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Youth Champions of Diversity Recognized by Police
Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

ICA staff with youth. From left to right:
Steven Baileys, Claire Kelly, Monica Domasig, Vale Fortin, Brad Garcia

The ICA Safe Harbour: Youth Champions of Diversity luncheon event was hosted March 19 at the James Bay New Horizons Centre. In collaboration with the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC), ICA and the Safe Harbour Program recognized youth in our community who promote diversity and inclusion. Eight youth groups received bursaries from the GVPDAC and the region's police services for the work they do to combat discrimination and build better, more inclusive schools and communities. The GVPDAC is a committee comprised of community and police representatives from Victoria, Saanich, Central Saanich, Oak Bay Police Services and the RCMP. The GVPDAC's mandate is to increase understanding and improve relationships between police and our diverse community.


Members from the Safe Harbour and Community Partnership Networks also attended the luncheon to celebrate the commitment of youth to combat discrimination. The youth groups who received bursaries came from a range of schools and organizations from throughout the Greater Victoria region including....

"Stop Speaking For Us" Meharoona Ghani Speaks Out 
Submitted by Meghan Mergaert, Development Manager

On March 19, Meharoona Ghani shared her perspectives on the right to wear a hijab in court and Canada's proposed controversial anti-terrorism bill (Bill C-51) in the Vancouver Observer. Read full article here.

ICA is proud to know Meharoona Ghani as a former ICA volunteer and presenter at the 2013 Community Partnership Network Diversity Summit. Meharoona is active as a Community Engagement & Diversity Specialist, Public Speaker, Writer, and Educator. 
Meharoona was the former director of multiculturalism and anti-racism programs for eight years in the BC provincial government where she led the creation of EmbraceBC. ICA received multiple grants through EmbraceBC for innovative community and arts engagement programs such as Arrival: Stories, Mask & Movement, Interlaced: Living Our Faith Through Stories, Inside Community: Four Cultures in Images, Voice & Place: Culture, Community & Belonging,and Interfaith Bridging: Food, Faith and Community. 

Many of these projects provided a safe space for newcomers and long-term residents of Canada to share experiences, learn about one another and continue to build welcoming and strong communities.   

"Working It" ICA's Employment Services

Submitted by John Di Tecco, ICA Tapestry Volunteer 

Edited by Mirko Kovacev, Employment Facilitator


ICA's Employment Services is changing the lives of newcomers living in the Greater Victoria Area. The culturally sensitive and newcomer-focused services have enabled clients to reach their potential and fulfill their career goals, providing them with stepping stones to successful integration.


In the first two and half months of 2015, over 50 clients have found employment with the help of ICA Employment Services; mostly in career fields that match their foreign acquired credentials and experiences. Clients have found employment in positions such as a Lab Technician, Project Engineer, Financial Analyst, Municipal Engineer Technologist, Registered Nurse, Accountant, and as a Driving Instructor.

Staff members from the Employment Team

Building on the Employment Services' successes, Khalil's efforts, supported with case management, workshop participation, and job development, paid off at the beginning of March with a job offer. Khalil is now employed and shared his feedback on the services and support received from ICA, as
"I am so thankful [for ICA's] expertise and experience... I truly admire the support and networking contacts [that ICA] has given me during this time."  Read more here.
Volunteers Help Newcomers Fulfill Desire to Learn 

Submitted by Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services


If you have ever tried learning a new language, you'd agree that it can be quite challenging. And, when you add the extra layer of immigrating to a new country, with a new culture, and new everything, it's a whole other ballgame. Learning to speak the language of your new residence becomes the key to your entire future, including opening up doors to job opportunities, friendships and many day-to-day social interactions, such as going to the grocery store, the bank, or  meeting the teachers at your children's school.


Conversation Circle volunteers: Mary Lou, Jessie and Pauline

The Conversation Circles Program is a new service launched by Volunteer Services at ICA. The Circles meet once a week over four sessions, and is led by an ICA volunteer. The purpose of the Circles is to provide a place for English language learners to engage in small, informal, free flowing conversation groups. Language learners get the opportunity to improve their conversational English skills while gaining greater insight into Canadian life and culture. The learners get to choose topics that are of interest to them.

Learn more here.....

Newcomer Families Explore Swan Lake 

Submitted by Lisa Wang and Gita John-Iyam, Settlement Workers in Schools


ICA Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) have had a busy few months and were excited to share in a series of fun afternoons with newcomer children and their families over the Spring Break at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.


For many new immigrant families it was the first time visiting the sanctuary. The lake, trails, and an array of programs helped to teach us about appreciating the wildlifeand protecting the natural environment.  We learned about humming birds,got up close to snakes, learned about various kinds of mammals, talked about life in the marshes,fed the ducks, and had a great picnic. Big thanks from the SWIS team to the staff at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, as well as ICA's volunteers who supported the children and families on this outing.


Read more here.

Youth Programs Update

Submitted by Claire Kelly, Settlement Youth Worker 

Youth at Pearson College "One World" performance

"The Meet Up" and New Youth Staff

Over the month of February and March, there have been several new and exciting developments with ICA Youth Services. The first is that we would like to announce our newest addition to the Youth Staff team - Alexandra Dawley. Alexandra (aka Alex), will be facilitating ICA's new youth social program called "The Meet Up" which will run every Friday from 4 - 6pm beginning on April 10. It is a drop-in program, but please keep in mind that registration is required. Everyone on the youth team is very excited for "The Meet Up", so we hope to see you there!


Newcomer Youth Engaging in Community

Mariam Batool, speaking at event
Next, is to share some recent youth outings. On March 6, the ICA youth were fortunate enough to reconnect with their friends from Pearson College by watching the incredible multicultural "One World" performance at the Royal Theatre. Then, on March 19, the youth were selected as "Champions of Diversity" in the community and received a bursary (and free lunch) from the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC). We are very grateful to have received the bursary and for newcomer youth to be recognized in the community.

Youth Community Project Presentation Night

Finally, over the month of February and March the "Youth Community Project" had great success in creating four original projects to connect with the community. Now that the projects have been created, the youth are very excited to share them with the greater community, so please stay tuned for more information about our Presentation Night on April 9!


CPN Advisory Member Scott Treble Wins Leadership Award

Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator 


Staff Sergeant Scott Treble

Congratulations to Staff Sergeant Scott Treble of Saanich Police for being selected as a recipient of the 2015 Victoria Leadership Award in the category of Rotary Community Leadership.

Scott and Saanich Police are members of the ICA Safe Harbour Network, the Community Partnership Network (CPN) and the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC). During the past two years, Staff Stg. Treble has served as the police chair of the GVPDAC whose mandate is to guide our region's police services to improve relationships and increase understanding with our diverse community members. Scott has committed himself to ensure the region's six police services understand the diverse cultures, value systems, unique perspectives, socio-economic conditions and religious beliefs of the communities the police serve.

Staff Sergeant Scott Treble said the award is recognition that...

Youth Spring Break Day Camp 

Submitted by Kay Otani, SWIS Youth Worker 

Newcomer youth enjoy spring break day camp


On March 11 and 18, the group of youth ages 8 to 12 years old enjoyed fun-filled Youth Spring Break Day Camps at ICA. Through interactive group games and activities, camp participants established new friendships, peer connections, and a sense of belonging in this multicultural group. Youth also experienced the beautiful nature of spring season through our Nature Scavenger Hunt where they were encouraged to explore many different outdoor parts of downtown Victoria. 


A memorable quote from the camp: "This is the best camp I have ever participated in! Thank you, ICA." Read more here.....

ICA Welcomes New Staff Members

ICA is pleased to welcome new staff Lauren Kelly, Executive Assistant and Alexandra Dawley, Youth Services Facilitator.  

Lauren Kelly, Executive Assistant
Lauren Kelly, Executive Assistant

Hi! I'm Lauren and I've lived in Victoria for 14 years by way of Nelson, BC, Terrace, BC, and Ottawa, ON. I studied political science at the University of Victoria before transferring to Royal Roads University to focus on a degree in Professional Communication, which I hope to utilize to build meaningful relationships and engage with my community. Prior to joining the team at the Inter-Cultural Association, I worked for the tourism and hospitality industry in Victoria and have always enjoyed engaging with the public. I look forward to meeting friends and partners of the organization by fulfilling the role of Executive Assistant and I welcome the opportunity for new experiences.



Alexandra Dawley, Youth Services Facilitator

Hello! I am Alexandra Dawley, a new Youth Services Facilitator at ICA. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, I first moved to beautiful Vancouver Island in 2007. Since then I have lived abroad in Hungary, France, England and Jordan. All of these experiences have left me with an excitement for cross-cultural connection and a love for strengthening supportive, inclusive communities. 


Alexandra Dawley, Youth Services Facilitator

I hold my Bachelors in Global Studies and Sociology from Vancouver Island University (VIU) where I co-chaired the VIU Chapter of World University Services of Canada (WUSC). We co-facilitated the resettlement of Somali students to Canada from Dadaab refugee camp which resulted in meaningful friendships and increased understanding of the need for a supportive community after migrating. Most recently, I graduated with my Masters in International Social Development at University of Sussex in the UK as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. My research brought me to the Middle East where I researched the role of youth programs for Iraqi refugee youth. During this time I also enjoyed running an art program that provided therapeutic opportunities for Syrian and Iraqi refugee youth. 

In This Issue
Youth Champions of Diversity Recognized
"Stop speaking for us" Meharoona Ghani speaks out
"Working it" ICA Employment Services
Volunteers Help Newcomers Fulfil Desire to Llearn
Newcomer Families Explore Swan Lake
Youth Programs Update
Staff Sgt. Scott Treble Wins Leadership Award
Youth Spring Break Day Camp
ICA welcomes new staff members
Sending smiles for Smile Card Program
What's Happening?
Community Events



Another year of success with the Thrifty's Smile Card Program!  


A huge thanks to all Thrifty Smile Card holders for supporting our youth programs with your grocery purchases. Together , this past year, we have raised $828.  


What's Happening? 


ICA Workshops & Programming



Federal Internship Program for Newcomers - Free Information Session

Learn about the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program and how you could participate.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3:30 pm  - 5 pm  

Learn more  


Men Living Well in Community

Six-session program for women.  

Wednesdays, April 29 - June 3, 2015

3:30 - 5:30 pm   

Learn more  


Baby Talk 

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

Fridays, April 24 - May 22, 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

Moss Street Winter Market

Great winter produce brought to you from over a dozen local organic farms, as well as baking, hot food, and coffee. 

Saturdays, March 28 - April 4, 2015

10 am - 12 pm

More information here...


African Percussion Concert

Thirty-member percussion ensemble perform a repertoire of rhythms on djembe, balafon, and dundun.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

12 pm - 1 pm

UVIC, Phillip T. Young Recital Hall RM B125

Find out more...



Easter Egg Hunt 

Signs of Hope in Africa's 7th annual Easter Egg Hunt. Egg hunt at 11 am as well as games, crafts, a BBQ, and lots of entertainment.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

10:00 am  - 1:00 pm

Beckwith Park, Saanich




Autism's Own Conference 2015 

In correlation with Autism Awareness Day, this conference will be showcasing neurodiversity and autism culture, starting with a reception at 6:20 pm.

Thursday, April 7, 2015

6:20 pm - 9:30 pm

UVIC, Hickman Building HHB 105 



Sikh New Year  

Join the celebration of the Sikh New Year with authentic Indian food, henna tattoos, dance performances and more.    

Sunday, April 12, 2015

11 am - 6:30 pm 

Saanich Fair Grounds 

Learn more....


Emergency Preparedness Workshop

Register for a free, two-hour workshop to learn what it will take for you and your family to be prepared for a natural disaster.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

1 pm - 3 pm

Victoria City Hall, Antechamber

More info here



Chinese Dance Spectacular 2015

Ocean Rain will be celebrating students' progress in learning Chinese dances over the past year. Profits of the show go to BC Children's Hospital Foundation.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

7 pm - 9 pm

University Centre, Farquhar Auditorium

Purchase tickets here...



Around the World in 80 Minutes

This 30-voice choir will perform music in diverse styles representing such places as Samoa, Thailand, Australia, Tanzania, and Peru.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

2:30 pm  

St. Elizabeth's Church, Sidney  

Learn more




Celebrating the Salish Sea, Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Speakers such as Elizabeth May, Chris Darimont, Adam Olsen, and Misty MacDuffee will address the threats to British Columbia's iconic Salish Sea and resident killer whales. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

6 pm  

2243 Beacon Avenue, Sidney 

Find out more...


Earth Week Festival, Creatively United for the Planet

This fourth annual Earth Week festival is a free, fun-filled all-ages festival featuring live music, entertainment, short films, innovative displays, local food, yoga, and children's activities.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

12 pm - 4 pm

Sunday, April 26, 2015

12 pm - 4 pm

The English Inn, 129 Lampson St, Victoria, BC

 Keep reading...

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