Culture Day 2019
Submitted by Sika Patton, Head Language Instructor

 
On March 15, LINC students in morning and afternoon classes came together to celebrate cultural diversity. The annual event, called Culture Day, is a chance to share and learn about different cultures. Students, representing more than 20 countries, outdid themselves in this remarkable event. 



They set up tables with art, handicrafts, pictures, games, and delicious food. Around the room, many students mingled in beautiful traditional clothes from their countries. Attendees could stroll through the room munching on pakoras, dolmades, banana chips, sweet potato noodles, red bean buns, injera bread, and more!   



Students displayed elaborately painted dishes, intricate paper cutting, and delicate crochet. A painter from France shared his artwork and the message behind it. A group of students from Eritrea roasted beans to make fresh coffee. Chinese students explained some of the concepts of Mah Jong. Students from Thailand showed examples of fruit carved into works of art. A student from Iraq showed a slide show and talked about some of the ancient art found in that country. 



Then, everyone sat down to enjoy dancing and singing by students from China, Columbia, Palestine, Eritrea, Syria, and Mexico. To finish, teachers invited students to join in singing the Canadian version of "This Land is Your Land." 

It was very impressive event and wonderful to see all the beauty, skill, and talent that LINC students brought forward on this day.  
Committee call for seniors: The Value of Aging Across Cultures
Submitted by  Paulina Grainger, Arts and Outreach Coordinator

Call for a Vibrant & Committed Senior Committee

ICA is looking for a vibrant and committed working group of 6-8 seniors, from different backgrounds and walks of life, to inform our latest Arts Project: The Value of Aging Across Cultures: A Book of Images Celebrating Aging

We live in a youth-fixated world where too many older adults feel invisible, dimini shed, and devalued. Almost every stereotype we associate with being elderly is negative. In fact, according to some researchers, ageism is more pervasive and "accepted" than stereotypes based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. 

We'd like to start de-bunking some of these misconceptions by creating positive, genuinely satisfying, realistic images of aging, in all its complexities, in addition to facilitating wide-reaching conversation about cross-cultural perceptions and experiences of aging.
 
Are you a senior who would like to be a part of a committee and project whose objective is to have our community re-evaluate its ageist attitudes and adopt attitudes of respect and caring? If so:
 
What:  Join us for an overview of our project: The Value of aging Across Cultures: A Book of Images Celebrating Aging
 
Who:  Self-identifying senior men and women from a cross-section of cultural backgrounds, varying life experiences, and walks of life.
 
When:  Thursday April 11, 2019
Overview: 2 pm - 3 pm 
Follow-up Interviews:  3 pm - 5 pm
 
Where:  ICA's Administrative Offices, 201-1806 Vancouver St. (At North Park St.)
 
How:  Please RSVP your attendance to Paulina Grainger, ICA Arts and Outreach Coordinator,  pgrainger@icavictoria.org
 
An honorarium will be provided to the selected committee members.
 
Note:  Please ensure you are available for at least for two committee meetings in April and to take part in three Community Cross-Cultural Dialogues in May, 2019. Dates for the meetings will be set according to the committee's availability.
 
Aligned with ICA's mandate, this project aims to create a space for people of all backgrounds, regardless of colour, race, sexual orientation, religion, and culture.
 
This project is generously funded by the New Horizons for Seniors Program.


Man @ The Airport: One Man's Story; A Nation's Tragedy


Syrian refugee Hassan Al Kontar became a media sensation last year after he found himself living in the arrivals terminal of a Malaysian airport. Al Kontar quickly realized that his situation was not because of who he was personally; it was because he carried a Syrian passport. Al Kontar spent seven months at the airport and two months in detention before finally being allowed to come to Canada in November 2018. 

In this presentation, Al Kontar will talk about what he learned as a result of his experience, focus on the plight of refugees around the world, and discuss how individual Canadians can make a difference.
 
Thursday, April 11, 2019
5 pm - 6:30 pm
David Lam Auditorium 
A144 MacLaurin Building
University of Victoria
Register here by April 10. 

A small change to Tapestry 


We have made a small change to Tapestry. Instead of being delivered to you at the end of the month, Tapestry will now be published at the beginning of the month. It still features the same great stories and news from ICA that you have come to expect, but the issue will be titled for the upcoming month rather than the previous month. 

Thank you! 
 
Swinging Spring Soirée 
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager



You are invited to join the Harbour of Hope Refugee Assistance Society for its the second fundraising event, the Swinging Spring Soirée, on April 12, 2019, from 7 pm to 10 pm at the Odd Fellows Hall. 
 
Up in the Air Trio and the world-renowned violin virtuoso, Sari Alesh, will be performing at this exclusive gathering in an historic space, where levity meets inspiration to create hope, positive change, and community. In addition to the live music, there will be Global Cuisine & Libations and a silent auction.
 
Come celebrate with us and meet relatives of our sponsored families, as we join forces and resources to sponsor and support refugees in their successful integration to life in Canada. Help us make a ripple of positive change in our community and the world. 
 
If you are not able to attend the event, but still want to donate the price of a ticket (or any amount) to lend your support, the EventBrite ticket link below offers that option.
 
Saturday, April 12, 2019, 
7 pm to 10 pm 
Odd Fellows Hall 
1315 Douglas St.
Get your tickets here
An evening of theatre and conversation with Theatre Mada
Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts and Outreach Coordinator, and Sheryl Sackman, Development Coordinator


What is more difficult: to stay in danger with your loved ones or to live alone in safety? Adrenaline follows one man for one night, getting ready to celebrate his first New Year's Eve in Canada after leaving his war-torn home in Syria. Using objects he has around the house, he unpacks memories of war, and tries to understand the price he has had to pay for his safety in Canada.

Join us on Saturday, May 4, 2019 for an evening of theatre and conversation with Theatre Mada. Ahmad Meree has written and performs a powerful production at Metro Studio (Quadra and Johnson). The performance will be followed by a conversation with the artist. 

Adrenaline is performed in Arabic with English subtitles. Proceeds of this event will support ICA's work connecting people across cultures. Please note: This play contains stories of war and loss and may be disturbing for some viewers

ICA's CEO Jean McRae will host the evening and provide her thoughts on ICA's work supporting immigrants and refugees. 

Thank you to Intrepid Theatre for bringing this amazing performance to Victoria. Thank you to our in-kind supporters: Silk Road Tea and Saraya Hot Bread 
Light snacks will be available. 

Don't miss this incredible performance. Buy your ticket(s) today! 

Saturday, May 4, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Metro Studio Theatre
1411 Quadra Street
Tickets are available here

We look forward to seeing you on May 4!
Youth supporting youth: Interview with volunteer Colin Baldwin
Submitted by Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services

For nearly five years, Colin Baldwin has volunteered in ICA's afterschool Youth and Family Services Program, which provides mentoring, academic, and social integration support for immigrant children and youth. Colin brings such compassion, kindness, and commitment to kids he works with each week. 

About Colin: he grew up in Victoria, attended the University of Victoria and is currently pursuing his entrepreneurial passions in clothing, fashion, and embroidery. 

Here he speaks with Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services.

Why do you volunteer with ICA?
It was 4 ½ years ago, I was 18 and just out of high school and going into university at the time. I started thinking about how lucky I was to be able to go to university and how my parents were able to support me. I was really feeling like I should do something to help out somewhere. 

I had never volunteered before, so my ideas around volunteering were kind of vague, and I really didn't know where to start. When I contacted ICA, I learned about their afterschool programs for immigrant children and youth. When I started working with the kids, I was super nervous, but it was really fun and a different type of responsibility for me. For the first time, I was like a role model. 

I think there's a lot of power in just being there for kids. They need to be heard and listened to. It's important to get that dialogue going with them by asking the right questions and then listening. I do it because it's the right thing to do with my Wednesday afternoons. It's awesome and a great pillar of my week.
 
How do you feel after your Wednesday with the kids?
I feel a lot of things. It's cool. I'm always energized. It's exciting because it's never exactly the same. It's kind of like...you filter out all that other stuff you've been thinking about all week, and you go into this state where you're helping kids, and at the end of it, you just sort of feel a clear mind, like when you've done yoga - clear and more focused.

Read more, including how volunteering at ICA has impacted Colin's life. 
 
Photo: Josh Tanasichuk
Mountains of fun on ICA youth snow day trip
Robin McGeough, Settlement Youth Worker



As the sun gleamed between the branches of the black spruce on a surprisingly balmy March afternoon, Dianne and I stopped to catch our breath. Ahead of us lay a vista of peaks in Strathcona Park. Beneath us were our own two feet strapped into bright red snowshoes, floating on top of two metres of powdery snow. Behind us, an orchestra of crunches and laughter from our friends and volunteers.
 
"I almost didn't come," Dianne said to me in confidence. Asking her why, she mentioned that trying new things can be scary. It wasn't until she Googled what the sport entailed and saw some pictures that she felt comfortable to give it a shot. Just as I was about to mention how proud I was of her for leaning into her discomfort, a snowball whizzed through the air, smacked me on the ear - and required some retaliation. 
 


As youth workers, moments like this are what make our work so gratifying. There is real magic in seeing youth expand the realm of possibility for themselves by accepting new challenges. For our 22 youth, our trip to Mt Washington was a celebration of spring, the accomplishment of a new challenge, and a chance to play in the snow like any other youth on their spring break. 

To set the stage for our adventure, our trip originated from a few enthusiastic conversations with Karun Thanjavur and Catrin Brown, members of the Vancouver Island chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada. Their experience and wisdom leading outdoor programs supported our dream of finding a suitable adventure for our Meet Up Youth Group. Over the last few months, members of our youth group have been learning about the area, talking with local experts about the how-to's of snowshoeing and learning about dressing for winter sports. 
 


After months of prep, we hit the dusty trail on March 17 bright and early to get to the hill in time for a day of snowshoeing, tobogganing, and snowball hurling. Gathering our wits and our gear, we snaked our way through the glades near Raven Lodge for a few hours, reveling in the silence of the mountains and the chirp of the whiskey jacks. Adjusting layers of clothing during an activity is almost a sport in itself, and our group learned a lot about what it means to keep climate controlled while on an adventure. 
 


For Canadian and newcomer youth alike, there is something universal about snow days - the play, the relief, the joy. At the same time, part of the magic of this day was seeing our youth out in the world, making new friends, and unconsciously challenging the notion that outdoor adventures are for the privileged few. For those who might not see themselves represented in the kinds of communities who are lucky enough to access these natural spaces, it was a welcome injection of diversity. We are out here, and we're having a blast! 
 
Our trip would not have been possible without the generosity of Power to Be, who lent us boxes and bags filled to the brim with snowpants, shoes, gloves, and hats to keep us comfortable. We are also grateful for the volunteers from the Alpine Club and ICA who donated their time and energy to keep us safe and amazed. We must also give thanks to the K'omoks and Kwakwaka'wakw peoples for access to their homelands on which we visited. 

Stay tuned for more natural adventures from the Youth and Family Services team. 
Welcome to ICA: Jennifer and Rose

Jennifer King, Training Facilitator
My name is Jennifer King and I am the Training Facilitator at ICA. I'm very excited to return to ICA as a training facilitator. I believe that this position is a great match for my educational, professional, and personal background. 

I hold a bachelor of arts in psychology and will complete my master's degree in education in April 2019. In 2016, I had the opportunity to assist staff in planning, designing, and facilitating training and education workshops for VIRCS.  Over the past year, I have been a volunteer counsellor and recently finished my group facilitation training program for a local counselling centre. I was also a student facilitator for the Victoria International Student Program. 

Given my experience working with a diverse population and my area of mental health, I believe building social connections and increasing cultural integration will bring people together and enhance newcomers' overall well-being.
Rose McDonald, Finance Manager

My name is Rose McDonald and I am the Finance Manager at ICA. I have a very large family and came to live in Victoria at a young age. Then I ventured to live in the South Pacific for 20 years before returning to Victoria.

My ventures have given me a great respect for other cultures and an opportunity to meet many amazing people.  I have a very diverse business background and believe that accounting is one of the lucky positions in an organization, because it connects with each department in many ways.

I am grateful for this opportunity to join ICA and I look forward to meeting my fellow co-workers, students, volunteers, and all the other interesting people I know will help me to learn more about the ICA community.
A Natural Integration: Robin McGeough
Submitted by Quinton Gordon, Manager, Strategic Engagement


 
" While it might be easier to open up a classroom and have a formal discussion about how people are settling, I much prefer the crunch of a wooded path or the rhythm of the tide to provide our youth with space to process ."
 
From youthful adventures in the creeks and forests of his family's acreage near Calgary, to the West Coast trails of Vancouver Island, Robin McGeough has found connection and community through being outdoors in nature. Now as a Youth Settlement Worker at ICA, Robin is helping others to feel invited into the outdoors by making nature an accessible and welcoming place for people of diverse backgrounds, identities, and abilities.
 


McGeough grew up spending time in the mountains outside of Calgary, Alberta, with summertime adventures at his grandparents' home here on Vancouver Island. Being on the coast inspired a love of the marine environment and his sights were set on becoming a marine biologist until, on a school trip to Tanzania, he discovered a passion for human rights advocacy and a desire to have a positive impact on the communities he found himself travelling in.
 


Graduating from Queen's University with a major in global development studies and a minor in geography, McGeough took a critical look at what it really meant to be "helpful" and what "aid" looked like from a grassroots perspective. Working on a micro-finance program with Peruvian farmers, he was immersed in an inter-cultural environment of community partners and went on to do his master's degree in curriculum, teaching and learning studies at the University of Toronto, writing his thesis on the importance of understanding cross-cultural dynamics in health education in South Africa.


Stay up to date: Follow ICA on social media! 
 

With so much happening at ICA every day, and so many ICA team members involved in community events and activities, it is hard to keep up! 
 
An important part of feeling like you belong in a community is knowing what is going on and being able to participate in activities that are interesting to you. 
 
ICA can help you stay on top of what is happening in our community - just follow our social media channels! 
 
From Community Partnership Network seminars, ICA events and workshops, We Speak Translate training, and ICA job postings to the latest to news, events, and festivals with a multicultural theme - you'll find it by following us on:   
 
Facebook,   Twitter ,  and  Instagram .  


 
Employment resources 


Did you know?

ICA is a Work BC Employment Services Centre? We have a full suite of services for all your employment needs, including a variety of workshops and programs.

 
In This Issue
Culture Day 2019
Call for senior committee
Man @ The Airport
A small change to Tapestry
Swinging Spring Soirée
Theatre Mada comes to Victoria
Interview with volunteer Colin Baldwin
Youth snow day trip
Welcome to ICA: Jennifer and Rose
Inter-Connections: Robin McGeough
ICA on social media
Employment resources
What's happening at ICA?
Community events
What's happening at ICA?  
   
Citizenship Classes 
Help for applicants who are preparing for the citizenship test. 
 
Settlement Orientations in English
Learn important information about Victoria and Canada.
Wednesdays, 1pm - 3 pm
April 3, 10, 17, 24, 2019
 
WORC for Women
Workplace Occupational Readiness and Connections (WORC) for Women Program provides 8 weeks of part-time, in-class training, plus workplace experience / job placement and employment counselling and support.
Start date to be announced. For more information, call 250-388-4728 ext 141
or email Laura Guarin, Employment Services Case Manager.
  

Women's Health and Yoga Group
Come and practice yoga. Beginners welcome. Learn about how to stay healthy. Registration required at ICA reception. Daycare is not available. LINC 2 or higher required.
Wednesdays, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2019
June 5, 2019 


Mentorship Program
Mentoring matches skilled immigrants with local professionals in related careers to help them learn about their professions in Canada.
 

Prenatal Class
Information about changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; nutrition, diet, and lifestyle; labour and birth; breastfeeding and baby care; and hospital tour.
Fridays, 10 am - 11:30 am
May 24, 31, 2019
June 7, 14, 21,  2019


Mom and Baby English Class
Come and learn English with your baby! Make friends and learn about the community in these special classes for moms.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
May 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30, 2019
June 4, 6, 2019


Youth Home Alone
Learn how to stay safe at home with information about home and fire safety, dealing with strangers, snack and meal preparation, emergency procedures, and first aid. Note: This course does not certify participants to babysit other children. Registration fee $10. Registration at ICA reception.
3:30 pm - 7 pm 
April 5, 2019

The Meetup Youth Drop-in 
Bi-weekly social program for newcomer youth ages 16 to 21. 
Tuesdays, 3:30 pm - 7:00 pm    
Learn more   

The Landing Spot 
Free drop-in program for newcomer youth aged 8-13 and 14-18+. One-on-one homework support, games, arts, sports activities.  Registration required. 
Wednesdays, 3:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Continues until June 26 

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

Community Events

Man @ The Airport: One Man's Story; A Nation's Tragedy
Syrian refugee Hassan Al Kontar became a media sensation last year after he found himself living in the arrivals terminal of a Malaysian airport. In this presentation, Al Kontar will talk about what he learned as a result of his experience, focus on the plight of refugees around the world, and discuss how individual Canadians can make a difference.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
5 pm - 6:30 pm
David Lam Auditorium 
A144 MacLaurin Building
University of Victoria
Register here by April 10. 


Swinging Spring Soirée
You are invited to join the Harbour of Hope Refugee Assistance Society for its the second fundraising event.  Up in the Air Trio and the world-renowned violin virtuoso, Sari Alesh, will be performing at this exclusive gathering in an historic space, where levity meets inspiration to create hope, positive change, and community. In addition to the live music, there will be Global Cuisine & Libations and a silent auction.
Saturday, April 12, 2019
7 pm - 10 pm 
Odd Fellows Hall 
1315 Douglas St.
Get your tickets here


Chrissy's Afro-Textured Hair Adventure Story
You're invited to join Nichola Watson in celebrating the launch her new book. Contact nicholawatson@gmail.com for more information.
Sunday April 28, 2019
3 pm
Esquimalt Recreation Centre
1151 Esquimalt Road


An Evening of Theatre and Conversation with Theatre Mada 
What is more difficult: to stay in danger with your loved ones or to live alone in safety? Adrenaline follows one man for one night, getting ready to celebrate his first New Year's Eve in Canada after leaving his war-torn home in Syria. Adrenaline is performed in Arabic with English subtitles.
Saturday, May 4, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Metro Studio Theatre
1411 Quadra Street
Tickets are available here.