August Youth Update
Submitted by Claire Kelly, Settlement Youth Worker
In addition to these weekly programs, there is also the chance to join the youth “Wheels of Thunder” bike team Ride for Refuge! See the Ride for Refuge article or contact Kay (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
And for those who are still missing summer and want to see how the youth of ICA enjoyed their time, please visit our Summer Remix & ACE! Summer Camp Flickr albums here.
Arts Update: Perspectives On Faith & Identity, A Youth Documentary Project
Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts & Outreach Coordinator
We’ve come to the end of this youth-driven film project. And what an eight months it’s been! We began the year by asking 5 young adults between the ages of 18 – 30 two central questions, “Who are you?” and “What do you believe in?”. You’d expect that they would have some answers by now, but as Brianna Dick, one of the participants, says in a moment of self-reflection, “We’re still trying to discover who we are. We’re still trying to discover how we fit in.” Along the way, however, they tell us they’ve learnt a few things:
“It has put me in a place where I’m more comfortable shedding labels, and I’m not concerned with proving to anyone what I am, what I’m not, or what I’m trying to be.” – David Mutuku
“The most important thing I learnt through this process is that I’m able to finally embrace myself for who I am, and my differences… to connect the dots.” – Leat Ahrony
“A lot of our faiths have way more similarities than differences… we discuss the same topics, we believe the same things, and we’re feeding into the same ideas, rather than praying to different gods and deities.” – Suvreet Johal
“It’s been a positive, stressful and emotional journey… in the larger context of things, I think it will bring about the idea that we’re not all one stereotype, we’re not just Indigenous, we’re not just Christian, we’re not just Jewish or Buddhist, we’re not just Sikh, we’re not just Rastafari. We are so much more than that. We’re not just the stereotypical idea that everyone has of us.” – Brianna Dick
“This process has been really awesome. I got to meet four different people with four different backgrounds, cultures and religions, and it was just a great experience for me to understand… and to know that it‘s okay to be who you are and what you believe in.”.“ – Jessica Pamplona (Youth Film Editor)
To hear more about their stories, we’d like to invite you to join us for the free screening of the final documentary on Saturday, September 12 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm at the Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville St.
With gratitude to the project mentors and educators, Photojournalist Quinton Gordon and Documentary Filmmaker Peter Campbell.
This project was funded by Inspirit Foundation and ICA’s Blossom’s Campaign.
For additional information, please contact Paulina Grainger, Arts & Outreach Coordinator, email@example.com
We’re Going Back To School!
Submitted by Gita John-Iyam, SWIS Worker
The last weeks of July are often filled with lots of excitement as children begin to get ready for a new school year. Whether your children are in a new country, in a new school, or in a new class, here are some tips to help ease the first few days of school.
Opening Day: The official opening day of school is September 8, 2015 the day after the Labour Day holiday. However, not all classes begin on the morning of September 8. Check the website of your school or call them directly to inquire about start of class dates; school offices usually open after August 24.
Supplies: The flyers from various stores are full of deals and suggestions for school supplies. If possible, invest in good quality supplies and try to buy what is suggested by the school. One year, I bought my daughter pencils that looked so pretty… but the lead kept breaking every time it touched the paper! Each school and class has its own supply list. You can usually find the list on school websites.
Routine: Help children get to sleep early and wake up early the week before school starts – it can ease the transition into a new schedule by adjusting the body clock of a child who has been staying up and sleeping in late.
Breakfast: Children who have a good breakfast are able to get through a day of learning and play more comfortably. Should children miss breakfast, most schools have a breakfast program of fruits and snacks.
Lunch & Snacks: Schools suggest bringing healthy lunches and snacks in reusable containers. Foods high in sugar like juice and cookies can sometimes make it difficult for a child to sit quietly in class, so my favourite lunches always have lots of little things: small boxes of carrots, apple and cheese slices, crackers, and plenty of water. Most elementary schools have a no nut policy… so do check with your school before sending foods with peanut butter or other nuts. Some schools offer a lunch program at a reasonable cost or on a sliding scale (adjusted to fit family income).
Dress code, Uniforms: Check with your school about the dress code or if they have uniforms. Comfortable clothes that are right for the season are important in Victoria:boots and waterproof shoes for the rainy season; indoor shoes and running shoes for sports. Victoria has a number of great thrift stores where you can find many of these items, lightly used and at low prices.
Welcome Back BBQ: Most schools have some sort of a welcome back program or barbeque. Try to go and visit with other parents and school staff, this can sometimes help to ease the transition into a new year. Dates for the BBQs will often be on your school website.
After school care: Some schools offer after school care at an additional cost.
Settlement Workers in Schools: Kay, Lisa and Gita are settlement workers in schools (SWIS). The SWIS program is a school-based outreach program aimed at helping eligible newcomer students (immigrants and refugees) and their families settle and integrate into their school and community. Look out for us in your schools and contact us if you need any support.
We wish all the parents and children a happy school year!
Community Connections Update August 2015
Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Outreach Coordinator
Police Engagement with Muslim Community
Members of the Masjid Al-Iman Mosque recently spent an evening with representatives from the Greater Victoria region’s five local police services (Victoria, Saanich, Central Saanich, Oak Bay and the RCMP). Together, they spent 3 hours talking, listening and learning about how to improve understanding and build trust between police and diverse communities.
Over the past several years, the region’s five police services have been working to develop positive police-community relationships and promote bias-free policing as mandated by the 2013 report from the Ministry of Justice on BC Policing and Community Safety Plan.
Organized by the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC), of which ICA is a member, the event brought together more than 60 members from the Muslim community -some of whom immigrated to Canada from countries such as Lebanon, Pakistan, Nigeria, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon among others- to engage in dialogue with representatives from the region’s police services. Members openly and frankly shared their views about policing in their countries of origin and compared it to policing here in Canada. They also identified the positive and negative experiences they have had with police in Greater Victoria. Some described positive interactions with police while others felt they were victims of bias, cross cultural misunderstandings or a lack of awareness on the part of police. To conclude the dialogue, community members then brainstormed and shared their ideas about key actions and strategies police could undertake to build trust and improve relationships between police and diverse communities.
The event finished with a home-made meal of Middle Eastern dishes provided by the Mosque. After the event, one member of the Masjid Al-Iman reflected: “What I appreciated the most was the interest and willingness of the police to get together with our community and listen to our thoughts and concerns.”
A report on the event, including feedback from the community, will be produced and provided to the region’s police chiefs. The report will also contain recommendations on key actions regional police can undertake to promote bias free policing and build positive police-community relationships.
Future police-community engagement events will be held later in the year with diverse communities.
Thanks to Ali, Mohammed, Jamaal, Belkacem and the members of the Masjid Al-Iman congregation for their generosity in organizing and hosting this event.
The region’s five police services in Greater Victoria are also members of the Community Partnership Network (CPN), which is made up of organizations committed to building diverse, welcoming, and inclusive communities. Funding for the CPN is provided by the United Way. The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) serves as the lead agency for the CPN. For more information please visit here.
Update: Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)
The Greater Victoria Local Immigration Project (LIP) is an initiative funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The LIP brings together CPN members and other local key stakeholders to promote immigration integration in our region. In the coming year, LIP and CPN members will continue working on the creation of a regional immigration strategic plan to be unveiled in March 2016.
Some of the recent work of the LIP includes:
• LIP Research Progress: In July 2015, LIP research partner – University of Victoria’s Institute for Studies in Innovation and Community and University Engagement (ISICUE), began key research on identifying the needs of newcomers in our region. In the fall of 2015, ISICUE will be conducting a series of surveys and focus groups with newcomers and CPN members to identify gaps in programs and services for newcomers.
• LIP Immigrant Advisory Table: A LIP Immigrant Advisory Table (IAT) is now in the process of being formed to assist and provide critical feedback to the LIP. Newcomer and long-term immigrants living in the Greater Victoria Region are invited to apply to be a part of the IAT. If you are a newcomer or established (long term) immigrant who would be interested in being a part of the LIP initiative please complete an our online application: Immigrant Advisory Table Application
If your organization or business would like to learn more about or become a part of the LIP, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
News From ICA’s Employment Services
Submitted by Mirko Kovacev, Employment Facilitator
ICA’s Employment Services staff have been busy over the summer months, continuing to support newcomer clients to find a foothold in the Greater Victoria labour market.
Since the beginning of May, over 200 participants have attended the Job Search for Newcomers workshop series, and a life skills program, Soft Skills in the Canadian Workplace, which provided newcomers with knowledge about how to succeed in the Canadian labour market. Newcomers participated in workshops on writing and tailoring resumes and cover letters, Canadian workplace culture, networking with other professionals either through conducting career research interviews and/or social media, interview preparation, exploring career opportunities, identifying transferable skills, labour market information and enhancing ones’ computer skills.
Clients were also able to learn more about possible career opportunities with Beacon Community Services, and speak with the representatives in person. The employer visit was a success as clients gained greater insights, and further networking opportunities.
Job Search for Newcomers Workshop Series
With September around the corner, ICA’s Employment Services team are gearing up for the Autumn. In the anticipation of new Job Fairs being hosted around the city, bringing together different employers in the coming months, ICA’s workshops will focus on writing and tailoring effective resumes, networking, soft skills, and interview skills, preparing our clients to obtain and maintain employment. Please see here for the latest workshops.
This Autumn will also see the introduction of a new and exciting Job Search for Newcomers workshop, “Personalizing Your Job Search.” The workshop is designed to provide newcomers with the information they need to connect with potential employers in person, and will provide specific examples about how to connect in person in various industries, including the BC Public Service.
Life Skills Programs
We are pleased to announce the return of the Employment in the Financial Fields career information program in mid-October, and the Essential Skills for the Workplace program, in the second half of November. The six session Employment in the Financial Fields program offers insights into various financial professions including Accounting, Banking, Financial Planning, and Insurance. Eligible participants will also have an opportunity to network with professionals in various financial professions.
The Essential Skills for the Workplace program will introduce participants to the nine essential skills that will enable them to create a foundation for acquiring new/additional skills, and how to be successful in the workplace and their careers.
Career Mentorship Program
The program has ongoing volunteer opportunities for career mentors who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of newcomers, and the community. Participating as a career mentor, you will:
• Help to improve participants leadership, coaching, and communication skills
• Help participants keep current on labour market and industry trends
• Get to learn about other countries and cultures, as well as different thinking styles and ideas
• Understand the difficulties that new immigrants face and provide support
• Feel a sense of community
At the moment, ICA’s career Mentorship Program is seeking career Mentors in:
Supply Chain Management
If you would like to learn more about the Mentorship Program, please contact Mirko Kovacev, Employment Facilitator, at email@example.com or at 250.388.4728 ext. 122
Ride For Refuge: ICA Youth Wheels Of Thunder
Submitted by Kay Otani, SWIS Youth Worker
ICA Youth Riders Team, Wheels of Thunder, is back in action! Our ride last year was full of fun and a successful representation of ICA’s youth community. For this year’s ride, we want to do the same by having your participation at the event or support youth riders by attending as a guest or by making a donation. So, please consider hopping on a bike (or lacing up your shoes for a 5 km walk) and helping our youth riders who are committed to a good cause.
ICA’s Summer Was Youth Staff Infused
Submitted by Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager
ICA’s youth department was full of exciting summer programs with many thanks to our robust and energetic youth team that included Alex, Branda, Sandra, and of course our regular youth staff Claire and Kay. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the youth team who helped make this year’s summer programs a success and gave over 50 newcomer children, youth and families a summer to remember.
A few words from Branda, ICA’s Summer Student:
Thank you to all the amazing staff for a great, and unforgettable, work experience at ICA this summer! I learned and gained so much from the different projects I was involved in, from working with the incredible youth of ACE! And Summer Remix camps to working on the Blossoms Campaign and different grant applications – and camping with Power to Be was particularly memorable. The time went by so quickly, but I am so glad to have had such a wonderful experience at ICA.
2015 Ride For Refuge Is Back On October 3!
Submitted by Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager
Last year over ICA had 56 riders join forces and participate in Ride for Refuge. This family fun community event was a huge success, and together we raised over $6,500 for ICA youth services.
Ride with us again, or for the first time, on Saturday, October 3 in the Ride for Refuge. ICA is seeking cyclists of all ages, abilities, and experience to join us in riding and raising funds for immigrants and refugee newcomer youth. Plus this year Ride for Refuge has introduced a 5 km walk route. ICA, along with other community organizations, are riding and walking together for this family-friendly bike-a-thon to support people who are displaced, vulnerable and exploited – and we need your help!
We are looking for people to participate as: riders, walkers, sponsors of riders, fundraisers, promoters and recruiters. If you have a passion for supporting people and love to be active, this is the event for you! Help us raise more money for this year’s youth programs.
Want to ride, but you don’t know how to ride a bicycle? No problem – we are teaming up with Bike to Work Society and Joy Riding to offer you FREE lessons on how to ride a bike.
Want to ride, but don’t feel comfortable riding? No problem – we are offering FREE bike skills & safety course on September 11, 18 & 25 from 4 – 7 pm.
Don’t have a bike, but you want to ride? No problem – we can provide a bike for you.
Contact Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-388-4728 ext. 143 to learn more.