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ICA prepares to help resettle 290 Syrian refugees
Executive Director at ICA Jean McRae with Minister Shirley Bond

The Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) of Greater Victoria became a Sponsorship Agreement Holder in late August of 2015 to support the resettlement of privately sponsored refugees into Greater Victoria. Since that time, the community has generously donated more than $1,000,000 to ICA for privately sponsored refugees.

In early February, ICA was approved to provide services to Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP). Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will be destining 290 Syrian refugees to Greater Victoria before month-end, and in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, ICA will provide direct support and access to essential services for refugee newcomers. United Way Greater Victoria has assisted ICA with many of its community initiatives and continues to do so as the region prepares to resettle Syrian refugees into the area.
 See the press release!

30 minute massages to support refugees

The West Coast College of Massage Therapy (WCCMT) has teamed up to support Syrian refugees through the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA). WCCMT students are offering relaxing 30 minute massage appointments (20 minute hands-on time) by donation.  All proceeds go directly to bringing Syrian refugee family to Canada! If you've been waiting for your chance to help, and need a great massage, this is it. 

Keep reading for the reason why.  Keep reading for the reason why.

To book an appointment call Gauge at 250-886-7935 or levesqueg@collegeofmassage.com
Art Gallery committed to diversity and inclusion
Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

Art Gallery staff after Diversity Training

Congratulations to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) for completing diversity training session for their staff. The AGGV staff affirmed their commitment to diversity and inclusion in working with staff, volunteers and clients. The half-day training encouraged cross cultural awareness, explored the impact of personal bias and shared tools and ideas to bring the AGGV's art to a broader and more diverse audience. Read more....

Tax returns made a little easier

Submitted by Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services

Preparing a tax return can be a daunting task for people who have recently arrived in Canada, and who are unfamiliar with the Canadian income tax process. Many countries either do not have any such requirement, or the income tax process is different from the Canadian system.

Weekly Settlement Orientation Sessions
Submitted by Amanda Gaunt, Training Coordinator

Settlement Orientations offer a great opportunity for newcomers to learn about adjusting to life in Canada and in Victoria. You can drop in for one session or come to them all. Just check the topics and come to the ones you find useful and you feel will help you become more comfortable living here. There are six topics that continue to recur, so if you miss a topic this time, it will be offered again within the next six weeks.
Your community food map: Interact with it!
Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts & Outreach Coordinator

How do newcomers access the food they want to eat when they come to Canada? This was a question raised by students from UVic Mapping Edible Geography class in conversation with English Language students and newcomers participating in an ICA project on the importance of growing food close to home.

Along with language and cultural barriers, access to healthy, reasonably priced and culturally-acceptable food is clearly one of the challenges encountered by new arrivals to Canada.  With time, this food insecurity can often lead to a decline in newcomer health due to dietary changes and a shift to a more Western diet, usually high in sugar, fat and salt - leading to an increased risk for chronic disease.

Writing is the spice of life!
Submitted by Liz Bean, Coordinator of Volunteer Services

The ICA Pen Pal Program is off and running! ICA volunteers are matched with newcomer students in an ICA intermediate level English language class to exchange letters over a 3-month period, between February and May 2016.  Read more here.

Practicing English is fun!

The Conversation Buddy (C' Buddy) program has a great group of volunteers who lead conversation circles in our English Language classes each week - bringing their energy, enthusiasm and warm sense of humour to each session. Read more here.

CPN members prepare for the resettlement of refugees
Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

Last week's CPN Diversity Seminar brought together more than 80 members to learn about the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Greater Victoria region. 

The seminar included panel presentations by Jean McRae (ICA's Executive Director), Sabine Lehr (ICA's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager), Dr. Timothy Black (Associate Professor and Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies Chair, University of Victoria), and Darcy Bromley (Senior Policy/Program Advisor, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). 

Best of luck in your endeavours, Balbir! 
ICA would like to acknowledge Balbir Thiara, Settlement Worker at ICA since 2012. At the end of January we celebrated with cake and reminisced her time spent at ICA through pictures and dancing with other colleagues in the settlement department. In addition to being a supportive and enthusiastic co-worker, Balbir has ensured her time spent at ICA was in commitment to her clients.

"We thank Balbir for her many years of service at ICA. She will be missed by clients and community alike and we wish her all the best in her endeavours." 
Jean McRae, Executive Director

ICA continues to welcome new staff
Elie Kozma, Resettlement Assistance Program Manager
Please help us welcome Elie Kozma into his new role as the Resettlement Assistance Program Manager at ICA. Elie has worked with ICA since 2012 as the Employment Program Coordinator and speaks English, Arabic and French. In his new role, Elie will be working directly with Government Sponsored Refugees arriving inVictoria as well as overseeing the Resettlement Assistance Program under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
"I am very pleased to be in this new role at ICA as the Resettlement Assistance Program Manager. Being a first generation Lebanese-Canadian and having a chance to work with refugees from my family's neighboring country really strikes a chord, as in 1975 my parents went through a similar situation. They fled a civil war and raised us in Canada, read more here...

Lissette Tougas, Settlement Youth Worker 
Lissette Tougas joins ICA's Youth Services team with over 10 years of experience working with newcomer youth and adults and experience in workshop facilitation and program development. She has earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary and is currently completing a Masters in Counseling Psychology. Lisette has a passion for trauma-informed care and working with vulnerable populations.
Originally from El Salvador, she came to Canada in 1988 with her family as a refugee. Having lived experience of the settlement processes, Lissette has a great appreciation for those who support newcomers and for the challenges newcomers face. She identifies as a proud Latin-Canadian. Read more here...

In This Issue
Refugee Sponsorship Update
30 minute massages to support refugees
Art Gallery committed to diversity and inclusion
Tax returns made a little easier
Weekly Settlement orientation sessions
Your community food map: Interact with it!
Writing is the spice of life!
CPN members prepare for the resettlement of refugees
Best of luck in your endeavours, Balbir!
ICA continues to welcome new staff!
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 $15

Discounted price! Get yours while they are still available 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...

Newcomers & Self-Employment
Free 6 session program to help you explore self-employment with the guidance of local business owners.  
Mondays & Wednesdays
February 29-March 17, 2016
3:30 -5:30 pm 
More info here....

Employment Workshops
Learn about how to succeed finding and maintaining employment in Canada 
Tuesdays & Thursdays
March 8 - 24, 2016

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
2016 Dine Around & Stay in Town
Victoria's most anticipated dining event. Tickle your tastebuds and dive into Victoria's culinary scene at over 60 participating restaurants.
On until March 6, 2016
Learn more here...

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

John Prine @ the Royal
Decades since his remarkable debut, John Prine has stayed at the top of his game, both as a performer and songwriter. 
Wednesday, March 2
8:00 pm
Royal Theatre

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 
A visitor favourite every year, returns with a brand new selection of 100 of the most stunning images from around the world. 
Daily until April 4, 2016
Royal BC Museum 

Afro-Contemporary Dance class of Guinea & Mali 
Join the experience dancing with infectious styles of Guinea & Mali West Africa. Mother of all dances, hip hop, jazz, contemporary and more. 
February 25, March 3 & 10, 2016

Dan MacDougall Art Exhibit
Join West Coast artist and friend of ICA, Dan MacDougall as he showcases 10 paintings & 10 bell jars. 
February 29 - April 2. 
Opening reception March 5, 2016
3:00 - 5:00 pm 

Tongues of Fire Featuring Shahin Mohammadi 
Twice monthly, spoken word open mic night featuring Shahin Mohammadi: teacher, musician, poet, improviser and origami enthusiast. All ages event. $6-$10 sliding scale.
Thursday, March 10
8 pm
Solstice Cafe, 529 Pandora Ave

Anti-Discrimination through Storytelling
Royal Roads University's Diversity Action Group invites you to join this dialogue through storytelling.   
Tuesday, March 158
12 pm - 1:30 pm 
Centre for Dialogue, 4th Floor, Learning and Innovation Centre at RRU

Create Local: Tackle Global art exhibition and sale
The Didi Society and Belfry Theatre celebrate International Women's Day through an intimate exhibit featuring Victoria artists including Pat Martin Bates, Carole Sabiston .   
Saturday, March 5 & Sunday, March 6. 
12:00 - 5:00 pm 
Belfry Theatre 

A weeklong festival of UVic research, art and innovation - featuring over 50 free events. 
March 7 - 12, 2016
University of Victoria and downtown locations 

Mompreneur Monday 
Check out these businesses run by busy moms. 
Monday, March 7
1 pm - 3 pm
Victoria Public Market at the Hudson 

Spring Break Musical Camp  
8th annual spring break musical camp. For children in grades 1-7. Camp runs daily. 
March 14-18: 9 am - 3 pm
March 18 & 19 @ 7 pm 

Cracks in the Concrete, Coming Together at the Intersections
Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group presents a weekend of skill sharing and community development. 
March 18-20, 2015 

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