Recognition ceremony honours newcomers for important contributions to the community

Recognition ceremony honours newcomers for important contributions to the community

Release Date: Mar 6, 2017

2017 Halton Newcomer Recognition Ceremony honourees:
Left to right:
Gabriela Covaci, Marlen Ortega, William Vallejo, Hanbyoul (Agatha) Park

On March 6, 2017, the Halton Newcomer Strategy presented awards to Hanbyoul (Agatha) Park, William Vallejo, Marlen Ortega and Gabriela Covaci at the second annual Newcomer Recognition Ceremony. The annual event honours the contributions of newcomers in Halton, profiling their success in the categories of youth, business/culturally diverse workforce and community. Over 50 newcomer success stories were celebrated at the event. Elected officials joined members of the Halton Newcomer Strategy and other guests, to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s honourees.

“The individuals recognized by the Halton Newcomer Strategy have made a positive impact on our community through their actions and leadership,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “By volunteering, encouraging others to get involved in community and civic life, and building support networks, the award recipients have helped make Halton an inclusive and welcoming place for all newcomers.”

Hanbyoul (Agatha) Park was recognized in the Youth category for her commitment to education and volunteer service with the Milton Youth Advisory Council, Darling House and as project leader of Bishop Redding’s H.O.P.E. The work that William Vallejo and Marlen Ortega have done in providing newcomers with employment opportunities through their company, Industrial Cleaning & Maintenance Services, was highlighted in the Business/Culturally Diverse Workforce category.  Gabriela Covaci’s work with the International Language program at the Halton District School Board, as well as her volunteer work with Halton Multicultural Council and leadership during International Women’s Day was recognized in the Community category.  To learn more about the stories behind this year’s honourees, visit to view their video profiles.

The Halton Newcomer Strategy consists of over 60 community stakeholders that work together to plan for and support the needs of newcomers in Halton. Through research, collaboration and broader system planning, the Halton Newcomer Strategy works to identify barriers and gaps to enhance settlement and labour market outcomes for newcomers while ensuring Halton continues to be both welcoming and inclusive and an attractive place for newcomers to settle.  Visit to learn more.

The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 500,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, dial 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at


Media contact:
Stacey Hunter
Communications Specialist
Halton Region
905-825-6000, ext. 7529