Anila Lee Yuen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Newcomers, a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides Calgary immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals a solid foothold in Canada. During Alberta’s first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Anila oversaw an ethnic food hamper program for marginalized communities, providing 6468 clients with “culturally comforting” food. She also spearheaded and is leading the Calgary East Zone Newcomer RAPID RESPONSE for Covid-19 — a collaboration by government and frontline service organizations to respond to various issues by newcomers related to the pandemic.
In addition to the ethnic food hampers, the coalition is offering addiction and mental health services, employment and training, poverty reduction, and income support (including for those who aren’t eligible for government assistance). The efforts aimed to meet the needs of vulnerable Calgarians — in their community, and in their language (English and 23 others, to be specific).
With 25 years of experience in the settlement sector, Anila has spearheaded programming ranging from volunteer-led refugee supports to Indigenous solidarity for newcomers, and continues to lead in the settlement sector through volunteer roles as the Co-Chair of the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP) and is the Vice Chair of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA).