Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Journey, Destination, and Convergence - CFNs Swirl

A logo is a visual cornerstone of a company's brand. A company's identity is visually expressed through its logo, which, along the company's name', is one of the main things that makes an organization memorable. Logos are not simply the company's name spelled out in creative font, but an image that represents all for which an organisation stands.

This brings us to the CFN swirl. The image represents an accessible place of security and safety. a harbour, a sheltered centre, approached through a wide and protected passage, It incorporates ideas of journey, destination, and convergence - experiences of newcomers to Canada. The symbol also suggests a sprouting seed, an unfolding of new growth, as newcomers grow new roots and establish a home in Canada. The round and fluid rendering of the logo also captures the sense of human energy and movement that characterises the Centre. It is, without a doubt, a flourishing hub of activity.

The CFN swirl thus represents our mission to support newcomers and the receiving community in becoming a diverse, united community, through services and initiatives that create conditions of success for newcomers and that foster a welcoming environment in Calgary. Most of all it symbolizes what the Calgary we imagine - a community that values diversity, in which people of all backgrounds find and create opportunities to fulfil dreams and participate fully as citizens.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Youth Possibilities Program Kicks Off @ CFN

This week marks CFN's kick off of an exciting and important new program - Youth Possibilities. The 21-week full-time program funded by The Government of Canada's Skills Link Program is for immigrant youth, or first generation Canadians, who have not yet been successful in work or school in Canada.  Youth clients are supported to develop and begin to act on a career plan, to develop Life Skills and Employability Skills, and to practice their skills in a supported work placement with a local employer. With these supports, participants develop the skills to enter and succeed in the
labour market.  

Those in attendance will receive training in Group-based Employability Skills as well as a 12 week paid work experience program. Immigrant youth and refugees who face barriers to employment are supported to develop their employability, communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills to a level where they can enter the labour market or engage in career-focused education. For a few photos of the first week CLICK HERE.

Youth Possibilities Program @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Benevity Makes Donation @ CFN

Yesterday CFN welcomed representatives from Benevity Inc to our offices, so that they could donate a big bundle of gifts to an Eritrean Family who  have been in Canada just 3 months. The Holiday Season often inspires many to give, but with the world in throes of technological revolution people increasingly want to give where and when they want, often using their smartphones or tablets to do so. Calgary based Benevity has found success marketing its software, which helps employers and employees donate time and money more effectively, to some of of the biggest corporations in the world.

Benevity now helps about two million employees at companies like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and Nike give to charities in real time using the companies' software. By extension, Benevity is the global leader in online workplace giving, matching, volunteering and integrated grant management solutions. Some of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Benevity to power their Goodness Programs and corporate philanthropy, helping them attract, retain and engage today’s workers by connecting people personally to causes that matter to them.  Benevity will process donations for more than 100,000 global charities this year and as a certified B Corporation, Benevity is part of a unique breed of for-profit companies with a social mission.

CFN would like to thank Benivity for reaching out to us and adopting a family for the Holiday Season, but even more so we would like to congratulate them on their success and tremendous work they do each and every day to facilitate the spirit of giving the world over. For a few more photos of their visit CLICK HERE.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Osocio - A Place for Good Samaritans Around the Globe

Wanting to impact change via social causes, activism and non-profit work most often starts with a grass roots effort, spreading awareness, and engaging community.  This philosophy very much grounds the work we do here at CFN. A site often visited to inspire and inform such work is Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.

Unlike commercial advertising, which only attempts to influence purchase decisions, non-profit ads seeks to connect us with other human beings. Social advertising has an uncanny power to make us stop, think and then take action to help a person, or a group of people, who we don’t even know, who might be from a foreign culture, living thousands of miles away. And for that reason we celebrate these ads, study them and discuss them at length.

If you feel you can collaborate in any shape or form, please contact Osocio. They are always keen on new social campaigns, while looking to amplify non-profit marketing or the work of an agency, along with news, links or tips. Keep up the great work guys!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The CFN Winter Event

The CFN Winter Event is held every December to show newcomers how to celebrate their first winter in Canada and a chance for them to be more familiar with their new home.  We are expecting around 120 clients (adults and children) and it is hoped this will create an opportunity for them to interact and build social networks among fellow newcomers from different parts of the world.  CFN has also invited different community/city resources like the Calgary Public Library, Calgary Police Service and Alberta Health Services. And most importantly, there will also be lots of fun activities for both children. and adults alike! 

WinterFest @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

CFN Podcast Centre - An Immortal Moment in Time

The Holiday Season is a nostalgic time of year when the smell of buttery cookies, the twinkling of lights, and the good cheer and warmth of spirit in the atmosphere help us rekindle our own memories. Feelings of joy and promise and hope and family, that some might even call magic, stream through so many of us this time of year. And it's special time of year when holiday decorations, laughter and the first notes of "Charlie Brown Christmas" hold the promise that maybe Santa does actually exist.With this being the last podcast of 2016 and the holidays fast approaching, this week's podcast is of memories past, those immortal moments in time that stay with us forever. Tune in to check it out. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rate Your Soft Skills

Soft skills are term we often hear, but just what are they? Perhaps the best definition is soft skills are the daily life skills we use to interact with other people, whether in a one on one or group setting.  People who work to develop their skills see more success in both their professional and personal lives than those who do not. Employers often seek to hire staff with good soft skills and when 10 resumes with the same amount of experience and education are sitting in front of them, they will take the one who shows those soft skills in an interview.  In the end, employers want people who will work well in a team and be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, customers and clients.

Skills such as communication, language and presentation skills, being able to resolve conflict, accept criticism, assume leadership, be flexible, make small talk and understand workplace etiquette are almost entirely based on culture. That is why learning culture and language go hand in hand for not only newcomers to Canada, but for anyone working in a multicultural environment.

Below are ten statements that represent soft skills. Go through them one at a time and answer them as honestly as you can.  Upon completion, add up your score and download the ratings key at the link below the statements to see how you measure up!

Download your rating HERE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

CFN Productions - The Future of Video is Now

The Centre for Newcomers recent October launch of CFN Productions is a reflection of the times. In 2014 video content comprised the majority of consumer Internet traffic for the first time, making up 53%. Video made up an impressive 65% of all the world's internet traffic in 2015, and we are due for some mind blowing consumption over the next couple of years. According to a new report from Cisco, by 2019, online video will be responsible for four-fifths of all global Internet traffic.

Cisco states that the dramatic increase will not only be driven by the increased popularity of video streaming services and the use of handheld devices. but also by the sheer number of us that will be connected by 2019. Over half the planet (around 3.9 billion people) will have access to the Internet by that time, but the number of devices able to access the web will be three times as high as the global population. Just to put this into perspective, every second nearly a million minutes of video content will cross I.P. networks by 2019.

Courtesy Cisco Systems
A side effect of so much video content is that there are huge swaths of cat videos and people rambling on about everything and nothing from their basement webcams. That being said, an amazing benefit is the incredible, thought provoking, and artistic content that can be found found from all over the world at your fingertips.

Perhaps, above all else, video offers us a powerful tool to raise awareness of important issues not covered by mainstream media content brokers. Websites like Films For Action have catalogued over 3000 of the best films and videos that can be watched free online, sorted into 40 subjects related to changing the world. In essence, a website like Films For Action provides citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society, while reducing the dependence on corporate media and providing more meaningful and reliable ways to stay informed on issues that matter.

The list goes on from there with an endless amount of content for everyone's preferred tastes, as free video lectures, short films, entertainment, news & politics and more are all online and being consumed at rates never before seen. Simply put, children grow up today with video being there most used tool for both education and entertainment.

In the end, video is no longer the future. Video is now.  CFN productions will continue to produce and distribute unique content, while converging with the newly forming narrative of diversity in today’s modern world and we look forward to further connecting with you in 2017. And remember, everyone has a story.... what's yours?

Every Life is a Story - Tell Us Yours from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Monday, December 12, 2016

50 Gain Employment at CFNs Latest Job Fair

On Friday of last week CFN hosted a Popeye`s Louisiana Kitchen Hiring Fair right here at the Centre and the response was incredible, with nearly 200 attendees coming through our doors. Even more incredible is that no less than 50 people left CFN with a job Friday afternoon. This represents a truly amazing return, and even more so when considering the tough economic times here in Alberta these days.

Here at CFN the world we imagine for Calgary is a community that values diversity, in which people of all backgrounds find and create opportunities to fulfil dreams and participate fully as citizens. It is our hope that participating in a collective gathering with other job seekers in the same room allowed those in attendance to discover several things one can use to improve their chances of landing a job. A big tip of the hat to all those here at CFN and the volunteers who worked so hard to make this event happen. Best of luck in your search and keep your eyes open for more upcoming events here at the Centre For Newcomers! 

CFN Productions - The Volunteer Files

A great way to learn about different cultures, help others, network, and expand your resume, all at the same time, is to volunteer with an organization like CFN.  The benefits of volunteering in fact work both ways and often it's the volunteer who gets more out of donating his or her time and effort. Volunteering means establishing great connections, building your career, and supplying a sense of purpose. Above all else, a volunteer is on the front lines of community building and making Calgary the best city it can be.

Last week CFN productions had the chance to talk to Veronica Radder, from the Volunteer-led Refugee Integration Project. In order to meet the demand of a larger influx of refugees accessing services at our Centre and respond to the offers of volunteer support from the community at large, the Centre for Newcomers created a volunteer-led response and Veronica has been with us since its inception back in April 2106. The Project offers the ability for refugees on wait-lists to still be in touch with the Centre, gain networking skills and learn about the community. Volunteers are involved in the integration process through networking and building community with newcomers. Centre staff act as liaisons to assist the volunteers, coordinate efforts and invite refugee clients to activities and events. Find out more about the different volunteer opportunities at CFN by giving us a call at 403-539-5854 or visiting our website. To hear Veronica's thoughts on volunteerism and her time working with the Volunteer-led Refugee Integration Project click below.

The Volunteer Files @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, December 9, 2016

CFN Podcast Centre - It`s Cold. That is All.

The CFN Podcast Centre has been frozen over this week in Calgary`s coldest stretch of frosty weather in two decades. It's been a week straight of temperatures between - 20 and - 30 degrees Celsius. Yes. Celsius. Apologies to the three other countries in the world that might stumble across this post via a google search who do not use the metric system. That being Liberia, Myanmar... and what was the other one again?  You can take the temperature above and use this site to convert them if you wish. Sorry. The cold brings our my inner Rick Mercer and the Podcast Centre, after all, is all about the cold temperatures this week. Tune in to listen to a rant on Canadian weather.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

CFN Productions - The Littlest Newcomers & Season's Greetings

Recently CFN Productions was privileged to visit the Centre For Newcomers child care services. It was a special day of song, food and gifts to celebrate the Holiday Season. While there, it was easy to be reminded that the love of children inspires an interest in the welfare of all humanity; they inspire us to start our lives over, to listen, to learn, and to care. In many ways, they are like the living messages we send towards a future we ourselves will never see - Calgary`s future and the future of Canada.

To help our clients stay focused on their studies, CFN offers free of charge child care services for those with children while they attend class. By creating a positive and welcoming environment, our child care team helps children between 19 months and 6 years of age to develop social skills, while establishing new relationships with others and the world around them. The child care team plans regular activities helping these littlest newcomers to Canada adjust to a new life and a whole new world. Creativity is also encouraged within a multicultural context, while taking into account varied stages of development and striving to instil and develop both respect and understanding.  Above all else, CFN is dedicated to helping children to make a positive transition into Canadian society - and to making Calgary their home. A heartfelt and special thank you to each and every member of CFNs amazing child care team. Your work couldn't be more important.  For more photos of our visit click here and to take a peek at these littlest newcomers enjoying the holiday season simply watch below.

The Littlest Newcomers & Seasons Greetings From CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

DiverseCity OnBoard

Canadian cities are among the most diverse regions of the world, with immigrants and visible minorities comprising an increasing share of their population. There are more than 170,000 nonprofit and charitable organizations in Canada, many of which are headquartered in our urban centres. All are governed by boards of directors, drawn from members of the public. In addition, municipal, provincial and federal governments appoint thousands of citizens to serve the public good on their many agencies, boards and commissions. However, there is a disconnect between who sits on these boards and the increasing diversity of the population.

Bow Valley College's DiverseCity onBoard Training program directly addresses this challenge with a board matching service that identifies, trains and facilitates the placement of qualified candidates in governance roles on not-for-profit organizations and public agencies, boards and commissions. We provide online governance training that is available to everyone, anywhere, including individuals who are not part of our matching program.

DiverseCity onBoard bridges the diversity gap in governance and raises the standard for modern governance. It is the “go-to” program that provides governance training for everyone and connects qualified candidates from underrepresented groups to not-for-profit organizations and public agencies, boards and commissions. Training is provided through an online learning campus supplemented with in-person discussions and events. Connections are made through a searchable database that matches qualified diverse individuals with board opportunities. DiverseCity onBoard promotes full inclusion, working with individuals and organizations to diversify boards and reap the benefits diversity provides.  For more information on this timely and valuable program visit their website.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

CFN Productions - Youth Possibilities

CFN is excited to announce a new initiative  - The Youth Possibilities Program. The Program supports immigrant youth who have not yet been successful in Canada to succeed in the labour market.   Participants overcome barriers to employment through career planning that helps them to identify a career direction, through the development of self-knowledge, communication and teamwork skills, through developing an understanding of workplace expectations and the labour market, and through supported work experience with a local employer.  For more information give us a call at 403-569-3325.

Youth Possibilities at CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Cinderalla & CFN

Alberta Theatre Projects is inviting refugees from Syria to see their Family Holiday Show, Slipper: A Distinctly Calgarian Cinderella Story, free of charge on December 1 or December 8, 2016. The goal is to make all those in attendance feel welcome and to take part in a Canadian holiday tradition along with their sponsors, friends and neighbours.This program is made possible thanks to a generous grant by the Canada Council for the Arts

As far as this this incarnation  - Cinderella is a normal teenaged girl from Calgary who just wants to do her work, get along with her family and play her guitar. Then one day she meets a handsome time-traveller named Eddie Prince who invites her to compete in the Stampede talent show. One problem: her crazy stepmom won’t let her. Can Cindy win the competition’s top prize and maybe Eddie’s heart too? With a little help from her Fairy Godmother, she might just have a chance!

A special thanks to Alberta Theatre Projects fro all of us here at CFN for their generosity and providing the opportunity for the greater community to be exposed to Calgary Arts and Culture. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

CFN Recognizes International Volunteer Day

Today, December 5th, is International Volunteer Day (IVD). Founded by the United Nations in 1985, IVD is a global celebration of volunteers. It takes place every year on December 5 to shine a light on the impact of volunteer efforts everywhere. Volunteers are leading social change around the world. This special day promotes the work of volunteers at all levels, including local, national and international.

The benefits of volunteering work both ways and often it is the volunteer who gets more out of donating his or her time and effort. Volunteering means establishing great connections, building your career, and supplies a sense of purpose. Additionally  Psychology Today even claims that those who regularly volunteer live longer and healthier lives.

CFN currently has more than 100 volunteers and today would like to send out a heartfelt and very specal thank you. You are the backbone of our orgnization and we are able to strive towards our mission, each and every day, because of your efforts. The lives yuo have touched and the differences you have made cannot be measured and will stay with people forever. Today is your Day! For information on how you can volunteer with CFN visit our website give us a call any time at 403-539-5854.
"Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time and skills without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose."
                               UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

CPR Training @ CFN

First aid helps ensure that the right methods of administering medical assistance are provided. Administering first aid to victims in the event of accidents, mishaps and occurrences during office and school hours or in the case of some accident can mean the difference between life and death. One must know the basics of administering first aid and this knowledge is gained by getting trained and why CPR training is so important

Several CFN clients received hands on CPR training recently and the kits used were courtesy of a non profit organization DIL Walk.  An acronym for Do It for Life (DIL) and Wellness, Access, Linkages and Knowledge (Walk). DIL Walk can be seen as a catalyst to generate awareness about heart disease. It helps to create linkages by having community organizations set up booths, and share knowledge. It focuses on access by abolishing language barriers and bringing local physicians and health professionals to the participants. Participants have an opportunity to attend a wide variety of classes in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English ranging in topics such as High Blood Pressure, Physical Activity, High Cholesterol, Obesity, Sleep Apnea, Diabetes, and Stress Management. In addition, participants have their blood pressure checked, blood sugar checked, waist circumference measured, as well complete an activity and sleep apnea screen. This information is entered into a personal passport for the participant to take home. It is encouraged that participants show the passport to their physicians to further help them self-manage their health, and promote wellness.

CFN sends out thanks to DIL Walk for providing the opportunity to train CFN clients in such an invaluable skill set. For more information on how to get involved with the organization please visit their website.  For more photos of the training session CLICK HERE. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

CFN Collaborates With Empower & Enactus Calgary

Empower, from Enactus Calgary,  is a business Skills Training Program that exists to teach entrepreneurial skills and business fundamentals to educated immigrant women. Their project complements the current skill set of immigrant women and empowers them to start their own business. Through collaboration with various immigrant organizations, women with an entrepreneurial desire will be identified as candidates. Over the course of the coming year, women will participate in workshops run by students / faculty from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, and industry speakers to teach them the fundamentals of business. Workshops will cover key topics, such as marketing, budgeting, financing, staffing and building a strategic business plan.

The Centre for Newcomers is collaborating with Empower on this project and will be holding an information session on Thursday, December 8, from 2.30pm -3.30pm at the Centre for Newcomers. For more details give us a call at 403-648-2219. 

CFN Podcast Centre - One Year Later and Canada's Current Economy

For those first wave of Syrians to arrive in Canada, December marks the end of the government-sponsored refugee package and its monthly living allowance. They now will either have to support themselves or fall back on provincial social assistance. When you add the refugees taken in from other countries around the world over the last year to the 25,000 Syrians who entered Canada, we as a country took in nearly 45,000 refugees in 2016. This is going on at a time in Canada, and especially here in Calgary, when economic times are as tough as they have been in a generation. Was it the the right thing to do? For thoughts on this and more tune into this week's podcast. 

CFN Productions - Speaker Series Event

Wednesday night CFN held its 3rd Speaker Series Event, addressing the often overlooked topic of disability & displacement. The panel and lead presenter Dr. Yahya El-Lahib of the University of Calgary discussed how marginalized social groups such as people with disabilities are the first to fall through the cracks and how such circumstances leads one to ask what can we do differently in supporting the settlement and integration experiences for immigrants and refugees with disabilities?

Thank you to Dr, El-Lahib and the panel, Dr Anne Hughson, Helene DeKlerk and Denise Duchak. Most of all a big thank you to all those members of the community who joined us and offered their thoughts and views on this important topic. In the end, this night was for you. For a look inside the evenings events click below and watch out for our next Speaker Series event coming soon!

CFN Speaker Series from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

CFNs Ethnicity Catering Holiday Menu

December is now underway and holiday season is entering into full swing. As a result, EthniCity Catering is offering an amazing Holiday Menu. Our Chef and Program Manager Mark Sefton has created a delicious festive dinner menu that will cater to the diverse tastes of your guests.

A Social Enterprise of CFN, EthniCity Catering offers service Monday through Saturday with a diverse menu of foods, including Mediterranean, East Asian, European, South Asian, Latin American and Canadian favourites.  All of the dishes are freshly prepared in response to your order. No preservatives or artificial flavourings are used.

EthniCity Catering would like to let everyone know that their updated menu has been refreshed to reflect the current economic climate facing Albertans, while remaining dedicated to providing you with unique, exciting, quality food at an affordable price for any occasion. You can check out the Holiday Menu below and for more information give us a call at 403-569-3325.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cultural Competency Quiz

Workplace culture in Canada has its own set of unique cultural based guidelines and protocols. From our progressively diverse Canadian workforce to the unstoppable forces of globalization, Cultural Competency just may be the 21st century’s most vital skill to ensure effective workplace performance. In this context, culture refers to the values, norms, and traditions that influence the way an individual thinks, interacts and behaves. Even subconscious perception and judgement are driven by one’s culture of origin, all of which can greatly impact day-to-day workplace performance in Canada.

Developing  cultural competency results in the ability to comprehend and effectively communicate with people across cultures, and work efficiently within a myriad of cultural beliefs. This capability is dependent upon on one's own cultural world-view, knowledge of alternative world-views, and the tolerance of cultural differences.  The more dissimilar the cultures are the more vital cultural competency training becomes.  Cultural complications that can arise range from simple miscommunication to all out conflict. Regardless of the difficulties, such problems endanger effective both productivity and performance in the workplace.

Below is a quiz that measure's ones ability to communicate effectively in the Canadian workplace. Based on an Access Employment quiz, choose what you think is the best answer. Afterwards Download the answer key and see your rating.

Upon Completion, Download your workplace communication rating by CLICKING HERE. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Refugees, Lowkey & M.I.A. - One Year Later

It is now one year later for the first wave of resettled Syrian refugees here in Canada. The second year and those that follow will bring about a whole new round of challenges. For those first to arrive, December marks the end of the government-sponsored refugee package and its monthly living allowance. They now will either have to support themselves or fall back on provincial social assistance. For those of us here in Canada, one year has passed since we watched the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War filter into our cities.

One year later perspective and awareness are key; key to understanding, to growing, to survival and most of all - hope.

courtesy Reuters

Developing both an awareness and understanding of the complex nature of the refugee, due to many factors and moving parts, is important toward acknowledging not just the international community's role, but our community's role in aiding refugees today.  It is hoped that, at the very least, the Calgary community now understands the definition of the term "refugee." According to international law, a refugee is specifically someone who is fleeing armed conflict or persecution and has sought refuge across international borders. The UNHCR puts it plainly: "These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences." 

Misunderstanding the term can have dangerous consequences for refugees, and often gives way to political debate and xenophobia in place of relief during a humanitarian crisis.

courtesy AP

While the media's focus is often on Europe and the numbers of Syrians who arrived in Canada this past year, it's important to raise awareness of the fact that the vast majority of Syrian refugees are in fact displaced in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, where massive populations are living in camps near the borders. The still daily influx puts incredible strains on these host countries and their limited resources, especially when it's a relatively small country like Lebanon, which currently has about 1.2 million Syrian refugees, while the country itself only has a population of about 4.5 million. The approximately 30,000 refugees that have been absorbed into a population of 35 million here in Canada pales by comparison.

courtesy AP

Europe has often been called more socially conscious, more engaged with of unilateralism, with multiculturalism, than Canada and the United States, and as a general rule it would be difficult to argue against this. On the European continent one can fly for two hours in any direction and arrive at any number of vastly different cultures, with unique languages and customs. Fly in any direction for 4 or 5 hours on this side of the pond and one winds up in virtually the same place. And if this is true, the artists and musicians of Europe often reflect the multiplicity of perspective on a level that surpasses the more monolithic spheres of influence here in North American life.

courtesy Reuters

Throughout history, artists have risen to the occasion to speak about justice, equality, love, liberty, and peace. With Europe's geopolitical landscape shifting amidst the worst migrant crisis in more than a half century, and the first cracks beginning to show in the European Union and all for which it stands, musicians are reflecting the world around them. Hip-hop artists, a genre of music and expression that is innately political, often come to the forefront at such a time and today is no different. Leading the way in European hip-hop circles for years is Lowkey.

courtesy AP

Born of to an Iraqi mother and English father, he is a product of colonialism, Lowkey's family (Kareem Dennis) escaped Iraq in the 1970’s, according to his song Cradle of Civilisation, a tribute to the land of Mesopotamia. For more than a decade, Lowkey has cut down to the political bone with biting lyrics critiquing the class system, capitalism, the Palestinian Crisis, 9/11, international terrorism and perhaps most famously,  American Foreign Policy in Obama Nation. Whether one agrees with his perspectives or not, his work incites discussion and debate about important topics, exposing the youth of today to the vastness and complexity of their burgeoning new world.

courtesy AP

This brings us to the topic at hand and the tragic and moving photograph taken just over a year ago of a drowned Syrian boy face down in muck after his body washed ashore in Turkey that caused heartbreak among people worldwide, and refocused attention on the international refugee crisis. Lowkey's 2016 release of "Ahmed", a tribute and social commentary about the death of this very same young boy whose life ended all to soon, is a slashing take on the world he sees.  The first verse leaves no doubt of Lowkey's perspective on the crisis that continues to unfold in Syria. "Did Ahmed not deserve a life? - Ahmed never hurt a fly - Ahmed never knew the politicians he was murdered by - Certain times Ahmed wished that he could be a bird and fly - Beyond the sky - Escape the curse of birth that he was burdened by."

Another 2016 release from London born, Sri Lanka and India raised artist M.I.A. (Mathangi Arulpragasam) called "Borders" also comes to mind at the one year anniversary of Canada's intake of Syrian refugees. Rapper,  producer, director,  and artist, M.I.A. began her career in 2000 as a visual artist, filmmaker and designer in west London, before beginning her recording career in 2002 and has since been nominated for an Academy Award, three Grammy Awards and the Mercury Prize.
courtesy Reuters

The track, which fuses eastern and western styles, questions the fabric of modern society – politics, identities, privilege, smartphones and the internet– before reducing the world down to its essentials: family, power, belief and values.

One year later and it appears both everything and nothing has changed. Perhaps all we can do is continue to care, be aware and to understand.  CFN has and will continue to be a voice within the Calgary Community that spreads awareness within the walls of the Centre, online and through social media, in person and face to face, that generates discussions among our own communities about such issues. Above all else, we continue to imagine and strive. each and every day, to help make Calgary a community that values diversity, in which people of all backgrounds find and create opportunities to fulfil dreams and participate fully as citizens. Now... let us see what the next years brings. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

CFN Speaker Series Adds Final Panellist

The CFN Speaker Series will take place tomorrow November 30th, with special guest presenter Dr. Yahya El-Lahib of the University of Calgary. Joining the evening's panel is Helene DeKlerk, Executive Director of New Age Services. (NAS) New Age Services was established in January 1991 to provide the highest quality of services to people with Developmental Disabilities in the Calgary Region. Their services are highly individualized and tailored to the needs of each individual. NAS ensures individual needs are met through a strong team approach where the individual, guardian, front-line and management staff work together as partners.

Helene is also an active committee member of both the Calgary Workforce Council, the Calgary Service Provider Council and regularly works towards serving people with developmental disabilities as well as with youth, seniors and children.

With our Panel complete, please join us tomorrow evening right here at CFN at 5pm for an important discussion about the effects of disability on Immigration to Canada. If you wish to register simply CLICK HERE.

Courage Under Fire

Kupe Zoe arrived in Canada just 4 weeks ago
Kupe Zoe grew up in the city of Goma, population about 1 million, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi, the recent history of Goma has been dominated by the volcano and the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fueled the First and Second Congo Wars. The aftermath of these events still effects the city as Goma was captured by rebels during the M23 rebellion in late 2012, but in 2015 was retaken by government forces.

It was a cool winter night back in 2007 when Kupe, along with his parents and older brother, lay sound asleep. At 3:00 AM a loud and furious bang hit the door to their tiny home, awakening the entire family. With the country at war, the entire populace never knew what to expect. Immediately, fear gripped them all. Kupe's elderly father slowly shuffled his tired feet along the cold floor. Upon cautiously opening the door, four men stood in the shadows of the darkened night. Claiming to be police, they forced their way inside. Kupe, his brother and mother stood frozen at the back of the room. One of the four men then asked Kupe's father to confirm his identity. He did. That man then pulled out a gun and shot Kupe's father in the head at point blank range.

Before his lifeless body hit the floor, Kupe's mother yelled at her two boys to run through the bedroom and out the window. As Kupe's mother threw herself in front of the men, the two boys made a run for it. Kupe's brother helped him up and through the window. His feet hit the ground outside and he ran as fast as he could. Several shots rang out behind him. That was the last Kupe ever saw of his family.

Penniless and with only the clothes on his back, he wandered aimlessly. A man carrying a load of cattle agreed to take Kupe over the border and so, packed in the back of a truck with animals, Kupe found his way out of the Congo and into Uganda.  He soon applied for and received refugee status, but opted to be an urban refugee as opposed to living in camp. Urban refugees are granted permission to be in the country, but do not live in a refugee camp, nor do they receive any of the meagre rations that come with doing so. Basically, one must make a go of life on their own, but that was fine with Kupe. He did not want to live in camp, as he felt this was where one simply waited.

He joined a church, got work where he could, and began to pursue an unlikely vocation. One might not think of Arnold Schwarzenegger as artistic inspiration, but for Kupe it was watching Arnold movies that inspired him to be a filmmaker. Whenever he could, he would use what little money he earned to buy whatever equipment he could find and soon enough, had a small photography and videography studio. Eventually, his church agreed to pay for half of his education and not long after, Kupe enrolled in Kampala's Makerere University in Multimedia studies. Over this time he married. had a child and completed a feature length film - Your Peace is My Peace - seen below.

His wife and daughter came to Canada first and following his graduation, Kupe was sponsored as a refugee to come join them. He has been in Calgary now for just one month and has thus far taken three weeks of workshops here at CFN - Managing Workplace Expectations and Canadian Job Search Skills. He's only been here a short while, but it's hard for us not to be proud of him already. There is no doubt, Kupe's story is one of triumph - but he is not done yet.  Only a month into his Calgary experience and Kupe wants to get back to his passion - film making. He loves to create and capture and counts it as simply a part of who he is. Something tells this writer - it won’t be long until he is doing so.

All of us here at CFN wish you the best of luck Kupe and never forget, you are now, and always be, a part of the CFN family.

Monday, November 28, 2016

CFN Speaker Series Event For November 30th Adds New Panelist

With the contemporary international refugee crisis and the rising numbers of displaced marginalized social groups seeking immigration or refugee status, settlement sectors around the world are struggling to meet the demands for help and support. Within this global reality, marginalized social groups such as people with disabilities are the first to fall through the cracks. These experiences serve as a reminder of the important role that settlement sectors can and should play to prevent such a fate. Such circumstances leads one to ask what can we do differently in supporting the settlement and integration experiences for immigrants and refugees with disabilities?

The CFN Speaker Series continues November 30th right here at the Centre, with special guest presenter Dr. Yahya El-Lahib of the University of Calgary. Joining the evening's panel is Rianne Rogan, a certified exercise physiologist, working with the University of Calgary Rehab Program for the past 6 years. The Rehabilitation and Fitness Program at U of C has been in existence since 1989. It provides individuals with physical disabilities the opportunity to continue their rehabilitative and fitness goals in a community setting. This program is designed to increase the participants' understanding and involvement in the health and fitness area and encourages integration back into other community programs. Rianne is of University of Calgary graduate in Kinesiology. and  cites her passion as helping people achieve goals that bring them closer to an independent lifestyle.

The panel discussion will include the troubling dominant misconceptions about immigrants and refugees with disabilities to highlight the actual and potential contributions that they make to the Canadian local and national fabric. Throughout this discussion, key recommendations for the settlement sector will be provided to improve the quality of services for immigrants and refugees with disabilities.

For more information about this November 30th CFN event, give us a call at 403-569-3325 and to register for this event simply CLICK HERE

#GivingTuesdayYYC @ CFN

Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It`s a time of year that is tantamount to an all out consumer blitz to spend money. Now we have GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

GivingTuesday is a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The 'opening day of the giving season', GivingTuesday brings together charities, companies and individuals to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others. The Kickoff event will be held tomorrow , Tuesday  November 29th at the Cenovus building. Dr. Lucy Miller, President and CEO of the United Way of Calgary and Area will join Wayne Steer, President of AFP Calgary & Area.

We encourage you to donate on Giving Tuesday (click here to do so) Nov 29 or throughout the Giving Season, to help support our vision and ultimate goal for Calgary - a community that values diversity, in which people of all backgrounds find and create opportunities to fulfil dreams and participate fully as citizens. Since 1988 the Centre for Newcomers has been supporting newcomers and the receiving community in becoming a diverse, united city, through services and initiatives that create conditions of success for newcomers and that foster a welcoming environment in Calgary. Further still, the Centre for Newcomers not only provides local leadership, but provincial and national leadership in immigrant settlement and integration as well.

Help support a great cause with a new vision of community building this #GivingTuesdayYYC as all proceeds from this fundraising event go towards Centre for Newcomers programs, impacting over 10, 000 immigrants and refugees every year in Calgary.

#GivingTuesday @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, November 25, 2016

CFN Podcast Centre - Is Canada a Racist Country?

As reports of prejudiced behaviour appear more and more on the news recently, the topic of racism has been circling the Canadian media and by extension water cooler conversations around the country. Both CTV and CBC have even contacted CFN in recent weeks for commentary on such issues and overall, the topic has been trending online at rates not seen in many years. Why? For a commentary on this very topic click here to tune into this week's podcast.

CFN Hosts Syrian Youth Of Calgary

CFN hosted a Government of Canada forum for Syrian youth in Calgary last night. Asked for their ideas and concerns about the settlement process, the youth in attendance offered thoughts on their current needs and what they would like to see done in the community.

Here at CFN we firmly believe that youth engagement empowers young people to have a voice in the decisions that affect their daily lives, Further still, getting youth to participate in activities and decisions that, in the end, adults ultimately control is not real engagement. Authentic youth engagement means young people have real authority and responsibility, while being provided with the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to make good decisions. For  community organizations and policymakers, this means working in partnership with community youth, instead of simply providing services to them. By extension, the youth of a community thus become agents of change themselves instead of simply being targeted for change by external forces.

Actively engaging youth is not only a path to a better community, but  a positive result in and of itself. Youth learn about the goings on of their communities and more importantly. how to make better places and spaces for both themselves and those around them.

CFN would like to thank the government of Canada for lending an ear to the young voices of our community and CBC coming down and shining some light what are truly important issues to all of Calgary. Most of all CFN sends out a heartfelt thank you to all the young people of Calgary's Syrian youth community who took the time to come out and offer their thoughts and ideas. This night was for you and we look forward to working together as you lead our community into the future. For more photos of the event CLICK HERE.

CFN attends Hire10 Event

Yesterday, CFN attended Hire10's Job Fair at the Clarion Hotel.  A new organisation with an interesting twist, HIRE 10 sponsoring employers must pledge to hire 10 individuals over the next three months. The Hire 10 career fair style (on steroids) initiative matches committed, socially conscious employers with prospective employees facing notable challenges in today's economy. Hire10 events are proving that Alberta's employers have jobs and are hiring even during these challenging times. Their goal is stimulating local Alberta communities and economies through increased and focused hiring by our Province's employers.

Hire10 is an initiative for employers looking to promote the positive hiring plans they have to Job Seekers in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Medicine Hat.The organisation is always looking for engaged organizations that want to align their hiring with the positive energy that the pledge will create in our local community and the economy.  In the end, Hire10 brings as many pledging employers together as possible in order to put the job seeker in front of hiring managers allowing them to discuss jobs they have or expect to have soon.

Thanks to Hire10 for the invite and we look forward to seeing more of your events in the future! For more information visit their website and for more photos of the event CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

CFN Productions - Learning With LINC

There is no doubt that CFN is unique in its collaborative efforts with the community, the programs we offer and its continuous drive towards research and development. Whether it be our Ethnicity Catering Program, our work steering youth away from gang activity, Our Indigenous Education Initiative or the research and development of our LGBTQ Awareness Project and Agricultural Training Program, we offer so much more than language and employment opportunities.

That being said, language and employment are indeed vital and important parts to CFNs services and perhaps the backbone to it all is LINC - Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada.The LINC program uses the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) to describe your English language level in reading, writing, listening and speaking. LINC is a free language training program for eligible adult learners. It is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For a peek inside a LINC Classroom here at CFN, simply click below.

Learning with LINC @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

CFN Speaker Series - Disability & Displacement Panel

With the contemporary international refugee crisis and the rising numbers of displaced marginalized social groups seeking immigration or refugee status, settlement sectors around the world are struggling to meet the demands for help and support. Within this global reality, marginalized social groups such as people with disabilities are the first to fall through the cracks. These experiences serve as a reminder of the important role that settlement sectors can and should play to prevent such a fate. Such circumstances leads one to ask what can we do differently in supporting the settlement and integration experiences for immigrants and refugees with disabilities?

The CFN Speaker Series continues November 30th right here at the Centre, with special guest presenter Dr. Yahya El-Lahib of the University of Calgary. Joining the evening's panel is Denice Duchak.  She has worked with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) for the last 14 years in various positions and currently holds the position of Specialist, Community Education and Assistant, Assistive Technology.  She has had the opportunity to educate the public about CNIB Programs and Services as well as performing low tech assessments for clients with vision loss.  Her personal experience with vision loss has allowed her to mentor and support others on the same journey.

The panel discussion will include the troubling dominant misconceptions about immigrants and refugees with disabilities to highlight the actual and potential contributions that they make to the Canadian local and national fabric. Throughout this discussion, key recommendations for the settlement sector will be provided to improve the quality of services for immigrants and refugees with disabilities.

For more information about this November 30th CFN event, give us a call at 403-569-3325 and to register for this event simply CLICK HERE

CFN Speaker Series from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

CFN Productions - Canadian Business Essential for Accounting

One of the most unique and high successfully programs at CFN is our CBEA Prorgam - Canadian Business Essentials for Accounting. CFN, in collaboration with SAIT Polytechnic and funded through Alberta Human Services, offers a bridging program for internationally trained accountants. The program accepts experienced and internationally-educated professional accountants and provides them with Canadian workplace knowledge, skills, and abilities to assist them in their job search in Canada. CFN Production recently say in a a few classes allowing for a look into the program. Click below to check it out. 

The CBEA Program @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

CFN Launches Holiday Season Fundraising Campaign

Are you looking for a great holiday gift for friends, coworkers, clients or yourself? Indulge yourself with a combination pack of 3 festive flavours from around the world - Parsi Chutney, Piccalilli Pickle and Green Apple Jam -  $20 (plus GST) for a set of 3 jars. Help support a great cause and enjoy these affordable and tasty delights. All proceeds from this fundraising event go towards Centre for Newcomers programs, impacting over 10, 000 immigrants and refugees every year in Calgary.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word piccalilli to the middle of the 18th century when, in 1758, Hannah Glasse described how "to make Paco-Lilla or India Pickle". British piccalilli contains various vegetables – invariably cauliflower, onion, and gherkin – and seasonings of mustard and turmeric. It is usually used to accompany a dish on a plate rather than as a bread spread. It is popular as a relish with cold cuts, and with cheese dishes.
  Parsi Chutney
The Parsis, whose name means “Persians” in India, are originally from Iran. They live chiefly in Mumbai and in a few towns and surrounding area Bangalore, India and Karachi, Pakistan. This chutney recipe is made from tomatoes and Indian spices and consists of sweet, sour, salty and hot tastes. It is a perfect accompaniment to cheese boards and cold cuts.
Green Apple Jam
Jam typically contains both the juice and flesh of a fruit or vegetable, although some cookbooks define it as a cooked and jelled puree. Our Apple Jam is simply made with apples, sugar and lemon juice, and is a staple in many Canadian pantries.
Book your order in advance 
because these fantastic treats will not last! 
Delivery is available for a flat fee of $15 when 5 or more sets are purchased and are scheduled for Fridays only, Nov 25 to Dec 16. 

Call or e-mail to order  / 403.537.8809  /

Monday, November 21, 2016

Community Leaders Attend CFNs Ethno-cultural Partner Forum

In Canada, as elsewhere, many immigrants rely on ethnospecific organizations – those that represent and provide services to a single ethnocultural group – to further their economic and social interests. This can have varying consequences for group members. Although dense communal organizing often facilitates economic networking and provides various other supports to recent arrivals,  when working individually, it can also lead to isolation and delayed integration. This is where CFN Community Outreach comes into play.

In line with our mission, CFN held an ethno-cultural partner forum this passed Saturday, November 19th that focused on diversity, fund sourcing and collaboration. Representatives from 16 ethno-cultural associations, with whom the Centre closely partners, came together on a single platform and discussed relevant issues. 42 community leaders and funding partners came together and we here at CFN view Ethno-cultural communities as our strength. It is our constant endeavour to involve ethno-cultural partners into meaningful dialogues and seek their opinions on various topics of interest that can be used towards community capacity building.

A heartfelt thank you for all who attended on Saturday and in your efforts to  join us in ensuring the values of equality and respect, collaboration, communication, professionalism, caring, diversity and inclusion are enjoyed and echoed by all. For more Photos of the event CLICK HERE.