Community Connections is a program that helps newcomers gain confidence in navigating the settlement process. We help develop positive relationships between the community and newcomers through presentations, events and outreach. We also connect with professional mentors and volunteer hosts and match them with newcomers. A main focus is to bring visibility to the Intercultural Society’s programs and services in order to connect with newcomers.
2015 brought weekly art-healing sessions to Mill Bay library, formed with a group of clients and community members. It proved so popular that it is still running today. Participants share their gifts of diversity, thereby gaining an understanding of how we have all come from somewhere. The group helps participants build confidence, and guides them in their stories through art expression.
Another undertaking of Community Connections is the yearly Global Art Project which matches groups of participants on seven continents in an art exchange that creates a culture of peace. For each of the last three years, CIS participants have created a work of art together which expressed their vision of global peace – in 2016 we exchanged with a group in Morocco.
Community Connections takes part in “The Good Old “Daze” event each July, organized by the Mill Bay/Malahat Historical Society (Bamberton Historical Society).
Something new to the program this year has been to offer conversation classes for the community in languages other than English. We have concluded our first six-week French course and are planning on courses in Spanish and any other languages that there is interest in and an instructor for. Please let us know.
“I loved the six evenings of beginner’s French! The instructor made it fun and travelled with us vicariously around various French speaking regions, pronouncing menu items and conversational phrases.”
During this fiscal year an important focus of Community Connections has been helping Syrian families adjust to their new lives in Cowichan by transporting them to appointments and classes; providing volunteer host families; gathering and distributing food items; orienting the families to the local food bank; and creating connections with other families in their neighbourhoods. One of many success stories is of a Syrian family who is passionate about food and has the knowledge and experience to prepare a large variety of cultural dishes. They have catered a number of meals during the last year including two for the Community Farm Store where CTV produced a video of the event.
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To take part in the Community Connections Program (as a participant or volunteer), please contact Francoise: firstname.lastname@example.org