Giving thanks and moving forward, thoughtfully

Back to Blogs By José Vargas, President Posted: October 17, 2021

It seems as if September has vanished in the blink of an eye. I know that for many of our members it has—September was a busy period. When I reflect on the month that passed, including the first half of October that also has (wow!), I take a pause on three recent holidays or days of recognition that give meaning to our bigger, collective picture: 

  • September 30 has been commemorated as Orange Shirt Day since 2013. Starting this year, it also marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new federally-recognized remembrance day to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors and their families, and ensure that public commemoration of the history of the Residential School System remains a vital component of the Reconciliation process. Whether you supported your organizations, clients or volunteer groups with reflective messaging about the massive significance of the day; you joined or tuned into one of the commemoration events; or had your own private reflection, I thank you. Let’s continue this conversation and reflect on our profession’s role in the Reconciliation process. Please stay tuned to hear from us in the coming months about more opportunities to do this.
  • World Mental Health Day was observed on October 10. The day serves as a great reminder to check in on how we are really feeling. As temperatures drop, workloads surge, some continue without work, and the pandemic continues, feelings of depletion may be ever-present. I would like to encourage everyone in our community to check in on one another and on yourselves often. This recent piece from the BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services and this past resource published on the IABC Catalyst Magazine offer some starting points and frameworks to do just that. I can confess that the more I engage in self-reflection around my own mental health, the more I confirm that this is a life-long commitment. 
  • Most recently, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day on October 11. I was introduced to Thanksgiving partway through my life when my family and I settled in these new, beautiful lands. I don’t think my interpretation fits the traditional sense that was first introduced to me via Immigration & Citizenship Canada, and the educational and social surroundings that I was immersed into at the time. I say this because each one of us may provide a different meaning to the day. And I believe this is the true significance of Thanksgiving: to give thanks for what you hold near and dear in life. For me, it’s family, social security (a privilege that most of us landed immigrants hold closely) and a sense of purpose. So, with that in mind, I’d like to thank all of you, my IABC/BC community, for continuing to give me purpose. Your willingness to participate, make connections and grow your career is inspiring!

I will be back with more “seasonal thoughts” from time to time. In the meantime, thank you for joining me in this reflection. Like last time, I am encouraged by your feedback and ideas. So, I reiterate: I’d like to hear from you! You can reach me at president[at] or on Twitter @JoseVargasToGo.

Thank you for choosing IABC/BC as your community!



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