Build Connections, Be Encouraged and Share Strategies to Help Newcomers

Our annual Networking Breakfast takes place on Saturday, February 8th, 2014 at Grace Baptist Church. This event, which runs from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., is a great way to build connections with other churches and organizations that serve newcomers, learn from some fantastic speakers (and each other), and encourage one another.

This year's theme, Beyond the Welcome: Building Stronger Relationships with Newcomers examines the ways we can intentionally build relationships with the immigrants in our church and social communities to create strong, healthy, supportive connections. Join us to hear our keynote speaker, Francis Boakye, speak about this important subject. As our speaker has said, "We spend so much time supporting with basic needs—which are very necessary to their successful settlement, we tend not to think about social integration as an important component to newcomers in the church."

That's a Fact:

  • In 2012, the total number of newcomers arriving in Calgary was 29,898.
  • Calgary is the fourth choice of destination for new immigrants to Canada.
  • Almost half of Calgary’s population aged 15 or over is either a first or second generation Canadian.
  • In Calgary’s VitalSigns Report, respondents said that Calgary needs more learning opportunities for English as a Second language.

Almost 30,000 newcomers arrive in Calgary each year from around the world.  We believe that the community has a significant role to play in the lives of these newcomers. With more connections in the community, newcomers are more likely to find appropriate work, child care, and the support needed to fully integrate into society. 

Join us for this important networking breakfast and learn how you can go Beyond the Welcome, you'll be glad you did! This event is ideal for pastors, teachers, ESL leaders and community and church volunteers. Did we mention there's breakfast?

Cost: $20 per person ($15 if registered before February 4)

Location: Grace Baptist Church (2670 Radcliffe Drive SE)

Time: 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

For more information and to register, click here. Don't miss out on this great opportunity. We look forward to seeing you!

New Year's Resolutions

By Roswita Dressler, Ph.D.

By the time you read this newsletter, your New Year’s resolutions might be long forgotten. Think back a few weeks to January 1. New Year’s resolutions may have been a part of the discussion around New Year’s supper tables, on end of the year recap TV shows and, for many of us, underneath our breath as we eat the last of the Christmas chocolates or baking. Yet, this custom is not world-wide. When I visited my German relatives just after New Year’s, the talk was of Neujahrvisite (New Year’s visits) as my great-aunt prepared traditional baking to bring to each one of her friend’s houses. It would take her until the end of January to complete all of her visits. In thinking about this newsletter article, I contemplated what interesting speaking and writing prompts this topic might provide. 

Classroom Techniques and Activities

Our students bring a wealth of different experiences to the classroom. Talking about their personal experience, their home culture and their understanding of Canadian culture are highly motivating topics. Sometimes though, our students have had encounters where they don’t understand what transpired or they don’t understand exactly what was said.

You might begin a beginner class with: “I have made a New Year’s resolution to . I would like to . I plan to .” From there you can find out if students understand what a New Year’s resolution is and have them make their own, filling in the sentence starters (above).

An intermediate class might be ready to discuss: “what is a New Year’s resolution? Describe resolutions you have had in the past and whether you have fulfilled them”.

An advanced class can work on expressing the conditional aspect of resolutions: “I would do , if I could  .” All three levels would appreciate being asked “What do you do in your home culture to celebrate New Year’s or mark it as special?” 

A lively discussion is a good springboard for the chance to write. Again, for the beginner class, writing the sentence starters on the board and asking them to fill in the blanks is a worthwhile exercise. You can expand their vocabulary by writing down the words that were mentioned by others during the discussion and this will provide something new for students to write about.

In an intermediate class, having spoken of what happened in the past, you can review the past tense and have them write down what they had shared, asking them to review it for correct past tense forms.

At the advanced level, the same thing can be accomplished with conditional sentences. In addition, you may wish to talk about the terms “resolve” and “resolution” and how they are usually reserved for business meetings or government sessions, with the exception of New Year’s resolutions, which are part of everyday vocabulary. If students feel comfortable, they may wish to share their writing by reading aloud, posting to a bulletin board or contributing to a class blog.

At the end of the lesson on New Year’s resolutions, the students will have worked with the same topic in both oral and written forms, reinforcing their learning and giving them a chance to both shine and be challenged in expressing themselves on a common topic among Canadians at this time of year.

Roswita Dressler, Ph. D., is a Research Associate with the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary where she also teaches future second language teachers.

This 'n' That

Making Changes - Free Clothes for 12-18 year old girls,

My Best Friend’s Closet provides teenaged girls from low-income households with clothing for school. They have a wonderful selection of gently used clothing, including jeans, skirts, tops, hoodies, sweaters, boots, accessories and more. All at no cost! 

If you know a young woman who is interested in attending this program, please email a referral with the girl’s first and last name to Then the referring agency, the participant or her mother can call 403.262.5776 to book a time on a Saturday for an appt. Appointment times are 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. Each appointment lasts 90 minutes. Address: 6502 – 1A ST. SW, one block south of the Chinook C-Train station.

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