I recall moving to Abbotsford from Vancouver when I was 10 years old. We had no friends or family in Abbotsford. My parents were looking at houses and we were meeting our realtor at West Oaks Mall. While we were waiting, we walked up to Bourquin Plaza where my parents saw a ‘for lease’ sign in the window of a business. At the time, jewellery making was a hobby for my dad and there were no other Indo-Canadian jewellery stores in Abbotsford.
Lo and behold, we moved to Abbotsford and opened the shop within a month of our visit. ‘Kanda Jewellers’ was born in May 1990. I remember being apprehensive of starting at my new school Bakerview Elementary at the end of the school year. I made new friends, many of whom remain my friends to this day.
I continued my studies at Abbotsford Senior Secondary and finished high school. A few years later I got married to my husband Jag. In the beginning of our marriage we worked hard to be independent and saved enough for our own home. I worked various jobs to gain experience in Early Childhood Education. While working, I continued my education and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth, specializing in Child Protection at the University of the Fraser Valley. Looking to expand my knowledge in the field, I then completed my Masters in Education at the University of British Columbia.
My work experience encompasses a wide range of areas and expertise: preschools, daycares, day camps, educational assistant, social worker and owner/operator of a multi-age daycare in my home. I am currently a Professor teaching Early Childhood at Northern Lights College.
We have lived in our home for over 14 years raising our three children and our little dog. My children are now around the age that I was when my family moved here. I have seen the growth of Abbotsford over the years. There are many more schools, sports programs and families.
Over the years I have been actively involved within our community in multiple capacities. One role I hold close to my heart is my non-profit organization Cozy Covers. It's an annual clothing drive that started with socks and has been running strong for the last 15 years. From the humble beginnings of just collecting sock donations, over 16,000 items and $19,000 have been donated to the cause within the 15 years of the Cozy Covers’ operation across the Fraser Valley. The organizations that have worked with me include Warm Zone, Cyrus Centre, Ministries 5 and 2, Peardonville house, and Sara for women to name a few.
I always knew I planned to be actively involved within our community because I truly enjoy the work. Passionate about the field and motivated to understand the day-to-day operations of organizations, I took on several different aforementioned roles. These experiences have equipped me with invaluable knowledge relating to student development, issues, needs, and success factors.
I didn’t plan to be a school trustee. However, someone believed in me. She sent me a very brief message a year ago that simply said ‘you should be a school trustee, the elections are in October 2022.’ I didn’t think much of the idea at first. After a few months, I asked her ‘why me?’ Her response was powerful enough to make me seriously consider a run: ‘you are a spitfire of energy that is needed on the board.’
Before making the leap and fully committing, however, I wanted to conduct additional research to understand the role. I examined the purpose of a school trustee and the influence it has on our community, students and families. I see myself on that board. With my own children enrolled in public schools, my love for the community coupled with my passion to work in the field of education, I see myself taking a more active role in schools. I believe in our students and know that I can make a difference in developing their potential by creating opportunities that are relatable, practical and attainable. Every student needs those opportunities to reach their dreams and become successful.
Lastly, thank you Ms. MJ for the ‘bug in my ear’ to take this step. I know I can offer my knowledge, experience and love for the community to our schools.