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Victoria welcomes 19 newcomers through
ICA's Refugee Sponsorship Program
Photo: Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada

As one of two Sponsorship Agreement Holders located in Victoria, ICA is busy working with Constituent Groups to privately sponsor refugees. Currently, 33 Constituent Groups are at various stages in the sponsorship process, and 19 newcomers with refugee backgrounds have been welcomed to the CRD. Most newcomer families have settled into their apartments and new neighbourhoods, and children are enrolled in schools - everyone is working hard to navigate the new environment and community. 

ICA has been supporting the newcomers and the Constituent Groups during the first few weeks after arrival with the most pressing issues that people face when they first arrive in Canada, such as applications for provincial health care coverage and for the Canada child tax benefit; orientation to Government and community services; and understanding their rights and responsibilities. The first newcomers are beginning English language classes at ICA in early February, and members of Constituent Groups are attending Arabic language classes so they can have some basic conversations with the newcomers in their native language.

ICA wishes to thank you for supporting the resettlement of refugees in our dynamic community. We have been positively overwhelmed with the generosity of Victoria residents through donations and in-kind offers. Through the hard work, social networks, and actions of individuals we hope to continue welcoming refugees into our community. Read more here....
Victoria Police committed to diversity and inclusion
Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

Victoria Police staff receive Safe Harbour training

Congratulations to the Victoria Police Department for becoming the newest member of the Safe Harbour. By completing this training, members of Vid PD demonstrated their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Safe Harbour: Respect for All is a program that supports businesses and organizations with training and resources to understand the value of diversity and inclusion. The half-day training provided nine Vic PD staff members with knowledge and basic tools to improve cross cultural communication, to understand the impact of personal bias and to develop actions to make Vic PD more inclusive.

The Victoria Police are long-time members of the Community Partnership Network (CPN),  a network of more than 190 local businesses and organizations committed to promoting diversity in our community. Thanks to Sgt. Greg Holmes for organizing the training.

The Safe Harbour program is coordinated by the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA) with funding from Embrace BC.

Calling for seven male youth participants

Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts & Outreach Coordinator

What: We are looking for seven young men (ages 14-18) to develop story ideas and produce videos in a Victoria studio with a professional crew during March Spring break, March 16 - 22. There will also be a Script Workshop held on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

Project Description: The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) is looking to produce 7 creative viral video ʻshortsʼ on sexism, sexualized violence towards women, consent, and the role young men must play in affecting social change!

Young people have all observed inappropriate sexual encounters that alarm them and make them uncomfortable. These behaviors may occur in class, in hallways, at parties, and at sports and school events. As bystanders to inappropriate sexual behavior, youth not only have opportunities to intervene, but a shared responsibility to prevent harm, foster a sense of community, and create a culture of caring.

Send a one-page description on why you want to be involved to: Paulina Grainger, ICA Arts & Outreach Coordinator, pgrainger@icavictoria.org. Selected participants will receive an honorarium. No previous film/video experience required.

Submission Deadline: Friday, February 19, 2016   More details here.
Planting the seed: A UVic food mapping project
Submitted by Marina Aitcheson, UVic student

A series of workshops presented by The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA), the Compost Education Centre and LifeCycles Project called "Growing Food Close to Home" planted the first seed in the conversation about newcomers' relationship with food.
  • How do newcomers access the food they want to eat?  
  • Have you ever wondered where your favorite ingredients are located in Victoria?
  • Are you curious about the local food in Victoria and where to get it?
  • Do you want to learn about growing your own food?
If you are curious about these questions, then you are not alone! Myself and three other community mapping students from UVic are also curious about how newcomers in Victoria locate the food that they want to eat or grow. Our University of Victoria course, Mapping Edible Geographies, instructed by Dr. Jen Bagelman, sets the table for conversations about food systems, as well as the theory and practice of community mapping. Community mapping involves creating a useful resource, with a community, focusing on their needs and desires.

That's where newcomers join the table. With open hearts and ears, we workshopped and learned from newcomers. The information they shared left us with some serious food for thought that shaped the map. Read more about the map here. 
ICA continues to grow
Alexandra Dawley, Resettlement Case Worker
As ICA expands as a sponsorship agreement holder we soon realized we needed more people to help in this important work. Alexandra Dawley is part of our youth services team and joins the Refugee Sponsorship Program. 

She holds a Bachelors in Global Studies and Sociology and a Masters in International Social Development from the University of Sussex in the UK. Her research brought her to the Middle East where she researched the role of youth programs for Iraqi refugee youth and coordinated an art program that provided therapeutic outlet for Syrian and Iraqi refugee youth. Alexandra has lived abroad in Hungary, France, England and Jordan. 
"I am thrilled to be the new Resettlement Case Worker within the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program at ICA. This is a meaningful opportunity to learn from the dynamic team at ICA as we work to privately sponsor, resettle, and support refugee populations as they embark on their next stage of life here in the Greater Victoria area." - Alexandra on her new position.  

Meet Amneet, Settlement and Youth Practicum Student
Amneet Sanghera is a 4th year student in the Health and Community Services program at the University of Victoria; she will be completing her undergraduate studies this spring. Her areas of concentration within this program are International and Global Health and Human Development, and Ageing. She is looking forward to applying, enhancing, and building on the skillset and knowledge she has gained through her undergraduate studies and her work and volunteer experiences. 

Amneet is excited to work with and help newcomers in Victoria. Amneet's parents immigrated to Victoria from India in the 1980's and she was born and raised in Victoria, BC. In her free time she enjoys travelling, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

In This Issue
Refugee Sponsorship Update
Victoria Police committed to diversity and inclusion
Calling for seven youth male participants
Planting the seed: A UVic food mapping project
ICA continues to grow
What's Happening?
Community Events



Interested in supporting refugees resettle in our community on an ongoing basis? 


Consider making a monthly donation to ICA.



2016 Multifaith calendars

Available for $15 at ICA. Call reception at 250-388-4728 or drop by ICA to pick up your copy. 

What's Happening? 

Weekly Settlement Orientation Sessions
Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria. 
Available in English on Wednesdays
12:30  - 2:30 pm  
Available in Mandarin on Wednesdays
9:30 am - 11:30 am
普通话讲座: 周三上午9:30 - 11:30
 Learn more...

Exploring Self-Employment
Are you thinking about starting your own business? Learn about starting your business in Victoria with ICA's Business Entrepreneur, Peter Elkins. 
Monday, February 1, 2016
1:30 - 3:30 pm 
More info here....

Community, Culture & Conversation
Want to learn what to do in social settings in Canada? 
February 1 - March 7, 2016
3:15 - 5:15 pm

Soft Skills & Essential Skills for Workplace Success
Topics include critical thinking, presentation skills & conflict resolution. 
Jan 25 - Feb 17, 2016
10:30 am - 12:30 pm 

Pre-Natal Class
For expectant parents learn about fetal development, nutrition, labour and birth and more. 
February 19 - March 18, 2016

10:00am - 11:30am
930 Balmoral Road (at Quadra)

Citizenship Classes 
Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests.  
Two Fridays per month.   

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

Community Events
Hijab Awareness Day
Curious about the hijab? Join Mulsim women from different cultures and learn more. 
Saturday, January 30
1 pm - 5 pm 
Quadra Village Community Centre
901 Kings Rd. 

February is Black History Month
Join the BC Black History Awareness Society in February for many exciting events. 

Becoming BC Gallery at the Royal BC Museum
In honor of Chinese New Year, join one of our knowledgeable guides for a thirty-minute spotlight tour of the Becoming BC Gallery.
Tuesday, February 2 - 
Thursday, February 11 
11 am - 11:30 am
Royal BC Museum

Victoria Yoga Conference 
The Victoria Yoga Conference includes yoga classes and workshops, meditation workshops, teacher talks and a business series designed to assist studio owners and teachers.
Friday, February 5 -
Saturday, February 6
Various times
Victoria Conference Centre 

Victoria Film Festival 
The Victoria Film Festival is Vancouver Island's largest and longest-running film festival. Celebrating 22 years and screening over 150 films over 10 days.
Friday, February 5 -
Sunday, February 14
Various times
Various locations 

Song & Surf Music Festival 
One of Vancouer Island's only winter music festivals is taking place in multiple indoor venues throughout Port Renfrew.
Friday, February 5 - 
Monday, February 8
Port Renfrew

Family Day Free Event
An event for families from face painting to carnival games and a kindergym. The pool will open for families with free admissions, and there will be a BBQ lunch hosted by the Lions Club.  
Saturday, February 6
9 am - 3 pm 
Esquimalt Recreation Centre

African, Caribbean & Black Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This commemorative Day is inspired by the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day that has been observed in the U.S. on February 7 every year since 1999.
February 7, 2016
More info here....

Family Arts Festival 2016
Celebrates Family Day with imagination, creativity, and discovery. Kids of all ages will enjoy a wide variety of performances and hands-on artistic, musical, and theatrical activities.  
Monday, February 8
11 am - 3 pm 
Cedar Hill Recreation Centre

Chinese New Year Gala Dinner & Live Auction
The Victoria Chinese Commerce Association celebrates the Year of the Monkey with a gala dinner and live auction.  
Wednesday, February 10
5:30 pm 
Don Mee Seafood Restaurant 

A concert to raise money for musicians who do not have the means to benefit from musical education and to create an ongoing songwriting program.
Saturday, February 13
7 pm
Alix Golden Hall 

Mardi Gras at the Victoria Public Market 
Atomique Productions and the Roast present Mardi Gras at the Victoria Public Market complete with live bands, carnival performers, festive decor, and New-Orleans inspired cocktails and dishes.
Saturday, February 13
7 pm - 11 pm
Victoria Public Market at the Hudson 

Chinese New Year Lion Dance 
The annual ceremonial Lion Dance will include kung-fu and tai chi demonstrations, traditional dancing, and dragon performances. 
Sunday, February 14
11 am  

2016 Vancouver Island Parent Conference 
International speaker Yong Zhao will start the day talking about why we need a paradigm shift in education. His brings historical and international data to show how and why traditional education has become obsolete in the face of new challenges.
Saturday, February 27
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Royal Bay Secondary School 

Eat, Pray, Love: The Fairfield Connection Series 
Deepen belonging and spiritual growth in a safe, curious, and creative space. This two-hour community gathering includes meaningful conversation, stories, singing, art, and food.
February 16 & March 15
5 pm - 7:30 pm
Fairfield United Church 

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