Peterborough ON – (June 4, 2018) – Fleming College is pleased to announce that Michael VanDerHerberg, a Geomatics Technician graduate from Fleming College Class of 2005, is the recipient of the 2018 Alumni of Distinction Award. This prestigious award is given to an alumnus who attains outstanding career success and professional achievement.
Michael is a compelling advocate for causes in social housing, refugee settlement and community development, in both his professional and personal endeavors. Michael’s work with New Canadian Centre (NCC) began in 2009 and saw a tremendous amount of growth, beginning as an Employment Counsellor, then becoming an Employment Services Coordinator and later becoming a Refugee Resettlement Coordinator.
Michael has faced the refugee crisis first hand having spent a week along Syrian and Iraq borders. It was this experience that led to such a strong motivation to take refugee settlement to new and significantly higher levels.
Michael has helped more than 125 newcomers find and retain work in his city. Resettlement goals over the past year and a half had set out to help 36 Government Assisted Refugee (GAR) families. Michael surpassed that goal, helping 43 families.
To avoid disparity in service between NCC and refugee families, Michael recruited more than 300 volunteers and developed teams of 10-12 people to embrace each family that arrived. His innovative approach drastically improved service and reduced isolation, in turn, reducing crisis. This allowed Arabic-speaking caseworkers to focus on more complex issues such as emergency health issues. Michael’s unique resettlement methods were adopted by refugee centres across Canada.
In a pursuit to support a larger population in need within the community, Michael pursued a career with Peterborough Housing Corporation, a social housing provider. He was named Director of Services based on his achievements and heroism in the Peterborough community.
Along with his wife Andrea, Michael owns and operates Silver Bean Café, a community-style restaurant they established in 2004. It is a popular community hub of buzz, ideas and infectious spirit that patrons call the “waterfront cottage in the city”.
In November 2017, VanDerHerberg was honoured as a Premier’s Awards Community Service nominee for outstanding college graduates. Fleming College presented the 2018 Alumnus of Distinction Award to Michael at the Frost Campus Convocation Ceremony on June 1 at the Lindsay Recreation Complex, Lindsay.
About Fleming College
Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Sciences, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has more than 5,900 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and 71,000 alumni.
For more information, please contact:
Communications Officer, Fleming College
705.749.5530 x 1366