NEAC Member Recognized by Governor General for his Exemplary Work as a Volunteer

By: Eileen Thoo & Donat Bilomba

When Luketa M’Pindou moved to Alberta in 1999, he signed up as a volunteer with the Association Multiculturelle Francophone de l'Alberta. What followed was a string of good work that led to him receiving recognition by the Governor General.

 

Luketa is a volunteer in Edmonton’s Francophone immigrant community where he champions education, social reintegration, and immigration issues. His work with a multitude of organizations has helped defend and promote the rights and interests of Francophone and Acadian minority groups not only across Alberta, but also throughout Canada. His exemplary work and contribution to the Franco-Albertan community made him a recipient of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, a medal that recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians. Of the 70 recipients, only two were Francophone while Luketa was the only African Canadian in the group, demonstrating the extent of his work in the community. However, Luketa’s recognition doesn’t stop there. The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is only one of many medals and certificates he has received which include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and a certificate of appreciation from the Senate of Canada among many others.

 

Luketa was director of the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities for West and North Canada and the vice-president of a provincial Francophone organization prior to commencing his work with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and its National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC) in 2005. His contribution enabled him to be voted as chair of the Prairie Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (REAC). 


There were several ethnocultural community members with negative perceptions of CSC when Luketa started. However, his strategy to educate them about CSC programs and the correctional process paid off. More students have enrolled to study criminology and several community members have signed up to volunteer or work for CSC. This is a giant step forward because the Prairies have a large Francophone population.

 

Luketa is not merely a member of NEAC and CSC, but he is also a pillar for the community. He not only provides information and acts as a consultant for those looking for work in CSC, but encourages and supports members of the community; he even travelled to Regina to attend the graduation of one of his former employees with CSC. As leader of the community, Luketa attends CSC meetings and acts as facilitator to help promote CSC in his community. Additionally, he facilitates training such as workshops within institutions as he recognizes that there are priorities that must be focused on when it comes to helping ethnocultural offenders: mental health, housing, and employment.

 

 “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with CSC. The work of CSC Commissioner Don Head, as well as the leadership of this NEAC and Regional Deputy Commissioner Peter Linkletter has helped promote services and programs to ethnocultural offenders. However, there are still challenges to tackle and the work needs to continue to help the offenders become good citizens in the community.  I have to thank all the staff of CSC who are working hard for the safety of our community.”

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