ISCO is no longer functioning as it was, but here is a bit of info about our previous operations team.
ISCO’s Goals are to:
- FOSTER and promote harmonious interactions within our various and growing cultural communities;
- IMPROVE and develop relationships with groups and organizations that celebrate our vast diversity;
- CONNECT our communities through shared values and on common ground;
- ENCOURAGE celebration of our cultural diversity in our personal lives, communities and businesses.
ISCO’s Core Values:
The Intercultural Society of the Central Okanagan has been serving our community since 2002. Our initial mandate was to ensure access to language training, settlement and any other training or services to assist immigrants to participate fully in Canadian society. ISCO believes that the culture and ethnicity of all people in the community desire respect and that everyone must be offered the opportunity to integrate fully into mainstream society.
Our Former Staff & Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Victoria and her family moved to Kelowna in 2001 after multiple Canadian posting overseas. Her experience living among people of different cultures and backgrounds irrevocably changed her outlook in life. She began to look outward. In India, she volunteered for the first time ever at Mother Teresa’s Home for Disabled Orphans in New Delhi. While there she travelled twice to Calcutta to meet Mother herself. The founder of the Missionary Sisters inspires her to this day.
She relishes meeting people of different ethnicities and backgrounds and feels fortunate to be actively involved in leadership positions with non-profit organizations such as ISCO, IWEN, OFC, and others that exist to improve the lives of people. She has a large family, has hobbies such as photography and is active in her church. Her friends ask her how she finds the time or energy for her commitments and she says her husband Murray supports her in everything she does and this keeps her going.
Joyce is a founding member of ISCO and has been an integral part of its growth. She is particularly excited to see ISCO continue to expand and have even broader impact in our community. Joyce is a certified ESL instructor and serves on various community initiatives regarding positive race relationships. She is a wife, mother and grandmother and is most happy when involving her family in cultural activities!
Cyril has been involved with ISCO for over 10 years. He has served as president and co-president for various years and has seen the organization grow. Cyril is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and has been in the Okanagan since 1969. He is a tailor in Kelowna and loves to spend his time in creative writing. Cyril is an active member of the community and is the current president of the Kelowna Cricket Club and the Past-President of the Kiwanis Summit Club.
Beth Veenkamp has been a community builder in Kelowna for the past 12 years. She is passionate about bringing people together and believes that a little bit can add up to a whole lot. She is driven to be a contributor, a change maker and global citizen. Her experience in bringing together groups to mobilize collective action has been the best work of her life. Beth also has a private practice as a Life Coach where, as she puts it, “listening is the most important skill.“ She is married to Derek, and they are often out with their girls Clara and Ava volunteering together at community events.
Her natural talent for facilitating, negotiating, motivating and inspiring is what she brings to the ISCO Board of Directors. She believes that her role as Director with ISCO is the same it is where ever she goes, which is to invest in the team so that everyone feels value, awakened by their acts of service, and inspired to continue.
Hans Meltzer has been a resident of the Central Okanagan for 30 years. Is part of the organizing team for Taste of Home and Global School House. Hans has been an active member of ISCO board of directors for 1 and a half years.
Teena has lived in Kelowna for over 30 years. She is a wife, mother and social advocate. Teena helped to develop the anti-bullying, anti-racism youth program with ISCO called OK to SAY. She has been involved with the society for over two years. You may know Teena from her many years as a Contemporary Jazz and R & B soloist, performing in a variety of venues throughout the Okanagan.
Linda Kovach has lived in Kelowna all her life and has been a member of ISCO since its inception. She has been involved with the Kelowna Folkfest for over 25 years and is currently on the Folkfest Committee. For over 35 years she has been an ardent student of Middle Eastern Dance and teaching dance for 25 years.
Elna von Dach
Elna has been involved with ISCO for several years and has volunteered in several projects. She helped to organize the Taste of Home Events, Social Gatherings and Participated with Global Citizen Kelowna. In addition, she managed the Cultural Isolation: Immigrant & Visible Minority Women at Risk of Violence in 2006. Elna is originally from the Philippines and moved to Canada in May, 1988.
She is actively involved with other Non-profit organizations such as OFC – Okanagan Filipino Canadian Society as the First President; The Multicultural Society of Kelowna, as a Board Member; Kelowna Folkfest, as President and currently as an active committee member. She has also been involved with IWEN – Intercultural Women’s Educational Network, The Inter-Cultural Women’s Educational Network, VAWIR – Violence Against Women in Relationships, and has been a volunteer for CIC – Canadian Citizenship Ceremonies. Elna has received several awards in recognition for her work.
Sofia has been in Canada since 1998. She now calls Kelowna home, after spending five years in Winnipeg, and two in Canmore Alberta. She is married, and has two teenage daughters, and an eight years old son. When her family first moved to Kelowna they owned a specialty flooring business. During recession they decided to close the business, and kept their concession trailer which they owned since after they married. Her husband has been in the food industry since late 1980s, and was the logical answer. While he’s been travelling on festivals during summer months and for construction work during winter, Sofia has been raising the children and became involved in the home-based business. At the same time, she has been involved as a member at large, and executive, of her children’s parent advisory council (PAC), the Greek community association, ISCO, and has taught at the Greek school. In order to be able to keep their business books, and communicate better with customers, and networking, Sofia decided to take a bookkeeping course and upgrade her ESL courses. Was then when she got introduced to Toastmasters, and became a member of the Okanagan College Toastmasters group, and has been for the past three years. At her free time, and to unwind, Sofia loves to read and gardening.