unity Creates a Welcoming and Inclusive Community

I would like to start by giving a bit of background about my family. My father served in the Indian Air Force for 21 years. This meant we were never stationary and moved often. I had wonderful yet challenging life long learning experiences due to his job. Moving to new places meant making new friends, having new classmates and new teachers every three or four years, sometimes even after a few months.

This lifestyle had a huge impact on my life. Initially, the constant moving was a struggle for me. However, later I realized that these life experiences

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This picture was taken on Remembrance Day in 2016 in Unity with Ben Weber, Mayor of Unity.

taught me to not only adapt to a new environment, but also to understand and deal with different backgrounds and cultures. I became more confident, adaptable, cooperative, friendly and outgoing as I grew up. Now, when I look back to my past, I feel I cannot thank my parents enough for providing me with such a tremendous opportunity for gaining exposure to a world view of diversity.

“However, later I realized that these life experiences taught me to not only adapt to a new environment, but also to understand and deal with different backgrounds and cultures. I became more confident, adaptable, cooperative, friendly and outgoing as I grew up.”

Growing up in a middle class family, my parents always encouraged me to pursue higher education. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1988 and Bachelor of Law in 1991. Then I practiced law for five years in India. My journey took me to Hong Kong where I had an opportunity to use my skills as well as learn from others. I handled immigration work for the staff of an import/export company in Hong Kong for over five years. I moved with my family from Hong Kong to Canada in 2002. It was yet another challenge to survive as a new immigrant in a completely different land. In the beginning, my husband and I both did part-time work. Later, I completed my law studies at the University of New Brunswick and the University of Windsor. I then decided to take the Bar Admission course with the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

During March 2016, I flew with my family to Saskatoon and toured the surrounding communities. We had a great time meeting people and made up our minds to enjoy life in the prairies. I moved to Regina in July 2016. I started volunteering at the Regina Public Library. Happily, I made lifelong friends who have become an extension of my family today.

While living in Regina, I started applying for articling positions to complete my lawyer licensing process. My focus was to apply in small communities; many of my greatest childhood memories are of the times I spent in different small towns in India. With this thought in mind, I applied to join Mr. Mike Riou of Riou Law Office in Unity as an articling student, where after careful consideration and an interview, I was offered a position. Meeting and working with Mr. Riou has been a truly great experience and a privilege for me. Mr. Riou was very appreciative of the fact that I speak four languages: Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English. He has always encouraged me to meet new heights in the legal profession. I am sure my tenure with Mr. Riou will have a great impact on my career.

In the course of my search for a place to live in Unity, I met great people like Kavi Harris Pandoo and his wife, Yovina Pandoo. The couple not only offered to help me, they also invited my husband and me for dinner every day until I had a place to live in. Not only that, they also actively helped me house-hunt.  I am extremely grateful to them for their generosity!

I finally secured a place with the Briggs family in Unity. From the very beginning, they made me feel at home. They introduced me to their extended

community, Diversity, Immigration, inclusive, Integration, law, MCoS, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Newcomer, Settlement, unity, welcoming, welcoming and inclusive

Richard and Karen Briggs are the people I lived with during my stay in Unity.

family, friends and guests. I always had a free hand in inviting my guests over. Very soon, I became a part of their family. This gave me such a powerful and comfortable feeling that there is no way I can even describe it. Living with them has been one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.

“From the very beginning, they made me feel at home. They introduced me to their extended family, friends and guests. I always had a free hand in inviting my guests over. Very soon, I became a part of their family.”

I made many more friends in Unity, to name a few – Chris, Ron, Lucy, Faye – all wonderful people who are full of positivity! I had an opportunity meet the previous Mayor, Sylvia, and current Mayor, Ben Weber. Both offered me help in case I need it. I cannot complete my story without making reference to Dr. Sumeet Dhillon, who was not only my family doctor, but truly a very close friend! We have travelled a lot together and made great memories in Saskatchewan. Dr. Dhillon, you will be missed!

In short, I have met wonderful, loving, caring and very generous people in Unity and I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful community. Once again, I want to thank each and every individual that crossed paths with me. During my stay here, I was extremely well taken care of and this hospitality has made me feel more connected and, of course, a part of the Great Unity Family!

I wish the community in Unity all the very best and I hope they keep welcoming new people into their fold as always!

Again, I thank Mr. Riou and his support staff for helping me to become a successful legal professional.

Thank you UNITY!

Written and submitted by Jaspal Gill

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