About Innovating for Impact


After the experience of the first cohort, the team project is excited to launch the second season!


The goal of the project is to help service provider organizations increase newcomers’ sense of belonging by exploring new pathways, tools, and approaches to our work.


The project, funded in 2021 by IRCC, was launched by ARAISA and Inspiring Communities as a two-year capacity-building program for settlement agencies in the Atlantic Region. This project is designed for individuals who work for an IRCC-funded agency in Atlantic Canada (Francophone, Anglophone, and Bilingual organizations).


The project is structured in 3 main phases

What are participants learning?

  • Discover innovative approaches and tools to increase newcomers’ sense of belonging
  • Collaborate with peers in the region
  • Turn an idea into a real project (funding will be available for organizations)
  • Increase newcomer’s sense of belonging in Atlantic Canada



Program Timeline

To learn more about the project: impact@araisa.ca  

Meet the project team

Laura Huynh Lê

ARAISA Project Co-Lead

For over 5 years, Laura has supported newcomers build a future in Nova Scotia and help them feel empowered in finding fulfillment in their new life in Canada as project  coordinator. She is fortunate to  have worked with both the Francophone and Anglophone sides of the settlement sector. She is passionate about creating conditions for change and lifelong learning. Originally from Belgium, Laura holds a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Brussels and earned a Certificate in Adult Education from Dalhousie University. Laura is Bilingual and her native language is French.

Contact: laurale@araisa.ca 

Sara Bateman

Developmental Evaluator

With more than 15 years in public and corporate community investment working closely with the non-profit sector, Sara brings a broad perspective of the philanthropic and social sector organizational challenges and opportunities. As a graduate of the Social Innovation Graduate program at the University of Waterloo, her consultancy practice works with clients to develop emergent strategies for system change and social impact evaluation frameworks. With a focus on developmental evaluation and social innovation tools, she brings an adaptive strategy and systems lens to her work. Sara works across sectors. One of her roles was co-chair of the Calgary Local Immigrant Partnership (CLIP) Council. Over the past decade, she has been involved with a number of social labs. Additionally, she was an instructor at Mount Royal University on the social innovation lab design and facilitation as part of their past Social Innovation program. Sara brings a keen facilitation skill-set to uncover assumptions, barriers, and opportunities for her clients and their organizations. 

Contact: bateman.sj@gmail.com 

Elissama Menezes


Elissama has several years of working experience in the intersection of environmental and social justice. She has worked as a research assistant, project manager, shipping specialist, teacher, educational coordinator, tour guide, travel agent, and deckhand in a vessel built to be the greenest ship afloat. Elissama was born and raised in Brazil, and she is a newcomer to K’jipuktuk. She is a shaker and community builder who has worked to improve newcomers’ connection with their communities through social justice and innovation.

Contact: emenezes@inspiringcommunities.ca