Monitoring the social media accounts for the NewToBC project, it is astounding at how many services and resources are available for newcomers to BC. It is difficult to stay on top of upcoming events, workshops, job fairs and activities offered by BC Public Libraries and Settlement Organizations throughout BC.
On Thursday, June 20, I took my children to the “Feed & Free SHARE Bear” event at Coquitlam Centre. Share Family and Community Services put on the event in effort to raise $10,000 in bail money and 10,000 pounds of food to let Share Bear out of jail; a lofty goal given the weather that greeted the event that day. While I don’t know how the results of this goal, I do know that without organizations such as this, newcomers would face more difficulty in their transition to life in Canada.
A single mother with 4 children was showcased in The Tricities Now to illustrate the importance of collecting food and cash donations. Foodbank clients come from all walks of life with a unique story to share; this stress can be compounded even further with the struggle to learn a new language and culture.
With each of us working to assist newcomers to BC, how to we ensure they’re tapping into these free resources: the English classes offered by all settlement agencies, conversations classes at the public libraries, the employment and skills training workshops offered through various settlement agencies, and the public events that showcase local and international culture and customs.
The NewToBC Champions are finishing up their training this week and are about to embark on a new way of spreading the message of these great resources. They’re going to take this information to their cultural community, directly, in person and online. They’re going to share the services that libraries and settlement agencies can offer to increase awareness and encourage more use of these services. They’re going to share their ideas with each other – what worked, what didn’t and how to improve so that newcomers utilize these services.
As for me? I’m going to keep searching for, and posting, events to help spread the services and engage with these newcomers using the online social media platforms. It’s shaping up to be a great year.
*Follow me on Twitter: @NewToBC