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- Tatay Tomas Avendano
Tomas Avendaño was born in 1929 in the Philippines. Prior to arriving in Canada, he was a professor of Spanish, Political Science and Public Administration. He also served in the local government as a Pasay City councilor for three consecutive terms from 1967 to 1976.
In 1982, Mr. Avendaño and his family immigrated to Canada to begin a new life. Having experienced first hand the challenges faced by new immigrants, Mr. Avendaño was inspired to help other newcomers settle in Canada. He began by mobilizing fellow Filipinos in British Columbia to serve as mentors for newly arrived immigrants. In 1990, this same group of volunteers coordinated the first annual Filipino Festival in Surrey, BC..
In 1996, Mr. Avendaño helped establish the Filipino-Canadian Support Services Society (FCSSS) to assist immigrants, and in particular, new arrivals. The FCSSS evolved from a Filipino-focused organization into the Multicultural Helping House Society, founded in 2001. Today, this organization’s expanded multicultural facility includes respite housing, training and counselling facilities, settlement and employment services, and special programs for youth, senior citizens and families.
Well known in Vancouver for his tireless community involvement, Mr. Avendaño is affectionately known as “Tatay” (or “Father”) Tom. He was formally recognized for his contribution to supporting new immigrants to Canada with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medal in August 2002 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in February 2012.
The 2014 Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism further recognizes Mr. Avendaño’s lifetime of achievement in building an inclusive, welcoming community for those starting a new life in Canada.
· 1996: Founding Member and President, Filipino-Canadian Support Services Society
· 2001 to 2014: Founding Member and President/CEO, Multicultural Helping House Society
· 2002: Recipient, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
· 2012: Recipient, Presidential Citation for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (Banaag Award) from the President of the Republic of the Philippines
· 2012: Recipient, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
· 2012: Recipient, Maharlika Award from the FilCan Cultural Heritage Society
· 2012: Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award, Multicultural Helping House Society We Care Support Group
· 2014 to present: President, Multicultural Helping House Charitable Foundation
· 2014: Recipient, Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism (Lifetime Achievement).