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An interview with Scott Smith on the importance of music and having fun
Submitted by Dean Yuan, Communications and Evaluations Intern

Scott Smith with some of the ICA childcare children

"Over the last 7 years we have been very fortunate to work with Scott, witnessing the gift he has to reach out to our children who are adjusting to their new life in Canada. To the children, Scott's class is the exciting time of their week where they laugh, sing and play musical instruments, but to the rest of the Childcare team we see how Scott also provides an opportunity for an education in creativity, collaboration and focus." Lori de Wet, Childcare Coordinator, ICA.
On a weekly basis for over 7 years, Scott Smith has been encouraging newcomer children to join him in music and play during their time at ICA's Childcare Program. He uses traditional North American songs and games to help the children become familiar with their new home. With over 30 years of experience teaching pre-school classes, he believes that singing and playing together have the capacity to build bridges between individuals and cultures. He is adamant that "people never stop benefiting from having fun. Read more here...
Youth Program Update: Musica and the universal language of music
Submitted by Lennard Fruehling, Youth and Family Support Services Coordinator

Pantea, daughter of Leila Safari

After walking into the room it took a couple of minutes until all the children had taken off their shoes, washed their hands and had a quick snack, and then the program quickly started with an opening song led by the lead facilitator, Nejama Ferstman.
There was a loud musical " hello" that was sung to everyone in the circle and as the call of " hello" travelled through the room, faces became brighter amongst the 11 children between the ages of 5 and 10 as every child was individually welcomed by the song. There was already a real sense of community in the room, and it was only the first session of the new Musica program at ICA.
Nejama Ferstman believes that music is a universal language, and seeing all the children from various cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds creating rhythms, chants, and songs together demonstrates how much connection there is between all members of the group, created in such a short amount of time.

CPN Update: Seminar on the cultural and faith practices of Syrian Refugees and Middle Eastern newcomers
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

The Community Partnership Network (CPN) recently hosted a half-day seminar that explored the cultural and faith practices of Syrian Refugees and Middle Eastern newcomers. More than 90 CPN members attended the session hosted at the Wingate Studio of the Pacific Opera Victoria. The CPN is a network of more than 230 local businesses, agencies and organizations. The CPN is coordinated by ICA and works with CPN members to promote diversity and inclusion by organizing education seminars, training workshops and sharing of resources. 

Read more about the CPN seminar here and check out photos from our Flickr page.

Belonging Storytelling Forums: I've Not Always Been Canadian
Are you a newcomer to Canada? A recently arrived refugee or immigrant, or one who arrived in the distant past?
As part of Canada's 150 year celebrations, we'd like to invite you to share your story of arrival and settlement in Canada at one of the four Storytelling Forums above. The reality of fully embracing a Canadian identity can be daunting and ICA wants to create a healthy space for newcomers and established immigrants to articulate what it means to "belong" and to be "Canadian" - what it feels like to be seen/not seen as "other" because of how one looks, talks or prays. 
Read the full description here or visit the  
Over 120 computers donated to newcomer immigrants and refugees!
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

ICA, in partnership with the BC Technology for Learning Society , has distributed over 120 desktop computers, free of charge, to resettled refugees and new immigrants in Greater Victoria. If you are an ICA client and resettled refugee or new immigrant, and you do not currently have a home computer please contact Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator at klongpre@icavictoria.org or 250-388-4728 ext. 167 by March 7, 2017 and you will receive a computer with the next order.
ICA would like to thank the BC Technology for Learning Society for their generous donations and for their assistance in creating warm and welcoming communities. .

Read more from our blog  here.  
Welcome to ICA Aly, Kimiya, and Nina
Aly Essa, Training Facilitator

Hi there, my name is Aly Essa and I am a first generation Canadian. My family is from East Africa and India. I completed a Bachelor of Arts, at the University of Victoria, majoring in History and Religious Studies. I have a background, as an educator, from my time working for Sprott Shaw College. I am passionate about fostering diversity within my community and very happy to join the ICA team as a facilitator. I also have a background in Hospitality and Tourism, as a local business owner, and am actively involved in the Victoria business community. My hobbies include playing squash, cooking, and everything to do with coffee Read the blog post here!

Kimiya Miisaghi, Job Developer
Hi! My name is Kimiya Missaghi and I am very excited to serve and support refugees and immigrants in their endeavours. I completed my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a specialization in Mental Health and Well-Being and I am currently pursuing a graduate degree program in Conflict Resolution. I have lived in and travelled to several countries and learning about other cultures is one of my passions. My experiences working with minority populations in job development include working with youth with developmental disabilities and/or mental health conditions. I am looking forward to supporting individuals from different backgrounds and learning from their experiences. When I am not working or studying, I am involved in community building activities, learning French, trying out recipes from different cultures, and staying active. See more from the blog.

Nina Poljak, Employment Facilitator

I have been working in the non-profit sector for over five years and I truly enjoy helping individuals overcome barriers in their community. Having immigrated to Vancouver Island from  Sarajevo, Bosnia as a young child, I have always found a connection with newcomers. I studied Sociology at Vancouver Island University (VIU) and completed a European Master's in Human Rights and Democracy in 2011. Shortly after completing my studies, I began work with the Immigrant Welcome Centre of North Vancouver Island (IWC) and later for two not for profit agencies in Vancouver. This experience has allowed me to see a wide spectrum of obstacles in our communities and I hope to use this knowledge, together with my counselling experience, in my role at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) to help newcomers establish their set goals. I love being a part of multicultural events and I look forward to being engaged in the Victoria community. I bring with me a ton of positive energy, compassion and my dog Mili! Check out the ICA blog post here.
In This Issue
An interview with Scott Smith on the importance of music and having fun
Youth Program Update: Musica and the universal language of music
CPN Update: Seminar on the cultural and faith practices of Syrian Refugees and Middle Eastern newcomers
Belonging Storytelling Forums: I've not always been Canadian
Over 120 computers donated to newcomer immigrants and refugees
Welcome to ICA Aly, Kimiya, and Nina
What's Happening?
Community Events

Have you seen Margriet Ruurs latest book? Written to the artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr. 
Purchase yours at 
ICA reception for $20. 



2017 Inter-Faith Calendar 
Price reduced to $15. 
Purchase available at ICA reception. 


What's Happening?  
Weekly Settlement Orientation 
Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria. 
February 8-March 15, 2017
Wednesdays 12:30 - 2:30 pm 

Rent Smart
Learn about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. 
March 20 - March 31, 2017
10 sessions
9 am - 10:30 am   

Citizenship Classes 
Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests. 
Two Fridays per month.    

Prenatal Classes
Topics covered include changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; nutrition, diet and lifestyle; labour and birth; breastfeeding and baby care; and hospital tours.  
February 24 - March 24, 2017
Fridays, 10 am - 11:30 am  

Youth Community Placement
8 week program for newcomer youth ages 15-25 to build bridges between the community.Make new friends and be an active citizen. 
February 7-March 28, 2017

A music group for children aged 6-9. 
Tuesday, February 14 - March 28
4 pm - 5 pm

CORE: Coping & Resiliency
For youth ages 16-24 focused on building the tools for self-care and well-being. 
Wednesdays, January 25 - March 29, 2017
4 pm - 7 pm

Seniors Walking Group
For 55+ who enjoy walking. Join our walking group and explore Victoria on foot.
February 7 - March 9, 2017
Tuesday & Thursdays, 10 am - 12 pm  

Federal Internship for Newcomers Program
Provides potential FIN program candidates with information about the program and application procedures.
Wednesday, March 16, 2017   

Newcomers & Self-Employment Program
Free 6 week session to help you explore self-employment.
Mondays & Wednesdays, March 6 - 22, 2017

ICA Employment Services
If you are looking for employment or need to upgrade, ICA's Employment Services Centre can help!  

C ommunity Events

Red Words: A Community Feast 
Open Space is hosting a community feast in honour of author and poet Lee Maracle. 
Wednesday, March 1
510 Fort Street
Admission by donation 
The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival Best of the Fest Tour
Every year VIMFF provides communities around the world with an exhilaratingselection of award-winning and critically acclaimed films.
Thursday, March 2
7 pm
UVic Cinecenta
3800 Finnerty Road

Black History Month Events
Celebrate Black History Month with various events bringing together communities and highlighting numerous special events and celebrations. 
February & March 2017

Join UVic thinkers, innovators and artists for a free, week-long festival of world-changing ideas. 
Monday, March 6
University of Victoria

International Women's Day
Event includes panel speakers, discussion, and history.
Saturday, March 11
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm 
Admission by donation

Skating in Colour
The Juan de Fuca Skating Club will be hosting an ice show like no other.
2 pm & 7 pm on Saturday, March 11
1 pm on Sunday, March 12

Welcome Day Celebration for Immigrants & Refugees 
Celebrate Victoria's diversity with this multicultural event that includes giveaways, international food, a craft fair dance, music, and other fun activities. 
Sunday, March 19
9 am - 4:30 pm
Victor Brodeur School
637 Head Street

Awakening Memory
Open Space is presenting an exhibition featuring Coast Salish artists focused on both customary and contemporary stories. 
Friday, March 24
7:30 pm
510 Fort Street

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