|Join ICA tomorrow at our annual Ride for Refuge
Tomorrow morning on Saturday October 1, bright and early, 50 ICA friends, staff, volunteers, board members and newcomers will be lacing up their running shoes for our annual Ride for Refuge a family-friendly walk and biking event.
There's still time to join a team!
ICA is very close to our goal of raising $10,000 for refugee and immigrant youth. We need your help to give us a little push to the finish line. Sponsor one of our riders here and all proceeds will go to ICA Youth Services.
|Reflecting on 2015-2016 at ICA's Annual General Meeting
ICA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 where we welcomed new board members, said fairwell to others, and acknowledged the hard work of the community over the past year.
Some of the highlights discussed at ICA's AGM include becoming a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to assist with the private sponsorship of refugees alongside community members interested in forming Constituent Groups. ICA also became a Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) provider and helped with the resettlement of over 180 government-assisted Syrian refugees to Victoria since February, 2016. ICA was acknowledged by Federal Minister, Hon. John McCallum who presented our CEO, Jean McRae, with a commemorative coin for our efforts towards Canada's resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees.
Extending ICA's reach: new and returning volunteers
Submitted by Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services
Photo courtesy of Carole Sherwood
ICA is fortunate to have the most wonderful, amazingly talented, supportive, and dedicated volunteers! Each year, over 200 volunteers give their time, energy, knowledge and experience helping immigrants settle and thrive in Canada. In fact, from April 2015 to March 2016, ICA recorded $96,000 worth of volunteer hours!
This fall, ICA volunteers are assisting with several ICA programs and services, including Career Mentoring, adult English language classes, Youth Services, Conversation Circles, One-on-One and Family matching for immigrants and refugees, and much more.
In September, ICA English language classes welcomed 62 new and returning Teacher's Assistants who provide tremendous support to teachers and students throughout the year. Our incredible youth program volunteers are assisting as tutors in our afterschool Homework Club, and mentors in our Social Meet-Up program. A wonderful group of volunteers who love to chat will visit once a week to lead conversation circles in our English language classes. These are just some of the programs volunteers are participating in, and we're off to a great start!
"One-Year-On" - Need for refugee sponsorship higher than ever
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager
On 20 September 2016, the Anglican Diocese of BC and ICA gathered to mark the first anniversary of the death of young Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi which had resulted in a huge surge in refugee sponsorship interest across Canada and here in Victoria. Last September, Canadians were shocked and moved by the magnitude of the refugee crisis which dominated the Canadian media for several months. Thousands of ordinary Canadians stepped up to privately sponsor refugees. The new Canadian Government elected in October 2015 started implementing its ambitious goal to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016.
During the event on September 20, the Anglican Diocese and ICA recapped the amazing response by Victorians who will have supported the resettlement of several hundred newcomers by the end of 2016. In addition, Victoria will also have welcomed over 300 Government-Assisted Refugees by year's end.
Over the last few months, however, interest in private sponsorship of refugees has declined across the country, including in Victoria. Both the Anglican Diocese and ICA are receiving many more requests for sponsorship from established and recently resettled residents than we have sponsors for. Almost every person recently resettled to Victoria has other family members that had to flee their home countries and who are now living in neighbouring countries in difficult circumstances.
Read more on our blog
|ICA's LINC program has a new collaborative approach
Submitted by Todd Kitzler, Language Services Manager
See the blog post here....
ICA's LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) program is starting the 2016-2017 school year this month. Classes started on September 12. ICA offers 26 classes in the morning, afternoon and evening from Literacy to advanced levels. There are currently 430 students enrolled. We would like to take this time to welcome all students back to school. This is an exciting year as LINC programs across BC and Canada are now implementing a new progression and exit assessment system. All classes at ICA are now using the Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) system, moving away from standardized tests. PBLA utilizes a collaborative approach to assessment that allows teachers and students to work together to meet learners' personal learning goals and chart their learning journey.
Assessment is integrated into the regular learning schedule, and once enough examples of students' language learning have been collected to indicate they have progressed, students are advanced to the next level and receive a certificate that documents this achievement. PBLA gives students more control over their own learning. It provides them with the tools necessary to make their own learning goals, develop learning plans, and monitor their own progress throughout their time in the LINC program. The LINC program at ICA looks forward to working with all our students to help them succeed in reaching their goals.
|Forgotten Corridors: Global Displacement and the Politics of Engagement
Never before in modern history have so many people been forced to leave their homes and journey abroad for temporary or permanent settlement. Much attention in the west has been directed at the steady flow of refugees leaving war-torn countries to end up on the shores of the Mediterranean. However, many of the displaced remain neglected or forgotten; travelling little watched corridors en route to temporary destinations in detention centers, refugee camps, or makeshift housing. These hierarchies of human mobility hide the precarious nature of the lives of millions of migrants, demanding attention and engagement to make meaningful transformations.
The Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria (
) will host the tenth annual CARFMS conference from May 15th to 18th, 2017 in beautiful Victoria, BC. Tables are available for organizations and/or causes related to the conference to display materials.
If you wish to apply for a table, please submit a brief outline of your organization, the materials you wish to display and whether you will have someone available to answer participants' questions regarding your organization, cause and/or campaign
|ICA congratulates the 2016 Diversity Scholarship recipients!
ICA and our Board of Directors would like to congratulate the 2016 Diversity Scholarship recipients! Congratulations to Amalee Danister for receiving a $1000 scholarship in the undergraduate category and Mehdi Hashemi for receiving a $1000 scholarship in the graduate category. Each year ICA receives scholarship applications from students who exemplify inclusivity and diversity within their communities, and we would like to acknowledge all applicants for the incredible work that you do!
Amalee Danister is a full time Business student at Camosun College. She is in her second year of a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a major in Finance/Accounting.
Amalee immigrated to Canada in 2011. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka. She was a Primary school Teacher and Indian Dancing Teacher in Sri Lanka. After her marriage, she went to Japan and lived there for 7 years. During her time in Japan, she enjoyed the rich Japanese culture and taught English to Japanese kids.
Whenever she gets time, she tries to help her community. She has volunteered at James Bay Community Closet for 1.5 years and now she is a volunteer at Victoria Police department.
Amalee is a single mother of a 7 years old daughter. Her beautiful daughter means everything to her.
Her career goal is to become self-sufficient and work in a financial institution as a financial planner.
Mehdi Hashemi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran where he went to high school (2004) and completed a BA degree in Political Science at the Azad University of Tehran (2008). Following his BA, he started a MA in International Relations at the Azad University of Tehran. However, before defending his thesis, he was forced to leave the country and seek asylum Turkey in 2010. After going through the UNHCR resettlement process, Mehdi landed in Canada in April 2012 and joined his family in Victoria, British Columbia. Upon his arrival, he started to learn English at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria and then at Camosun College. As an ESL student at the college, Mehdi had several awards and accomplishments. He was one of the winners of Diversity (short story) Challenge Award (2013), and his story titled 'The Only Way to My Dream' was published in an especial publication by the college named Voices of Diversity. He was also the nominated student speaker for School of Access Annual Awards (2013) and the winner of Annual ESL Student Writer Award (2013).
In 2014, he started his MA in Political Science at the University of Victoria and dedicated his research to issues of identity, integration, and inclusion. Mehdi completed his MA in April 2016, and has just started his PhD in political science at the University of Victoria, and is excited to continue his involvement in the promotion of cultural diversity of his community.
Read the article on our blog!
|Welcome to ICA, Kate and May!
Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator
I grew up in North Vancouver, BC, and completed my undergraduate degree in 2002 at the University in Waterloo with an Honours B.A. in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a business option. I spent time living and working in Ecuador and the Caribbean and then relocated to Victoria in 2005.
My work experience in Victoria includes positions at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria, Fairfield Gonzales Community Centre, the James Bay Community Centre, and most recently I was the Manager of the Victoria West Community Centre.
In May 2014, I began my Masters of Arts in Community Development through the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria. In September 2014, I moved to Trinidad and Tobago to complete my master's project with the United Way of Trindad and Tobago, developing an advocacy strategy to improve special education in the public school system. During this time, I also home schooled my two children MJ (10) and Leo (7) and we were active volunteers with the Healing with Horses Foundation. I recently returned to Victoria and upon completing my Masters began a contract as the Project and Research Coordinator with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. I am eager to contribute to the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria mandate as the Community Integration Coordinator.
May Shihadeh, Settlement Worker (Arabic and French speaking)
I immigrated to Canada in 1990. After living in Montreal, Quebec for one year I moved to Ontario to continue my education. That is where my journey of volunteering began.
I have volunteered at Grape View Elementary School for ten years, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Terry Fox Foundation - Terry Fox Run and Qamar Foundation. I have also advocated and fundraised for causes in Somalia, the Gaza Crisis and in Tanzania. As well as working with Elections Canada for nearly a decade, I have also advanced the work of the Niagara Regional Police through translation services.
I joined the Islamic Society of St. Catharines to help immigrants coming to Canada and that is where I discovered my passion for helping others in resettlement. Throughout my 13 years with the society I was involved in fundraising, youth programs, support and counselling for individuals to adjust in their new culture, Arabic language classes, and translation and interpretation services.
Recently, I moved to Victoria, BC and joined the Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants & Refugees. I became active in supporting four private sponsorship groups, am a member of BC Muslim Association Refugees Committee and was awarded with an outstanding volunteer award. Previous to working with ICA, I was part of their interpretation and translation team and was volunteering as a Community Facilitator in the Community Connections program.
Outside of my new role at ICA, I am also writing a book in Arabic for Culture Shock & Strategies for newcomers to Canada and in the process of developing a photo gallery to fundraise for the Syrian refugees.
Read the article from our
There is still time to register.
RIDE FOR REFUGE
is Saturday, October 1
Join ICA staff, volunteers, clients and board members on this family friendly bike-a-thon. Help us reach our goal by sponsoring a rider or joining one of our teams.
Weekly Settlement Orientation
Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria.
Available in English: Every Wednesday 12:30 - 2:30 pm
Availalbe in Mandarin: Wednesdays 9:30 am - 11:30 am, September 14-October 19
Available in Arabic on Wednesdays
12:30 - 2:30 pm August 3-September 7
Weekly homework club support for immigrant and refugee children and youth.
September 14 - December 14, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Covering topics such as feeding your baby, car seat safety, baby health, dental care, immunizations and parenting your baby. Fridays, September 30, October 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2016
10 am - 11:30 am
Cooking for Newcomers
A free cooking class - come and learn about Canadian Thanksgiving and sharpen your cooking skills
Wednesday, October 5
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Seniors Living Well in Community
Six fun-filled multicultural sessions about living in Victoria.
Tuesdays, 10 am - 12 pm
October 18 - November 22, 2016
My Tween and Men (in Arabic)
For Arabic-speaking parents of youth ages 7-12 years. Learn how to build connections with your child in a safe and supportive environment.
Wednesdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
October 4- November 15, 2016
Youth Employment Training
Youth learn about education and employment options.
Tuesdays, 4-6 pm
October 11 - December 13, 2016
Topics include changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; nutrition, diet, and lifestyle, and much more.
Fridays, November 18 & 25, December 2, 9 & 16, 2016
10 am - 11:30 am
Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests.
Two Fridays per month.
ICA Employment Services
If you are looking for employment or need to upgrade, ICA's Employment Services Centre can help!
This conference aims to provide an opportunity to come together and talk about the challenges and possibilities of leadership and activism.
October 13 - 15, 2016
Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon
St. Ann's Academy & the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM)
The annual Oktoberfest is coming to Oaklands community centre!
Saturday, October 1, 2016
5 pm - 11 pm
Oaklands Community Centre
Thanksgiving at Cook Street Village Community Centre
Bring your family and friends to a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Friday, October 7, 2016
Break out your best zombie costume for Victoria's annual zombie walk.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Pumpkin Express at Heritage Acres
Pumpkin carving, face painting, and more!
Friday, October 21, 2016
4:30 pm - 8:30 pm
One of Victoria's most popular Halloween events! Visit some of the most haunted sites in the city.
Wed & Thurs, October 26 & 27, 2016
VHPCC Annual Diwali Cultural Show
The Victoria Hindu Parishad & Cultural Centre is presenting its annual cultural show to celebrate Diwali.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
University Centre Auditorium at UVic