Positivity Camp Unites Indigenous, Syrian, and
Non-Indigenous Youth
Submitted by Robin McGeough, Settlement Youth Worker

ICA, Power of Hope, and the ȽÁU, WELEW̱Tribal School recently had the great pleasure of hosting the first Positivity Camp for a group of 20 youth. The focus of the two-day retreat was building connections across different communities through creative expression, team-building exercises, and sharing cultural stories. What began as a quiet collection of strangers quickly became a community alive with laughter and positivity.

Hosted on the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ people, the weekend retreat sought to connect youth with their own cultural teachings and the teachings of others. Participants were challenged to use creative expression and trust to build understanding and resiliency within the group. As a testament to this resiliency and understanding, local elder Earl Claxton shared stories with the youth about the W̱SÁNEĆ name and history in the area, adding new context to familiar natural sights in the area.  

Over the two days, teachers and artists from the W ̱ S Á NE Ć community shared their skills and knowledge of cedar weaving, drumming, and dream catchers with participants. Youth attending from the Ƚ Á U, WEL EW ̱ Tribal School helped youth from outside the community understand the significance of features and functions of the traditional Longhouse where the weekend was held. Around the school, plaques and posters in the local W ̱ S Á NE Ć language highlighted the importance of connecting youth to their culture through the chance to learn and play.

Youth from ICA brought songs, dance, and stories from their home cultures, while giving Arabic lessons to facilitators and youth alike. Facilitators from each organization collaborated on a wide array of workshops, ranging from capoeira to crafting, yoga to drumming, forest bathing to hip hop.  

Community Partnership Network: The Power of Networks 
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator
Photos by Sid Emmanuel

Who are the people in your networks? What impact does networking have on newcomers looking for meaningful employment? Can networking help an organization looking to diversify and broaden community connections? 

These and other questions were explored at a February 15 diversity seminar organized by the Community Partnership Network (CPN) and the UVic Gustavson School of Business. More than 70 CPN members and newcomers attended the session at UVic to explore the power of networks and how they enhance and enable career success and organizational diversity.

Dr. Rick Cotton and Dr. Yan Shen of the Gustavson School of Business presented a unique networking tool they developed after years of research. A hands-on exercise using the networking tool invited participants to identify their Personal Board of Advisors (network of broad personal and professional networks) and the types of psychosocial and career supports inherent in networks. Participants came away with a deeper understanding of the key barriers and successes that newcomers and non-newcomers experience when developing personal networks.
News from ICA's SWIS Team
Submitted by Lisa Wang, Settlement Worker in Schools (SWIS) Coordinator

Our brand new SWIS team photo was taken for Chinese New Year!

As one of the initial members of ICA's SWIS (Settlement Worker in Schools) team, I have been privileged to see the development and growth of the program from the very beginning. It is still like watching a young child learning everything and becoming stronger every day.
Over the past few months, the SWIS program has undergone some exciting changes and developments. Thanks to available funding, ICA added a new position to the SWIS program, and I was honoured to take on the role of SWIS Coordinator. We also welcomed Megan Quigley and Julia Zhou to the SWIS team, while two of our former teammates moved on to other positions. 

Everyone on the SWIS team is very passionate about our work, and we understand how valuable the program is to immigrant students and families. Over the past couple of months, our team has been actively outreaching to the three school districts (90 schools) that partner with the ICA SWIS program. Activities include attending the SD 61 and 63 kindergarten registration information nights, collaborating with SD62 ELL (English Language Learner) teachers on information sessions for parents, and participating in ELL student and family potlucks and tea/coffee parties. We are also involved with the school homework club at SD63 and conduct individual school visits during kindergarten registration week.

Collaborating to Connect Government Assisted Refugees to Family Physicians in the CRD
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

Finding a family physician in Greater Victoria is a challenge for many families and individuals. Now imagine that you are a Government Assisted Refugee family, new to Victoria, with limited language ability, few community connections, and neglected healthcare needs as a result of displacement caused by the refugee crisis.

In an effort to help, ICA and the South Island Division of Family Practice are collaborating to connect Government Assisted Refugees to family physicians in the CRD.  Dr. Ryan Herriot is the most recent family physician in Victoria to accept a resettled refugee family into his practice. Dr. Herriot acknowledges that lack of experience in refugee health and the time it can take to address complex health issues may be seen as barriers to accepting resettled refugee patients.  However, Dr. Herriot believes that "the barriers to care are not so great. The Provincial Language Service medical translation line is fully funded and it works great. For the most part, the medical issues faced by resettled refugee patients are not unlike those of most patients in Canada." 

Dr. Herriot hopes other family physicians will step up and accept a resettled refugee family into their practices.  "We all need to do our part," he says.

We Speak Updates
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

University of Victoria students Jazz Chodak and Tanner Lorenson created a video to promote the We Speak Translate project to local businesses. Click here to view the video .

The We Speak Translate project was nominated by the United Way of Greater Victoria for the 2018 UNHCR Nansen Award

Since the project launch in April 2017, 1,600 participants have been trained across Canada. Training participants in February included the Victoria Conference Centre, School District 62 staff, attendees at the Welcome Day Celebration for Immigrants and Refugees, and the Local Immigration Partnerships in the Atlantic region. 

To organize a We Speak Translate in person or webinar training session, contact ICA's Community Integration Coordinator, Kate Longpre at  klongpre@icavictoria.org.

See a Need and Act on It: Working Group on Resettlement Meetings in Germany
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager

An historic photo of the reception centre for displaced persons in
Friedland, Germany.

"See a Need and Act on It" is the general motto of the German Caritas Association, co-chair (along with the German Government) of the 2018 Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATCR) and Working Group on Resettlement (WGR). The winter meetings of the WGR took place February 21-23, 2018 in two German locations: The small town of Friedland, where an historic emergency and reception centre for displaced persons has been located since the end of WWII, and in Berlin, Germany's vibrant capital. 

Following a welcome session, tour of the Friedland reception centre, and tour of the fascinating museum of Friedland's history, WGR participants departed by train for Berlin. 

In Berlin, the first day was dedicated to the pre-existing Working Group on Integration of resettled refugees, and the second day focused on the launch of a new Working Group on New Partnerships in recognition of one aspect of the Global Compact of Refugees that is currently being negotiated internationally under the leadership of the UN Refugee Agency. At the WGR in Berlin, the new partnership focus was on private and community sponsorship, and Canada naturally featured prominently in these discussions as an early adopter of such programs. The new Working Group on New Partnerships will consider how best to foster and build partnerships to increase and strengthen opportunities for resettlement and other humanitarian admission pathways.

As ICA's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager, I represented the Canadian Council for Refugees at the WGR, and I moderated a workshop on addressing the effects of traumatic experiences in the context of integration. 

Sabine storyboarding at a communication workshop on building support
when introducing community sponsorship

Sabine (second from the left) moderating a workshop on addressing the effects of traumatic experiences in the context of integration.

Welcome to ICA: Julia, Julissa, and Lucy
Julia Zhou

My name is Julia Zhou and I am a new Settlement Worker in Schools (SWIS) at ICA. 

I was born in Beijing and I have studied and lived in the United Kingdom.  I have an MA in HRM from the University of Teesside and many years experience in international working environments. I have a good understanding of intercultural relations and experience handling cross-cultural conflicts. I have self-studied Positive Discipline Methodology and participated in related trainings. I am also interested in children's education. In China, I was in charge of the graduates career-orientation programs. 

In Canada, all of this experience has transferred into a desire to help new immigrant children fit into school and live smoothly in Victoria.  I like this quotation from Robert Baden-Powell: "The most worthwhile thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others. Leave this world a little better than you found it." I wish to use my knowledge and experience to help more people in needs in Victoria. In my spare time, I love yoga, hiking, and travelling .

Julissa Bernal-Mora
Hello! My name is Julissa Bernal-Mora and I am a new Settlement Worker at ICA. 

I am originally from Mexico, where I received my education degree and worked in the education field for many years. I immigrated to Canada six years ago, and ICA was my savior. ICA was my first opportunity to be part of a multicultural community, and I fell in love with the idea of diversity and multiculturism. I decided to follow my new passion and work toward for a second degree related to multicultural societies. I worked as a volunteer for some not-for-profit organizations and as a freelance Spanish teacher. I was recently accepted to UVic after completing my level 12 in English and first- and second-year university courses at Camosun. 

Working as a Settlement Worker at ICA is a dream come true, and it is the beginning of my new professional career in Canada, a country that I love and I am pleased to live in with my three dynamic teenage sons, my amazing husband, and my lovely dog Vanilla.

Lucy Hagos
My name is Lucy Hagos and I am a new Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) Worker at ICA. 

I moved to Canada in September 2014 as an international student, and I have lived in Victoria ever since. My most recent professional experience comes from working with vulnerable populations facing homelessness. My work history also includes serving as an international student coordinator at the University of Victoria. 

As an Eritrean who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, I have gained experience in different cultures and languages, which, ever since then, has inspired my drive to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. The status of being an immigrant has always been a part of my family since we had to move countries often. I have recently been granted permanent status in Canada, which means for the first time in my life, I have a place to call home.

Helpful Resources to Increase Your Employment Opportunities
Submitted by Ai Sakamoto, Employment Services Coordinator

2018 has been a very busy and exciting time for the ICA Employment Services team. As a result, more resources and programs are now available to help improve your employment success.

Career Path for Skilled Immigrants (CPSI)
CPSI assists permanent residents to re-enter their pre-arrival occupation in Canada. If you are:
  • A Permanent Resident in the last 5 years or thereabouts
  • Unemployed or employed in work that is not aligned with your skills and experience
  • Looking for support in entering your career field or looking to change your career field
Contact us by email or get more information by clicking here

BC JobConnect

BC JobConnect is a web-based, self-marketing tool to showcase your resume/CV. This registry is specifically intended to match newcomers with BC employers interested in hiring newcomers. If you are:
  • Currently looking for work
  • New to Canada within the last 5 years and have a PR #

*Please select "ICA (Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria)" to answer the question of "How did you hear about us?"

For more information and assistance with registration, please drop by or call ICA Employment Services at 250.388.4728 ex.144.

Manufacturing Production Worker (MPW) Training & Job Placement Program

The ICA Employment Services team in collaboration with the BC Alliance for Manufacturing is offering the MPW training program starting on March 19. The MPW program provides:

8 weeks of full-time training, including essential skills, soft skills, and job-specific skills, as well as First Aid and WHMIS certifications; and 

Full-time employment in the manufacturing/production sector upon completion of the training.

The MPW program is open to permanent residents or Canadian citizens who are currently unemployed and are able to commit to full-time training and full-time employment. CLB level 4 or in LINC level 5 or higher is required.

To register or for more information, please join the information session on February 28 or March 7, 3:15 pm - 4 pm, or contact Ai Sakamoto, Employment Services Coordinator, by email at  asakamoto@icavictoria.org or by phone at 250.388.4728 ex. 175.

...and most importantly, please spread the word!

Did you know that ICA is a Work BC centre? We have a full suite of services for all your employment needs. 
In This Issue
Positivity Camp Unites Indigenous, Syrian, and Non-Indigenous Youth
Community Partnership Networks: The Power of Networks
News from ICA's SWIS Team
Collaborating to Connect Government Assisted Refugees to Family Physicians in the CRD
We Speak Updates
See a Need and Act on It: Working Group on Resettlement Meetings in Germany
Welcome to ICA: Julia, Julissa, and Lucy
Helpful Resources to Increase Your Employment Opportunities
What's Happening?
Community Events
Multifaith Calendars for Sale 
ICA has 2018 Multlifaith Calendars for sale at our main reception. T he  calendars  cost $10 each. Developed by the

What's Happening?  
Citizenship Classes 
Help for applicants who are preparing for the citizenship test. 
Two Fridays per month.
Learn More...    

Pre-Natal Classes
Information about changes to a woman's body during pregnancy, fetal development, and nutrition, diet, and lifestyle.
10 am - 11 am
Fridays,  March 2, 9, 16, 23, 2018

Settlement Orientations in English
Learn important information about Victoria
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm 
Wednesdays, February 28, March 7, 14, 21, 2018

Women's Health & Yoga Group
Learn about staying healthy and practice some beginner-friendly yoga.
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Learn more...

Job Search for Newcomers
Employment workshops for newcomers.
Tuesdays, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Thursdays, 9 am - 12 pm  
March 6 - 22, 2018
Learn more...

Homework Club 
Safe place to work on your homework for children and youth ages 6-18.
3:30 - 5:30 pm
Wednesdays, September 2017 - June 2018

The Meet Up
A free weekly program for newcomer teens ages 13 - 19.
4 pm - 7 pm
Fridays, September 2017 - June 2018

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

Community Events
Refugee Fundraising Dinner - Korean Dinner and Cultural Celebration
Korean-themed fundraiser for Kalmo Refugee Support Group for Somalian refugees.  
Saturday, March 3, 5-8 pm
First Met United Church, 932 Balmoral Road
Adult $30; Teen $20; Child $10; Family (2 parents + child) $60

Women and Islam
Learn about the role of women in the Muslim faith and have your questions answered.  
Friday, March 9, 1-3 pm
Cook Street Village Activity Centre,
380 Cook Street

Author's Banquet - Jan Wong
Author Jan Wong will be talking about her latest book: Apron Strings
Saturday, March 10 (time and location TBA)

St Patrick's Day Celebration
Celebrate this Irish traditional holiday with a delicious lunch & entertainment. All ages.
Thursday, March 16, 12:30-2:30pm
Cook Street Village Activity Centre
380 Cook Street
Members: $12, General: $15 (please buy tickets by March 13)
Learn more...  
email:  programmer@csvac.ca