Thank You for Joining Us!

Our annual Networking Breakfast was a great success! We offer a hearty and heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined us, including our keynote speaker Francis Boakye, staff, volunteers and participants. Almost 90 people from 23 churches and 12 agencies participated in this event, as we learned about going Beyond the Welcome—helping newcomers integrate effectively into Canadian and Calgary culture by building connections in our communities.

Some of the comments included:

  • Thanks so much for another wonderful session and providing an opportunity to expose the resources organizations.
  • Inspirational and informational as always. Thanks again.
  • Thank you for a great morning—motivating!
  • Love the personal stories from the newcomers and ESL teacher volunteers.
  • What a blessing to see all the community agencies/churches.  Keep it up!
  • Excellent event in every respect! I especially appreciated Ruth’s word. Loved seeing the Board so involved and helpful and visible.  Well done & God bless you all!
  • Thank you for a job well-done.  Good networking took place. Speakers were top notch—great food. Thanks for the opportunity to be here.
  • Great to hear about all the agencies; help that’s available for internationals; encouraging to hear the stories.
  • Very encouraging! Thanks for all the hard work to organize a great event!
  • Thank you—I appreciated the morning very much! The speakers were all very excellent and inspiring.  James—you led the meeting very efficiently. Excellent food! Excellent resources. God bless. Thanks again.

Calgary: Through the Eyes of a Newcomer

James Edel with Dorfenis

As part of our new series on newcomers, we are asking some of our students and neighbours what their reactions are to Calgary and the surrounding area, how it differs from their first home country and what some of the similarities are.

This month's interview is from James Edel's ELL student, Dorfenis. Dorfenis is originally from Bogata, Columbia. We offer our sincere thanks to her for sharing her views on Calgary and Canada with us.

What did you notice when you first came to Canada?
I felt my life had changed in a good way. It is more easy to get a job here, too.

What have you noticed about how Canadian people act?
Some Colombian people are more dangerous. Canadian people seem to be more relaxed.

What advice would you give someone from your country who is thinking about coming to Canada?
First, learn English. Second, speak to people; don’t be shy; and be kind.

What was your response to the flood?
I was scared and worried because I lived near the area that was flooded.

What do you think of your neighbourhood, and grocery store, transit in Calgary?
My neighbourhood is very nice; people are friendly. Some grocery stores are very nice, like CO-OP on 16 Ave.  Calgary Transit is better than city transit in Bogota, but the Greyhound buses are not great. Buses between the cities in Colombia are newer and better in service and schedule and comfort.

Some people like the scent of the air, or the view of the mountains.  What do you like about Calgary and Alberta?  Have you been to Banff?  What did you think?
I like the clear blue skies. I like Banff, especially the River and the natural things.

How is Calgary different than the city you came from?
Calgary is more organized and more clean, newer and safer than Bogota. Here you can wear jewellery; it’s not safe to do that in Bogota.

Have you ever felt lonely? How have you dealt with that?
No. I am very happy in this country.

How has Canada been a place of freedom or opportunity for you?  Has it been?
I think it is a place of opportunity. I am working all the time, but I need to have better English to get a better job.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years; how will things have improved?
I want to have better English and a better job. I would like to maybe own a home instead of renting. I also want to be closer to God.

(James Edel currently teaches ESL at Columbia College in Calgary and attends Northside Bible Fellowship)

Save the Date for Spring Training!

Spring Training is coming! Saturday, April 26th is the date for our Annual Spring Training. This year's event features Dr. Carolyn Kristjansson and will be held at Southwood United Church (10690 Elbow Dr SW). This event will run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Watch our website for details. Registration will open soon!

CIWA Introduces ABCs of Breast Health Program

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association has introduced a new program designed to educate immigrant women and create awareness about breast health, prevention and early detection of breast cancer. They aspire to reach as many women as possible to promote and champion a healthy lifestyle, focusing on immigrant women with language and cultural barriers. The session is two hours long and is presented in plain language with images to illustrate. Workshops are also available in a number of other languages presented by native speakers. 

This project provides:

  • Information about breast cancer.
  • Information about healthy living.
  • Support with accessing health services.
  • Individual counselling and support.
  • Free training for immigrant women wanting to volunteer as health educators.

Childcare is available upon request.

If you are interested in having CIWA do a breast health presentation for the women in your ESL class, please contact Tayyiba Khan at 403.263.441 ext. 150 or email

This 'n' That

VESL Spring Workshop Series

VESL’s Spring Workshop Series is set to begin in March. They are offering three new workshops that are free to volunteer tutors in Calgary:

  • March 11, 2014: Introducing Canadian Culture
  • April 8, 2014: Grammar: Creating Sentences
  • May 13, 2014: Pronunciation: supporting Chinese learners

See our Professional Development bulletin board for more information!

We'd love to hear your feedback

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