Dress for Success chair to speak at Lakehead convocation

Originally published in The Barrie Today

Sandy Falcon, board chair of Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie, will speak at Lakehead University’s faculty convocation ceremonies in June.Photo submitted by Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie

Sandy Falcon, board chair of Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie, will speak at Lakehead University’s faculty convocation ceremonies in June. Photo submitted by Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie


Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie board chair Sandy Falcon will speak at Lakehead University's faculty convocation ceremonies in June as one of the Voices of the Class student speakers. The student speakers will share their Lakehead experiences and words of advice with their classmates.

Falcon is graduating with a Master of Arts in Social Justice Studies.

"My goal has always been to inspire and support my children, but also my community," she said.

In addition to being a mother of four, pursuing a master's degree, and volunteering as Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie's board chair, Falcon runs a non-profit called Unknown Neighbours, which strives to connect temporary foreign workers with their communities.

"Sandy is a dedicated and energetic board chair for Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie," said Carolyn Gibson, outreach coordinator at Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie community. "We are lucky to have her on our team and we are thrilled that her hard work at Lakehead has paid off. Congratulations, Sandy!"

"I've gotta say, I've come a long way. I went back to school at the age of 35 after having four children. I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could so I could prove to myself that age was just a number, and it was never too late to go back to school," said Falcon about her impending graduation and Voices from the Class achievement.

"I was introduced to Dress for Success through school at both Georgian and Lakehead and it was amazing that I was able to volunteer and eventually become a board member. Dress for Success has been with me the last year of my BA and the entirety of my master's degree. I am so grateful to be here. I am an immigrant, a mature student, a mom, a wife, a woman and I am so proud of what I have been able to achieve," Falcon added.

Visit this website to see other exceptional students who make up the Voices from the Class:

To find more information about Unknown Neighbours, click here.

Follow Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn, plus join their newsletter by visiting Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie (scroll to the bottom).  


Sandy Falcon graduated from Lakehead University in May of 2022 with a Master of Arts in Social Justice Studies.

KAIROS’ Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers during COVID-19 project will fund migrant justice program partners to September 30, 2022

Sandy is standing with other women with fabric bags containing clothing. The room they are standing in has brown carpet and cream coloured walls.

Photo provided by Unknown Neighbours


Originally published by KAIROS


The Government of Canada has extended the successful KAIROS-run Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers during COVID-19 (ETFW) project until September 30, 2022. The Government of Canada has provided an additional $2,487,165 for the ETFW project to continue to support and assist temporary foreign workers, primarily in the agricultural sector during the pandemic. 

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, this project utilizes a community coordinated approach to support workers in the Maritimes and Ontario. Approximately 40,000 temporary foreign workers were served under this project from December 17 to July 31, 2021. 

“As the Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers project continues to expand, we welcome and very much appreciate the Government of Canada’s commitment to this project,” says Connie Sorio, Manager of KAIROS’ Migrant Justice Program. “This extended funding will allow KAIROS and our community partners to continue to serve workers and increase capacity to support their health and safety through the pandemic.” 

In May 2021, the project expanded to include support services at Toronto Pearson International Airport to welcome, inform, and assist arriving migrant workers within the context of COVID-19. This service provides workers with crucial information on testing, isolation and quarantine requirements, and community supports. The new agreement includes expansion of these services in addition to support for workers departing from Canada.  

KAIROS continues to partner with grassroots organizations that provide direct support to migrant workers in the three Maritime provinces and southern Ontario and will expand supports to the Windsor-Essex region. The ETFW project will also establish additional partners in the Maritime provinces and develop new partnerships in the Ottawa Valley to expand services into Eastern Ontario.  The extended project will serve an anticipated 10,000 temporary foreign workers, including up to 500 with emergency assistance. 

Partners will continue to provide incoming workers with welcome bags that include personal care equipment, language-appropriate resources, and non-perishable food items. Other services are information sessions, webinars, virtual workshops, emergency assistance, and the development of resources to support worker safety. Partners will visit farms and public spaces for outreach and service delivery.   

Partner organizations are: Cooper Institute (PEI); Filipino CommUnity of New Brunswick; No One Is Illegal – Halifax/Kjipuktuk; and in Ontario: Durham Region Migrant Worker Solidarity Program at ACDR, Center for Migrant Worker Solidarity (Simcoe), Migrant Rights Center Canada, Migrant Worker Community Program(Leamington), Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, Niagara Community Partners, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, and Unknown Neighbours/El Sembrador (Simcoe County, Barrie and Bradford).                                         

Read more: KAIROS’ Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers During COVID-19 project.  

About KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives: 

KAIROS is a social justice organization that includes ten Canadian churches and religious organizations. We are Indigenous, settlers and newcomers in Canada working with people of faith or conscience all over the world for ecological justice and human rights. We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. Learn more: KAIROS Canada website.  


Sandy Falcon graduated from Lakehead University in May of 2022 with a Master of Arts in Social Justice Studies.

Dress for Success official says grant funding comes at perfect time

By: Shawn Gibson
Originally published in The Barrie Today

Sandy Falco is wearing glasses and a dark blue blazer under a light navy blue shirt. She is surrounded by formal office attire, shoes and purses.

A local charity organization that helps women get ready for their first day on the job is putting a new government grant to good use.

In May 2021, Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie was approved for a $127,000 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). 

The organization has used the grant money to rebuild and recover from impacts of COVID-19 by hiring a strategic plan consultant and a part-time marketing and communications co-ordinator, purchasing radio and online ads and a fundraising platform, and covering their boutique’s rent and utilities costs. 

The strategic plan consultant helped Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie develop a new three-year strategic plan for their organization.

Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie board chair Sandy Falcon told BarrieToday the funding comes at the perfect time as the need for the service is greater than ever. 

“We are helping anywhere between 150 to 200 women a year, but since January 2022 we have helped about 67 women. That's a high number at this point of the year and we will well exceed our annual average,” Falcon said Thursday. “COVID caused a lot of job loss and there are many people back trying to find work.”

During COVID restrictions, the organization went online like so many others. 

“We had to completely change how we operated during COVID and not have in-person meetings. We had what we called a virtual pick-and-pack, where we would pick the clothes out for the women over the internet and then we’d drop it off where they needed," Falcon said. 

The mission at Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. 

Dress for Success provides assistance to women as they transition from employment or re-employment. Programs focus on providing a continuum of support and opportunities for women to compete and advance in the ever-changing workplace.

Three main programs provided are the Suiting Program (Professional Clothing Assistance Program), the Professional Women’s Group, and the Breakfast Club. 

The organization also works with clients who are actively seeking employment, have scheduled job interviews, or have recently acquired a job or placement/co-op.

“The government funding is over three years and will help us with staffing, our strategic planning and all our programs, like the breakfast club,” Falcon said.

The organization is located in the Bayfield Mall and has all kinds of business clothes, purses, jewelry, scrubs and is looking particularly for trades uniforms.

“We are getting a lot of women who have gone the way of the trade industry, so getting more of those in soon will be important,” Falcon said.

For more information on Dress for Success and how to donate, head to their website by clicking here


Sandy Falcon graduated from Lakehead University in May of 2022 with a Master of Arts in Social Justice Studies.