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A Mentorship Success
Submitted by Mirko Kovacev, Employment Facilitator

A group photo of some of ICA's Mentors during a Mentee-Mentor meeting earlier in 2014.

From the first meeting at the offices of ICA and onwards, it was clear that this was a mentorship match that was meant to be.


Alexis joined the Mentorship Program with the goals of learning more about the nursing profession in Canada, exploring career possibilities and receiving support in her integration efforts.

Alexis arrived in Canada from the Philippines in 2012, to pursue better career opportunities and to join her family. Having graduated from a nursing program with practical application of her skills and knowledge, she expected a smoother integration process, but instead faced frustrations in re-entering her career field. Alexis explained her frustration with a dichotomy, one that is familiar to many newcomers. On the one hand, due to the lack of credential recognition she experienced being underqualified for job positions within her career field, and at the same time being overqualified for opportunities outside of her career field.   


Sheila, a long standing Mentor with the Mentorship Program, understands the frustrations all too well. When Sheila arrived in Canada from the United Kingdom, the Canadian labour market landscape looked different, easier. Things seemed simpler. Having worked in the health field both in Canada and the United Kingdom, for over 30 years, Sheila has witnessed many changes in the nursing profession and is eager to help newcomers to learn about entering their career field, and being successful. Sheila says "It is a chance to meet people who aspire to be in the same position I was and offer advice and support. I enjoy seeing them succeed, eager to go back into their field."


Read more about Alexis and Sheila's match here.

A Heartfelt Thank you from the Childcare Team
Submitted by Lori de Wet, Childcare Coordinator
ICA childcare children say thank you!


ICA's childcare centre is a happy, joyful and bustling environment. However, children do leave our centre due to family reasons, often because they are starting kindergarten. As happy as we are for them to continue on their journey, it is still hard to say good-bye. Establishing a relationship with a child is a gift, one that evolves from invested time and gained trust. Sometimes a parent will return years later with their child to say hello and it is always wonderful for us to reunite with the child and parent. Sometimes we see past parents and children at ICA accessing other services or we may see them out in the community, often it may be years later but it is always lovely to re-connect with them.


With this in mind, I was thrilled to receive a phone call from Jinsoo Kim, owner of Sushi Matsuri in James Bay.  We had the pleasure of providing care for his son, Siheon for 2 years. In this time, we watched Siheon grow from a toddler to a big boy going off to kindergarten.


Jinsoo called to say he had a gift of a donation for ICA, a gesture to show his appreciation of the care his child received while attending our childcare centre years before. I was speechless. To hear from Jinsoo so many years later was very heartwarming as it reminded me that although our children leave and our families move on in their lives, they don't forget us.

ICA Upcoming Programs

Submitted by Amanda Gaunt, Training Coordinator


We are starting off 2015 with some great programs. We have something for everyone. Our Women's Group and Men's Group, both running for 6 weeks, are places to make friends while you learn some practical information to help you with your life in Victoria. 


Navigating Your Way is a new program we are offering that looks at your new cultural environment. It is a conversation about cultural adjustment and how you are adapting to the changes to your life here in Canada.


If you are thinking of becoming a citizen, you might find our Citizenship Preparation Class useful - lots of information about what you need to know and the process involved to get you started on the road to citizenship. On the other hand, if you are already on the road and are getting ready to write the citizenship test, then our Citizenship Test Preparation Class is just the thing for you! It is offered twice a month on Friday afternoons - a great chance to study.


Also, for higher level English speakers, we will once again offer our Public Speaking Class. It is a chance to build your confidence when speaking in front of a group.


Read more here.

Youth Programs Update

Submitted by Claire Kelly, Youth Settlement Worker


ICA youth studying at one of the Homework Clubs


Happy New Year from ICA youth services! The first few weeks of 2015 have already started out to be a great year.


Homework Clubs

Homework Club began in the second week of school and will continue until the end of June. Homework Club is for newcomer youth between 8 - 18 years of age and takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:00 - 5:30pm at ICA.


One-on-One Drop-In

Also on Tuesdays from 4:00 - 6:00pm, Claire will be available in the Youth Office for newcomer youth of any age to chat one-on-one about any issues going on in their life (school, family, work, culture) - no registration required, just ask for Claire at reception.


Youth Community Project

In February we are launching our Youth Community Project. This free 6-week program is for newcomer youth 15 - 25 years old to engage in the local community by working on a group project.Youth will gain leadership skills, interpersonal skills and new friends. Registration is required.


Kay becomes a dad! 

Finally, in addition to programs, youth services would like to announce that January 14, 2015 marked the beginning of SWIS/Youth Worker Kay Otani's journey into fatherhood with the birth of his son, Akira. Congratulations to Kay and his wife Yully on their new family. 

Local real estate agents connect with Victoria's Sikh community

Submitted by  Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator 


The Community Partnership Network (CPN) is a network of more than 170 local agencies, businesses and institutions committed to building diverse, welcoming and inclusive communities. CPN members are increasingly reaching out to engage with diverse and immigrant communities to build collaborative relationships with one another. An example of this is the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) "Lunch and Learn Event" held this past November 2014. 


This community engagement event was organized with the support of ICA and the CPN to provide an opportunity to broaden the knowledge of VREB members and build relationships with the Sikh community. Local real estate agents were hosted by the Khalsa Diwan Sikh Temple for an afternoon that included a presentation and tour of the temple followed by a tasty vegetarian lunch. Guests were welcomed by Mr. Paramjit Bhalla, past president of the Khalsa Diwan Sikh Society.

Members of the Victoria Real Estate Board and Sikh Temple at the Lunch & Learn event hosted by the Khalsa Diwan Sikh Temple.


Mr. Bhalla spoke about the history of the Sikh community here in the Greater Victoria region pointing out that the Sikh's community roots date back to 1904 and were followed with the establishment of the Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) at its Topaz Avenue location in 1912.


Read more. 

ICA welcomes new staff and practicum student

ICA is pleased to welcome new staff and casual staff Mwaku Malembe; Settlement Worker, Yupei Xia; Practicum Student and January Pastrano; Casual Childcare Worker. 

Mwaku Malembe, Settlement Worker
Mwaku Malembe, Settlement Worker

Hello! I am Mwaku Malembe, a new Settlement Worker at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA). I was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the heart of Africa. I am a compassionate father of three loving children. I speak and write French, English, Lingala and Kikongo. I moved to Montreal, Canada in 2000 as refugee claimant. A couple years later I received my Permanent Residence status.


While in Montreal, I volunteered to help welcome other new immigrants at La Maison de l'Amitie. After moving to Vancouver in 2005, I was excited to spend some of my time coaching soccer to children at the Britannia Community Services Centre and with the BC Soccer Association.  As well, I previously worked as a Settlement Worker for 2 years with the Richmond Multicultural Community Services (RMCS). I completed my BA degree in Community Services and Public Administration at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 2013.


Yupei Xia (Summer), UVic Child and Youth Care Practicum Student
Yupei Xia (Summer), Practicum Student Youth Services

Hi! I am Yupei Xia, a second year graduate student studying Child and Youth Care at Uvic. My last name-Xia means the season of summer in Chinese, so feel free to call me Summer instead.  I am doing my practicum at ICA in the area of working with immigrant youth from January to April. As an international student from China, my cross-cultural experience motivates me to work and grow together with immigrant youth from all ages.  I will be facilitating Homework Club, Youth Social Night and Youth Community Project for the next four months. This journey is an ongoing learning process for me to apply the theoretical knowledge I learned at school into practice and gain practical experience of working with youth from different cultures. I look forward to getting connected with youth who are interested in the youth programs offered at ICA.


In This Issue
A mentorship success
A heartfelt thank you from the childcare team
ICA Upcoming Programs
Youth Programs Update
Local real estate agents connect with Sikh community
ICA welcomes new staff and students
What's Happening?
Community Events



2014 President's Appeal 


Warm thanks to ICA donors that donated generously during the President's Appeal. 


What's Happening? 



 2015 Multifaith Calendars 

Calendars are on sale for $10. 

Call reception at 250-388-4728 ext. 0 or drop by ICA reception to pick up your copy. 

ICA Workshops & Programming



Mentorship Program

Career mentors help newcomers learn about career fields. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

10 am - 12 pm  

Learn more  


Women Living Well in Community

Six-session program for women.  

Tuesdays, January 27 - March 3, 2015

9:30 am - 11:30 am  

Learn more  


Baby Talk 

For new parents to learn about parenting, including development health and safety.  

January 23 - February 20, 2015

10 am - 11:30 am  

Learn more  


Newcomers & Self-Employment 

Six-session program to help explore self-employment with the guidance of experienced local business owners.   

February 16  - February 20, 2015

10 am - 11:30 am  

Learn more  


ICA Employment Services

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

Learn more  

Community Events



Provost's Diversity Research Forum

Theatre performances, keynote speakers and discussions on concepts of diversity. 
Thursday, January 29 
University of Victoria.




Maladjusted: The mental health system. The people. The play. 

Engages audiences with powerful images and narratives in a people's performance.    

Saturday, January 31, 2015
7:30 -10:00 pm 
Songhees Wellness Centre  




Black History Month Kick-Off 

Kick-off Black History Month at the library, including African hand drumming, connect with community and eat some delicious African snacks.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

11 am - 3 pm 

Central Branch, Greater Victoria Public Library

Learn more...



Health Wellness & Sustainability Festival  

Yearly celebration and education on all things leading to a healthier body and mind.   

Saturday, February 7, 2015

10 am - 5 pm 

Victoria Conference Centre 

Learn more....



Chinese New Year Gala Dinner

Come celebrate the Chinese New Year and Year of the Ram.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5:30 pm  

Don Mee Seafood Restaurant

Learn more....



"A Pioneering Black Artist in History"

Learn the story of Grafton Taylor Brown, first documented professional artist to make his home in Victoria, a presentation by UVic professor John Lutz.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

1:30 - 4:30 pm  

James Bay New Horizons, 234 Menzies St. 

See poster here.



Chinese New Year Parade

Celebrate the Year of the Ram and the Chinese New Year during this festive celebration in Chinatown, including dragon dances, traditional dances, kung fu and tai chi demonstrations and Chinese tea ceremonies. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

12 pm - 4 pm  

500 block of Fisgard St. Chinatown 

Learn more....



Victoria Film Festival  

20th Annual Film Festival including film, video and new media. 

February 6-15, 2015.





The Chance Lovett Quartet & Justin Carter

An evening of storytelling, gospel, jazz and blues. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

7 pm   

Belfry Theatre 

Event info here. 



African Spirit Night 

Celebrate culture, dance, African and Caribbean music plus West African food from La Caebasse du Nomade.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

9 pm - 2 am    

Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas St. 



Dine Around Victoria 

Tickle your tastebuds and dive into Victoria's culinary scene at over 60 participating restaurants offering three course menus for $20, $30, $40 & $50.

February 20 - March 9, 2015

Various restaurants in Victoria

Learn more....



Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown 

Enjoy over 30 sights and activities in Victoria for free or reduced rates.   

February 26 - March 1, 2015

Learn more....



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