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Our Journey to Canada

Meet Joanne Soave (Morency), a proud Italian-Canadian. Joanne is the Director of Sales and Marketing for KELCOM, a TELUS dealership and a locally owned and operated organization celebrating 50 years in our community! Joanne is a proud supporter of the Windsor-Essex community, with the non-profit sector being near and dear to her heart. She is a proud member of the Ciociaro Club of Windsor and served as their Youth Association's Vice President for 5 years. Joanne is a graduate of the University of Windsor where she obtained a degree in Family and Social Relations, along with a degree in Sociology and Sociological Statistics and Survey Research. When reflecting on her family's immigration story this is what Joanne had to say:

"My Father Giovanni Soave, the oldest of 4, left his home in Olivella Frosinone, Italy, along with his mother and siblings in 1958 to join his father in the United Kingdom. My Nonno left their home in Italy in search of a better life for his family. He was a farmer and sent for his family after two years of building a foundation for them in the UK. In 1968, my father left the UK alone, in order to come to Canada and pursue his dream of creating a life for himself. My mother, Bina, the youngest of 2, left her home in Ceprano Frosinone, Italy with her mom and sister in July 1956. Her father had moved to Canada in 1953 to also create a life for his family. He worked in construction and sent for my mother and family. My mother arrived at the infamous Pier 21 in Halifax. Without knowing a word of English, their family eventually made their way to Windsor, Ontario where they found their forever home.

When my dad applied for his first job here in Canada, he took 6 friends with him. Of the 7, my father was the only one who spoke English, so he wrote all their applications for the construction jobs. Of the 7, 6 were hired. The one that was not, was my father. The employer told him that he did not get hired because he was the only one that could speak the language, and would one-day leave. Therefore, my father was forced to find something else. In 1969, my father was hired by Chrysler and worked on the line until he retired 37 years later. Without any formal education he moved himself from a line worker, to a production leader and to this day remains a very highly respected man. In order to support our family, my father worked at Chrysler full-time and established his own construction company, called John Soave Construction. He was proud to have his own business. He did this so that he could put both of his daughters through school.

In 1970, my parents met at a bike race on Erie Street! Their love story is one that dreams are made of! This September they will celebrate 47 years of marriage and will return to Italy this summer for the first time since their honeymoon in 1971! Their endless sacrifice in their quest to provide a better life for their children, is the ultimate example of perseverance and hard work.

It's thanks to my parents that there has never been an insurmountable obstacle standing in the way of anything I have ever wanted. Thanks to my parents, I am unafraid of adversity and challenge myself to always level up. If I can teach my two wonderful boys (ages 10 and 7), a quarter of the resilience, grit, respect, passion and love that my parents have shown me, I will be forever grateful.

My parents are the reason that I am the woman I am today. Without their unwavering support of all my wild and crazy ideas- I do not think I would be where I am! My parents have taught me that you are entitled to nothing that you did not earn- and that is the foundation by which I live my life and the message I always carry with me. As long as you work hard enough, nothing is impossible!

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