Thanking Tatay Tom

  • Page Views 2657
  • VANCOUVER -For the last three decades, Tomas Avendaño has helped thousands of Filipino immigrants and their families here in Canada.

    Avendaño, fondly called Tatay Tom, began by mobilizing fellow Filipinos in British Columbia to mentor the new arrivals – immigrants from the Philippines seeking residence or employment in Canada. In 1990, they coordinated the first annual Filipino Festival in Surrey, British Columbia, the “Pista ng Bayan” held during the Philippine Independence Day every June.

    Tatay Tom was one of the 10 founders of the Filipino-Canadian Support Services Society (FCSSS), a group that has been assisting immigrants since 1996. The FCSSS was renamed the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) in 2001, which has since helped 200,000 Filipinos with its respite housing, training and counselling facilities, settlement and employment services, and special programs for youth, senior citizens and families.

    “I know the challenges that Filipino immigrants undergo. My family experienced it first-hand. I knew we needed help and we did not know where to get it,” recalls Tatay Tom, the President and CEO of the MHHS. He brought his family to Canada in 1982 because of the political instability in the Philippines then.

    “Coming to Canada was the best decision I have ever made. We came here to begin a new life, and the life that we found here is more than we could ask for,” says the former professor of Spanish, political science and public administration who also served as a three-term councilor of Pasay City from 1967 to 1976.

    The MHHS built a 3-storey center on Fraser and 32nd Avenue to serve as a one-stop-shop for its clients in 2003, and a second office was established in 2009 to further the society’s continuous services. With financial support coming from all three levels of government, the MHHS began construction to expand its main center in 2010. A year after, in 2011, it inaugurated its expanded offices, something that Tatay Tom is truly proud of.

    An office in Ortigas, Pasig City, was established to serve Filipinos going to Canada. There they are given orientations, education, and training to equip them for life in Canada. Tatay Tom also says that there are plans of bringing their services to the provinces in the Philippines to help more of his kababayans.

    Tatay Tom has a roster of awards and citations: the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medal (2002) for his contribution to supporting new immigrants to Canada; the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), where he was the only Filipino-Canadian among 60 recipients recognized for their significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community in Canada; the Banaag Palanca Award (2012) given to him by President Benigno Aquino III; and the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism (2014) in recognition of his lifetime of achievement in building an inclusive, welcoming community for those starting a new life in Canada.

    But the greatest legacy that Tatay Tom will leave is carved in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos he has helped through the MHHS.

    “This is the legacy I will leave – establishing the MHHS in 1996, the building constructed in 2003 under my leadership, and the present building which I know will continue expanding because we want to help more and more Filipinos,” shares Tatay Tom, adding that an office in Alberta is soon opening. He knows this because he will never forget the time when there was an overflow of immigrants and the MHHS provided them much-needed shelter.

    When he finally retires, Tatay Tom wants to entrust the MHHS to the future Filipino-Canadians who will take care of it. Then he can travel to the islands of the Philippines to share about the society to Filipinos seeking a better life in Canada. #

    by Robbie Pangilinan


    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 20 March 2018
      1 day ago No comment

      Philippine Congress committee finds cause to impeach Chief Justice Sereno

      With a 38-2 vote, the House of Representatives’ committee on justice on March 8 ruled to impeach Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.   “Throughout the probable cause hearings, this committee has gathered sufficient evidence to provide us the ammunition to prosecute this case towards victory,” said ...

    • 20 March 2018
      1 day ago No comment

      Sanofi Pasteur ignored warning – US expert

      An American expert on tropical diseases testified before the Senate on Tuesday that he warned anti-dengue vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur on the health risks of using the Dengvaxia vaccine in 2016, bolstering the government’s case against the French pharmaceutical giant and health officials of the Aquino administration. Scott Halstead ...

    • 20 March 2018
      1 day ago No comment

      Essence Art Exhibit to feature Filipino-Canadian Artists

      The North Vancouver Community Arts Council and MELD Arts will present Essence Art Exhibit that will feature the art of five Filipino-Canadian artists. It will showcase art that celebrates the roles, struggles and triumphs of all women. Slated on April 27 to May 26, 2018 at the CityScape Community ...

    • 19 March 2018
      2 days ago No comment

      North America’s First Closed-Loop Waste Management System opens in Surrey

      Surrey’s Biofuel Facility officially opened today in the Port Kells industrial area. The $68 million facility is the first fully integrated closed-loop organic waste management system in North America. The facility will convert curbside organic waste into renewable biofuel to fuel the City’s fleet of natural gas powered waste ...

    • 19 March 2018
      2 days ago No comment

      Thoroughbreds (PG)

      Demon Seed! Two girls linked by childhood open all sorts of new wounds in the horrific Thoroughbreds. Do not confuse the title of this Universal Pictures thriller white horses though  this drama takes place among the horsey set.. The two gals enjoy horsing around which occurs around  a wealthy ...

    %d bloggers like this: