Tuesday, January 31, 2017

CFN to take in Calgary Northeast: The Show

There is no escaping the fact that there are some negative connotations affiliated with the northeast quadrant of Calgary. That said, Rundle, Whitehorn, Temple, and Falconridge are areas of the city where local actors Andrew Phung and Jamie Northan grew up in and very proudly so.  The show demonstrates that braggadocios spirit many of us have about their hometowns and neighbourhoods, while at the same time showing the importance of laughter. These type of shows not only often combat prejudices,  they make us laugh at that pettiness many of us invoke when it comes to citing our differences, and by extension, revealing our incredible similarities. In other words, the build a sense of community.

Phung and Northan have put together a collection of their favourite memories of growing up in Calgary's NE, which includes some of the lowest incomes communities and the highest concentration of recent immigrants in the city, for an upcoming improv show this Friday at Loose Moose Theatre as part of the Calgary Fringe Festival.

A 75-minute production made up of a series of improv scenes, Northeast: The Show features stories and characters from the real-life experiences of both actors. There has been a lot of buzz about the show since first showing up on its Facebook page and its sure to be a good time. Watch for details and pics of the show right here next week.  To get your tickets online click here.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Canadian Business Essentials for Accountants @ CFN Sees Most Recent Graduation

One of the most unique and high successfully programs at CFN is our CBEA Program - 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 recently saw it's most recent CBEA group graduate last week, with all going on to a 2 and half month long work experience practicum with local businesses here in Calgary. For a few pics of the day CLICK HERE and for more details on the program watch below.

The CBEA Program @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

CFN Kicks Off 3 Things For Canada Campaign

3 Things For Canada @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

3 Things for Canada asks all Canadians what they would give to Canada for her 150th birthday. CFN is honoured and happy to take part in this initiative of the Mayor's Civic Engagement Committee which was itself inspired by Mayor Nenshi 3 Things for Calgary campaign.

3 Things for Canada encourages citizens to get involved in their community, in their city and their country in a manner that is meaningful to them. They can be big things or small things, with a goal of going out an engaging the community. You can share your 3 Things for Canada using #3ThingsforCanada on Twitter @3ThingsCanada or on the 3 Things for Canada Facebook Page.  Our hope here a CFN is to do our part in getting as many Canadians as possible to do 3 Things for Canada, celebrating our great country in process.

Throughout 2017 CFN staff, clients and partners will share with you their 3 things for Canada and you can see our first set of gifts for the big 150th above. And that leaves us with just one question - What three things would you do?

1000 Attend CFN Job Fairs

Working with Harmony Beef, on Friday of last week (Jan 21) and the Saturday before (Jan 27) CFN held a two part job fair right here at the Centre. Jan 27th also included TD Bank conducting interviews of existing CFN clients. Incredibly, the combined number of job seekers at CFN was more than 1000. TD Bank also interviewed 20+ on Friday  with the intention of filling a number of customer service positions and Harmony Beef's intention is to hire more than 150 when all is said and done.


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  allowed those in attendance to discover several things one can use to improve their chances of landing a job. Thank you to Harmony Beef and TD, and 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!

Friday, January 27, 2017

CFN Podcast Centre - First Impressions

One thing this writer will never grow tired of is listening to people from around the world tell me stories about their first experiences with Canada. Having been a traveller to nearly 50 countries to then serve within Calgary's immigration sector, the perspective of others is something I have been lucky enough to surround myself with for the better part of the last two decades.  That brings us to this week's Podcast and a fine fellow by the name of Abraham, a recent migrant from the historical country of Ethiopia. We were supposed to talk about his recent graduation from our Canadian Business Essentials For Accountants, but spent most of our time talking about his arrival in Canada and his first impressions of life here in Calgary. Not altogether altruistic, hearing people from around the world talk about Canada far more often than not fills me with great pride and simultaneously, serves as a reminder that the simplest things in life can make the biggest differences and by humble extension offer the greatest of beauty. To hear our chat with Abraham CLICK HERE.


A CFN Tale - Sometimes Vacations Become Peace Building Missions

 Here at CFN we have people haling from dozens of countries around the world. In other words, under our roof you can find an endless array stories and adventures the likes of which one may never come across otherwise. Below is a guest post from CFNs own Paul Atanya, Career Practitioner, on his recent trip home to Uganda and yes, it is no doubt an interesting tale. Although CFN was not affiliated with his work there, we couldn't be prouder of Paul for his efforts.
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My flight departed Calgary on November 30, 2016 for what was supposedly meant to be a well-deserved vacation, to spend time with Mama and many, many next-of-kin. It would not turn out as a normal vacation, but a rather private working undertaking. The Calgary-Montreal-Brussels-Entebbe flight was long. The plane landed at Entebbe Airport, Uganda, at 9:55 pm local time. Uganda is 10 hours ahead of Calgary. A ride from Entebbe to the capital, Kampala, lasted another hour.

I spent the next three days shopping for a second-hand vehicle, to take me to Mama’s. To avoid being taken advantage of, I asked a local to pretend as a buyer and to do the bargaining for me. I was lucky. The scheme worked.  I left the capital Kampala, on the 4th of December at 4 am, driving my newly acquired rusty Toyota Hilux on a dirt, unpaved and seldom maintained road, with lots of pot holes. It felt somewhat strange driving on the wrong side of the road. The folks there drive on the left-hand side of the road.

I arrived Kaabong, Dodoth District headquarters at 10: pm. Mama did not know when I would be
arriving from the capital and had already gone to bed early that evening. But sleep disappeared at the hearing of the arrival of the son from Canada. Pleasantries and greetings ensued. The whole clan, neighbours and woke up to greet. Grand kids, nieces, in-laws, etc., came to greet. Some neighbour were awaken by the noise of a vehicle. Vehicles rarely travelled to my mother’s residence except when my friend Lonya, travels there to deliver groceries on his motorcycle.

After an hour or so, I bid Mama a good night and crashed. The next morning, John Lonya, Executive Director of a Karamoja Peace and Development Agency (KAPDA), phoned me and asked to get ready for an emergency peace meeting between the Turkana of Kenya and the Dodoth of Uganda. The Turkana are nomadic people, who had been forced by drought to seek pasture and water in Uganda. They had done so for centuries. They recognize no international boundaries, a creation of British colonialists. They had crossed the international boundary without the authorization of the Government of Uganda.

“We have come to seek water for ourselves and our animals”, they told the locals. “We have nowhere to go. You have a choice to make. Kill, us or leave us to graze and use Loyoro River to water our animals and for us to drink from.”

I told Lonya that I would attend the meeting. Lonya’s organization lacked recording equipment. So I offered to use mine. I was tasked with taking video and photos. Loyoro is a small town in north-east Uganda that I used to go and compete on school music competitions during my elementary school years. Arriving at the site of the meeting, I could not recognize the town because it had been destroyed by the same people seeking to use it to water their animals. It was during President Idi Amin rule (mid-1980s). The area was awash with lethal automatic firearms. It resulted in destruction of this once beautiful and peaceful and vibrant town situated along the Uganda-Kenya border. An Italian Catholic Priest was gunned down while celebrating mass; the entire town was deserted and a few inhabitants retreated to the hills and mountains for safety. Others fled to Kaabong.

The meeting was called to order. In attendance was the RDC (Resident District Commissioner, the President’s) representative in the District, Regional Army Commander, the Police Commissioner and Local Area Councillor, MPs and Sub-counties Councillors. I was introduced as guest and son of the land, who came from Canada. The mentioned of Canada raised the issue of grazing and water to an international level:

Firstly, intellectuals from Kenya asked me to intervene, by raising the issue with the Canadian Ambassador in Kampala, to pressure the governments of Kenya and Uganda to allow the Turkana to graze freely in Uganda.

Secondly, intellectuals from Uganda requested that I ask the Canadian government to provide funds to Uganda, to drill boreholes to water the Turkana animals as the water holes had buried three shepherds attempting to fetch water for animals in 2015. I asked the representatives of the governments of Uganda and local NGOs to write me a concept paper regarding the water shortages facing the Turkana. The government of Uganda resented the Turkana’s cross-border movement without the express authorization of the government of Uganda. Their entry into Uganda was considered illegal. I told the meeting not to over react. That the Turkana incursion into Uganda was temporary and seasonal.

Two weeks later, I was again asked to attend another meeting at Lodiko, east of Kaabong, and, to resolve the cattle raiding dispute between the Turkana and the Dodoth. Lodidko had become notorious route for Turkana raided cows and the Turkana had threatened to wage war on its inhabitants. One week before the meeting, the Dodoth were alleged to have raided more than 340 cows and 248 goats of the Turkana. Again, I became the official photographer and videographer. I was introduced as the son of the land whose grandfather had created havoc on the Turkana through a famous battle of Kosike (early 1900s). That meeting ended up with the return of the raided cows and goats to the Turkana.

I guess sometimes a vacation becomes a peace building mission... for more photos CLICK HERE. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Three Things For Canada

A sense of community is vital to a productivity and hope, as it brings with it a sense of identity and pride. Building community is important because it allows people to interact with each other, share experiences, develop valued relationships and work toward a common goal.

2017 is Canada's 150th birthday. Imagine if every Canadian did three things for their neighbourhood their nation and their world this year. We would have over 100 million acts of community building. For Canada’s 150th birthday, let’s all give a gift of three things. They can be large or small. Just ask yourself: What am I passionate about? What can I do to help?

3 Things for Canada is a national campaign created by the Mayor’s Civic Engagement Committee of The City of Calgary after a challenge from Mayor Naheed Nenshi to get all Canadians to become more involved in their communities. The power to make extraordinary change lies in everyday people doing everyday things. So what will your three things for Canada be? And watch out next week for some of the things CFN will be doing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bell Let's Talk Day @ CFN

"I'm good" is most often the phrase of choice when someone asks how we're doing, but rarely do we take the time to check in with ourselves and see if we are truly good.  With Bells Let's Talk Day being January 25th, (#bellletstalk) an initiative that seeks to help end the stigma around mental illness, now is the perfect time to talk about all of the things we don't normally discuss. This week is a time to not only raise awareness about mental illness, but to also consider ways to improve our mental health. Below is CFN CEO Anila Lee Yuen talking about her own struggles with mental health. And further down is a wick fact sheet courtesy the Canadian Mental Health Association. 

Let's Talk Mental Health @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Who is affected?
  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

How common is it?
  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What causes it?
  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
  • Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
  • Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.

What is the economic cost?
  • The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
  • An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system.
  • In 1999, 3.8% of all admissions in general hospitals (1.5 million hospital days) were due to anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behavior.Sources: The Report on Mental Illness in Canada, October 2002. EBIC 1998 (Health Canada 2002), Stephens et al., 2001
How does it impact youth?
  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

Monday, January 23, 2017

CFN CEO Speaks @ Calgary's Women's March on Washington

More than 5,000 people packed out the front of Calgary's City Hall on Saturday to march in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington. The crowd filled the steps at City Hall and packed the street, pouring into Olympic Plaza and blocking off Macleod Trail. The event even drew Alberta-born icons Jann Arden and k.d. lang. Along with blessing by a Treaty 7 elder and traditional drumming, the thousands in attendance gathered at the Famous 5 sculpture in front of Arts Commons, ending the march at the Municipal Plaza. A big thank you to the organisers Women's March on Washington  - Calgary Chapter  for putting together a truly memorable day, as well as to all the speakers and performers, including Elder Cheryle Chagnon, Emcee Adora Nwofor. Poet Lauarte Micheline Maylor, Indigenous Engagement Lead Teneya Gwin, Spoken Word Artist Sheri–D Wilson, Aurora Claire Borin and The Lovebulliesr  Below is portion of CFN CEO Anila Lee Yuen's addressing the thousands on hand, the opening speech of the day's remarkable gathering.

Women's March on Washington @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

CFN Productions: Peer Mentoring @ CFN

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately, mentoring connects a person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity.

CFN Multicultural Peer Mentorship for Professionals  is a 4-month program that matches Mentors working as professionals in their industry in Canada with Mentees who are professionals striving to find employment in their fields. It allows for newcomers to learn from the stories and experiences of successful immigrant professionals, while improving their knowledge, skills and understanding of the Canadian workplace culture and the environment. Additionally, it helps establish a wider peer support network within and outside one's culture. Funding for the program comes from United Way of Calgary and Area and City of Calgary Family and Community Support Services. 

Marwan Shamel's is currently a mentor at CFN, and his journey to becoming a mentor is truly a Canadian story. CFN Productions was lucky enough to visit Marwan at work, as well as one of his mentoring sessions.  To take a peek simply click below.

Mentoring @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Chinese New Year @ CFN

Today CFN started the countdown to Chinese New Year at the Centre with an afternoon of dance, fun, and great food. The total Chinese population in Canada is more than 1.2 million, meaning the Chinese people and culture have a tremendous impact on all aspects of our country.

Although there are many interesting legends and stories explaining the start of the Chinese New Year festival, the main two reasons for the festival are to celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, relax with family, as well as to wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year. Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. Chinese traditionally celebrated the start of a new year of farm work, and wished for a good harvest. This has now evolved to celebrating the start of a new business year and wishing for profits and success in various vocations. The main traditional celebrations of the festival include eating reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes, firecrackers, new clothes, and decorations.

2017 is the Year of the Rooster and the Rooster is the tenth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029 and so on. The Rooster is the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work. In Chinese culture, another symbolic meaning of chicken carries is exorcising evil spirits.

Thanks to the staff who put in all the work to make this a celebration for all of us and special thank you to CIBC and T & T super market.for sponsoring our staff celebration! For more pictures of the event CLICK HERE. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

CFN & Calgary Outlink Collaborate on LGBTQ Initiative: The New Canadians Resiliency Project

More than 75 countries have outlawed homosexuality and at least a half dozen countries have official legislation allowing for homosexual acts to be punished by death. Because of the physical and emotional abuse that some people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) receive from their communities – coupled with the ongoing threat to their well-being – many have fled, and continue to flee, to Canada in search of a safe haven. 

That being said it would be safe to say that LGBTQ refugees (and community members in general) receive a minimal welcome upon their arrival in Canada and service options available to them are limited at best. By extension, these services, although meeting some needs, will simply not be able to meet the majority of needs. The result is the exacerbation of identity conflicts and a deepening of isolation. The collaboration between the Centre for Newcomers and Calgary Outlink highlights the importance of providing a more expansive and thus more inclusive range of settlement service options to LGBTQ newcomers through the integration of said LGBTQ services into settlement agencies that are both mainstream and culturally specific.

Through extensive research and conversations, we know that although some immigrant serving agencies receive training on the issues faced by LGBTQ newcomers - such as rejection by their local ethnic community, or the rest of the population  - currently there are no specific settlement services targeted at assisting LGBTQ immigrants and refugees in Calgary. CFN, working in partnership with Calgary Outlink, is seeking to change that.  Watch below as we speak to Calgary Outlink Executive Director Kelly Ernst, along with Support Worker Michael Cacace and Centre for Newcomers Settlement Manager Dario Ontolan about this groundbreaking initiative. For more information on this program please contact Dario at D.Ontolan@centrefornewcomers.ca
LGBTQ Project @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Noor Kidwai @ CFN 2017 Fundraiser - The Art Of Comedy

Comedy offers a way to think outside the box, as well as question ourselves, society, and entire countries, and does so in way that we might not otherwise do. It offers an outsider's perspective of life and our attitudes towards virtually everything. Perhaps most importantly, comedy has the ability to cut through the harshest of truths, while creating little to no animosity. As a result comics like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Prior, Eddie Murphy,  and more recently Louis C.K. and Chris Rock have all helped shape the cultural landscapes of their times. 

On March 4, 2017 CFN will hold its 2nd Annual Fundraiser: A Laughing Matter. One of the evening's performances will be the stand up comedy of Noor Kidwai, a young comic this writer thoroughly enjoyed when taking in a performance at the Laugh Shop here in Calgary. A big thanks for Noor for helping us make our 2017 fundraiser the best it can be and for tickets to the show simply click here!  Below is a brief bio written by Noor himself. 

I was born in Calgary, Alberta but when I was 7 years old my parents bought a bowling alley in a small farming town in High River, Alberta.  Soon later we moved to High River where I definetly felt like an outcast.  My parents eventually bought a one screen movie theatre called the “Wales Theatre” where I worked at for years to come. 
I was always a fan of Improv and used to do it throughout middle and high school.  I joined an Improv team in high school and we stayed together long after we graduated.  Luckily my parents owned the movie theatre which had a stage and we started putting on Improv shows there.  I was 19 years old and over the summer we slowly gained popularity in the town of High River.  I was also at that time enrolled in the University of Alberta in Edmonton and we put on one more show in High River before I went back to school.  That show turned out to be huge because that was the first time I ever grabbed a mic and actually told jokes to an audience.  When you do Improv there is 3 other people on stage with you, I never thought I would have the balls to be on stage by myself, but I got the taste of it and knew that this is what I wanted to do! 
For the next 5 years I finished my BSc degree and also toured doing Improv and Stand-up.  I was planning to go into medicine when I went to school but deep down I knew I wanted to be a comedian and ended up pursuing that rather than medicine to my parents dismay.  I did any gig that I was offered, many in some dinky Northern Alberta town, for very little money but very valuable experience.  I was raised Muslim and grew up in High River, and most of my earlier jokes were based on that. 
When I was 23 I moved back to Calgary and started a weekly show at a place called “Jupiter Lounge” with Eric Steel who is another comedian who I started with in High River on the Improv team.  That is where we started “Jupiter Comedy”.   The “Jupiter Lounge” is now called the “Oak Tree Tavern” and we have been running it for almost 4 years now every Wednesday.   We are also starting another weekly Tuesday room at a venue called the “Night Owl”.  We promote shows all over the place and still at the “Wales Theatre” in High River. 
I have being lucky enough to be able to tour around the country doing comedy and feel blessed to have “Jupiter Comedy” doing so well.  My comedy has evolved in the last few years and I now talk about a whole variety of subjects.  I fell in love with comedy by watching comics like Chris Rock and George Carlin, They were able to make people think differently by making people laugh.  That is a beautiful skill and I wish to have that one day.  Until then I am just going to keep writing and performing as much as I can!

CFN CEO Joins Bell's Let's Talk Campaign

Bell's Let's Talk campaign is underway for 2017 and once again the initiative seeks to help end the stigma around mental illness. This year Centre for Newcomers CEO Anila Lee Yuen sat down with CFN productions to talk about her own journey through mental illness and the importance of overall mental health awareness in Canada.

It’s a fact, one in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma attached to it. The annual Bell Let’s Talk awareness campaign and Day is driving the national conversation to help reduce this stigma and promote awareness and understanding and talking is an important first step towards lasting change. Beyond the campaign itself, for every text, call, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook video view and Snapchat geofilter used on Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 25th, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives across Canada. CFN both congratulates and thanks Bell for this wonderful initiative that has now been up and running since 2010. For more information on Bell's Let's Talk Campaign please visit there website,

Let's Talk Mental Health @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Where is Home?

“Where is Home?” is a documentary film focused on homelessness and the complex social issues facing the city of Lethbridge, Alberta and many other communities across Canada.

The film presents unique perspectives from many individuals, including members of the homeless population, municipal government, law enforcement, service providers, doctors, educators, health professionals, as well as members of the local business community and the general public. Through these perspectives, and supported by multi-perspective historical information and expert lectures, the film presents a thoughtful, respectful look at history, the reality of the current situation, and hope for what can be done to make things better for everyone in the future. To request an official screening copy of this film for educational, fundraising, or public screening purposes, visit their website and to watch the documentary in its entirety simply click below.



The fact is homelessness is a growing issue in our city but it’s an issue that we can do a lot to change. In Calgary on any given night, over 3500 people are homeless. The true face of homelessness may not be the image that first comes to mind. People without a home include those with jobs, women fleeing violence, children and the elderly.
FACT: At least 40% of Calgary’s homeless population is employed
FACT: Nearly 300 children under 18 years of age are homeless in Calgary
FACT: On any given night, 160 families sleep in Calgary shelters
FACT: 65% of women at risk of experiencing homelessness reported being a victim of domestic violence
FACT: Here in Calgary, 14,000 households are at risk of becoming homeless and having their lives changed forever.
FACT: Each month 60,000 Albertans rely on food banks and 43% of them are children
FACT: In Alberta, 63% of shelter users are in Calgary, compared with 28% in Edmonton and Edmonton has over double the affordable housing of Calgary
FACT: It’s estimated between 15,000 and 17,000 different people use an emergency shelter at least once every year in Calgary
FACT: People with low level needs can be housed for $4000 per year
FACT: Studies indicate that homeless people with the highest needs incur system costs of $100,000 per year and many have been homeless for a decade or more
FACT: 34% of Calgarians know someone who experienced homelessness and 50% of Calgarians know someone who was close to homelessness
FACT: It costs two to three times less to end homelessness than it does to manage it

source:faceitcalgary.com

CFN CEO to Speak at Calgary Women's March


A Washington march in support of women’s rights will take place on January 21st and Calgary is getting in on the action. Organizers will stage a rally in downtown Calgary on Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. The event is one of about 10 across Canada.

CFN CEO Anila Lee Yuen will be join the roster of speakers that includes Calgary’s Poet Laureate Micheline Maylor and local comedian and activist Adora Nwofor, all of whom are coming together in solidarity to rally in the spirit of equality, diversity and inclusivity. The event also serves as reminder that the rights, freedoms and sense of safety we cherish must not be taken for granted. People will gather to say loudly we do not tolerate discrimination. People will gather to support women and all who are targets of hatred and closed minds. Above all else, people will come together in the name of community. For more details visit the event Facebook page. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

CFN Podcast Centre - A Federal Perspective

The CFN Podcast Centre returns this week after an extended break over the holidays. Our first podcast of 2017 is also our first featuring a guest, as already having Kent Hehr in the CFN Offices giving a presentation to some of our clients, we managed to sit him down for a bit and ask him a few questions about his work in Prime Minster Trudeau's Federal Cabinet, the Liberal Party a year into their mandate, and how we move forward in working with The United States as they go through their rather interesting change in power down south. To hear what Kent had to say CLICK HERE.


MP Kent Hehr @ CFN

Today CFN received a visit from MP and Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr. Kent gave a speech on Canada's proud tradition of democracy and afterwards took questions, of any and all kinds, from the audience. A gifted public speaker and all round nice guy, Kent charmed the room of nearly 100 people, on his way to informing them about just how important democracy is and how it works at all levels.

Kent Hehr has overcome enormous personal and political obstacles to become a Calgary Liberal MP and as a hometown boy, Albertans have been paying close attention to Hehr for years now. His profile has only increased since arriving on the national stage. A Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Buffalo from 2008 to 2015, Kent Hehr is a lawyer, community leader and Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Calgary Centre after winning in the 2015 Canadian general elections. Hehr was named Minister of Veterans Affairs in the federal Cabinet, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on November 4, 2015. Part of his mandate letter by the prime minister, was to reopen the nine veterans affairs offices closed by the conservative government, restore lifelong pensions for injured veterans, increase the value of the disability award, expand access to the permanent impairment allowance, create a veterans education benefit and more.

After an informative presentation laced with humour and fun, the selfie line up was lined up outside the room, but Kent made time for every single person. A big thank you to Kent for stopping by and spending some time with us here at CFN. For more pictures of the event CLICK HERE.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mr. Maslow & the Needs of Newcomers

Have you ever been hungry when you were trying to get your work done? Ever been exhausted with a deadline coming down on you? What about feeling a lack of confidence in your ability to complete a task with which you have been charged or feeling like you don’t fit in when you’re part of group that has been given an important assignment?

In the end, all of these needs are part of a systemic labyrinth of requirements necessary to reach the frame of mind needed to draw out the best from within us. When well fed, well rested, confident, believing in our own possibilities, and feeling accepted by those around us, we flourish and begin to seek out that which we most desire to accomplish. From lower order needs, like thirst or hunger, to higher order needs, like esteem and self worth, we find ourselves on a Socratic, Bloomzy rise towards a high-level sense of being. Here however, is where Mr. Maslow and his hierarchy of needs take centre stage.

Abraham Maslow’s psychological based personality theory has profoundly influenced Bloom’s Taxonomy, (there seems less and less original about old Bloom’s work these days) due in large part to the practicality of his approach. Maslow, like most any humanist psychologist, believed humans instinctually strive for upper-level potential. Further still, humans seek the frontiers of their potential only when the base-level needs are met and then work their way up through a pyramid of necessity, until attaining the state of fully-functioning individual, or as Maslow referred to it as a "self-actualizing person."

Below is Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs. According to Maslow, an individual does not feel the second need, until the burden of the first has been fulfilled, nor the third, until the second, and so on.

Physiological Needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sleep
Safety Needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability
Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness - work group, family, affection, relationships
Needs for Esteem - self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, responsibility
Needs for Self-Actualization - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences, knowing who you are, where you’re going and what you want to accomplish

Like many hierarchical theories, Maslow’s ideas are often represented as a pyramid, with the larger, lower levels representing the lower needs, and the upper point representing the need for self-actualization. Maslow believed people don’t move in the direction of self-actualization, due to obstructions placed in their way by society and cited inadequate education as being one of these obstructions.

In applying his thoughts towards newcomers to Canada and the settlement sector as a whole, it could be argued that Maslow is pointing those within in it towards being better counsellors. In the end, settlement practitioners are no doubt part counsellor, part psychologist and part mentor, not to mention educators. It is important to always keep in mind newcomer clients look to those in the sector for support, acceptance and care at a time in their lives when they are in the midst a grandiose odyssey towards purpose and identity, place and self; and in today’s fast-paced, mechanically organic, gig-a-minute world the challenge to do so is greater than ever. Newcomers to Canada have been forging their identities from birth, but as immigrants the pressure to commit to a new Canadian identity can, at times, be overwhelming. Those within the sector should never lose sight of this fact. Assimilation often forces the demanding and often unpredictable synthesis of one's cultural identity and the newly forming immigrant and eventual, Canadian self, all the while this is simultaneously downloaded upon the ever-expanding hard drive of an assimilating mind. Then, like newfound applications, they apply them, and thus themselves, to their own personal and very dynamic social networks of their new Canadian life.

Long philosophical story short - this writer is of the opinion that those within the settlement sector carry out profoundly important work, not only within those individual lives who seek out their services, but within the grandiose confines of the future of our country as a whole.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

An Open World Begins With An Open Mind

DNA tests from organisations like ancestry.com  have become more and more popular these days, as people take a journey through a genetic time machine in search for identity. In order to determine where in the world your DNA is from,  kits look at 700,000 different spots on the genome. The genetic markers found at those spots are then analyzed by computer programs that compare them to the markers of people who are known to be good representatives of distinct ethnic groups around the world. Those ‘reference populations’ correlate to twenty-six different geographical areas across the globe and thus reveal one's ancestry.

The reveals at times challenge the very notion of identity that people  have been carrying within them their entire lives. Extremist and prejudiced ideas that people carry within them can also be challenged by the results of such tests. Watch the video below and see the power such results carry and how an open mind, one person at a time, truly can change the world.

First Thursdays at the Glenbow Free for 2017

Glenbow Museum and Servus Credit union want to start off 2017 off right and have announced another full year of Free First Thursday Nights.

On the first Thursday of every month throughout 2017, Glenbow will stay open late and admission is free from 5-9pm. Glenbow is partnership with Servus Credit Union who is back on board to support this Community Access initiative. In 2016, almost 22,000 Calgarians came out and enjoyed all things Glenbow and Calgary arts at Free First Thursday Nights.

As a key cultural cornerstone in Calgary for 50 years, Glenbow has surprised and engaged generations of Albertans and visitors to the province with remarkable connections between art, culture and the world around us. Glenbow provides us with a sense of place -- what it means to live in this amazing landscape -- and an appreciation for the legacy of the remarkable people and events that have shaped our community.

Glenbow's collection represents Western Canadian art and culture, both as a repository of important cultural history but also as a living record of contemporary life in this part of the world. Our collecting priorities respond to our community and over the past 50 years, the collection has shifted and adapted to incorporate new voices and perspectives. Our collection includes over a million objects, documents, photographs and artworks, making Glenbow one of the largest museums in western Canada. For information on all of the exhibitions that will be open between now and spring, check out their website. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The New World

In 2001 approximately 750 million across the globe had access to the internet. Today nearly 3.2 billion are connected. That being said, living in Canada (nearly 90% of Canadians are online) it's easy to forget that more than half the world still lives without an internet connection.  Here we all see it, everywhere, all the time. Digital technology, social media and online living is simply how life now unfolds. Those born after the 90s, and all those who follow, have grown up with this environment being the norm. and it will only continue to advance with each passing year.

The bottom line is digital technologies have transformed learning of all kinds across curricula everywhere. Such an assertion is neither pejorative nor constructive, but a simple statement of fact that people must deal with the world over. The advantageous and detrimental factors that come with any quantum shift in how human beings live, work and learn should not be the focus (although it all too often is). Just as the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions changed the schemata of human life, the Technological Revolution, of which we are now in the throes, is changing every aspect of our existence. Life will adapt, for better or for worse, with or without those who choose to accept the world as it is.

When it comes to those involved in education, training and professional development, those involved in such an environment, more than any other, must re-think, re-plan and re-execute effective learning. In the midst of revolutionary change, we must learn to harness technology for the future, not only for the betterment of their those learning, but for those whose careers are based around the transfer of knowledge to others. In other words, it is a matter of survival.

Simultaneously, as in the haste of any revolution, that which came before cannot be left entirely behind. Scaffolding traditional  methodologies and management techniques, with the demanding realities of a technologically driven world is now more important than ever. The dramatic shift to a technology based learning environment can isolate people from one another. By extension, methodology standards, such as modelling, independent and guided practices, and anticipatory sets are still very essential to learning. Regardless of the delivery method, the course of intellectual development occurs when speech and practical activity converge and the methodologies we use are the vessels by which we ensure the most effective transfer of this process.

Sustaining motivation to learn is strongly dependent on the learner’s confidence in his or her learning potential, and why classroom management also continues to be vital to creating such paradigms within individual students and learning collectivities. Knowing the world in which learning takes place and the quantum shift that is unfolding responsible for creating this new technological biosphere is paramount to the survival of effective learning in the 21st century.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Building a Life In Calgary - A Community Cultural Exchange

CFN would like to invite newcomers to Canada to join us at the Calgary Stampede for a fun-filled day of learning and activities. CFN has joined the organizing committee of Building a Life in Calgary - Community Cultural Exchange - a free family friendly event to connect people with the resources needed to continue building a life in Calgary. Speak with fellow refugees and immigrants about their experiences settling in Calgary, learn about money management, volunteering, working in Calgary, along with information on English language classes. Have fun with family activities, including crafts, games, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. This all takes place between 12 pm and 4 pm on Saturday February 4th, 2017 at the BMO Centre, Hall B, at Stampede Park

Language interpretation will be available at this event. The BMO Centre is located within a five-minute walk from the Victoria Park / Stampede C-Train station. We hope to see you there!

CFN Sets Date for 2nd Annual Fundraiser

Join us at CFN for a celebration of diversity and community with long-time Calgary party band the Reuben Kincaids and local comedian Noor Kidwai! Plus enjoy some great food from one of the best in the biz, EthniCity Catering. Not to mention a 50-50 draw, a silent auction and cash bar! All proceeds go towards CFN programs and services. Come help us build community, have fun and most of all, work towards the Calgary we imagine and strive for each day – a community that values diversity, in which people of all backgrounds find and create opportunities to fulfill their dreams. More details coming soon so stay tuned!



CFN CEO to Speak @ Ottawa's Canadian Immigration Summit 2017 - Innovating at 150 and Beyond

In 2017, Canada commemorates its 150th anniversary—and celebrates the vital role that immigrants play in its success as a nation. The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, will highlight immigration's central role in our national history at the 2017 Canadian Immigration Summit 2017 Ottawa.Key themes of the 2017 Summit agenda include shaping immigration policies and programs to meet the needs of business, harnessing technology to support newcomers and enhance the efficiency of the immigration system, and empowering immigrants and refugees to  find and create good jobs in Canada.

Guest speakers include The Hon. Lena M. Metlege Diab, Minister of Immigration from Nova Scotia, Marie Chapman, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Museum of Immigration, Craig Alexander. Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist at the Conference Board of Canada and CFN's very own Chief Executive Officer Anila Lee Yuen.

On the eve of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the country’s immigration system faces major domestic and international challenges. At home, immigrants and refugees often struggle to find good jobs and integrate into Canadian society. Business argues that Canada requires a quicker, more responsive immigration system. Abroad, large refugee flows have called Canada into action. An ever-competitive global economy has created abundant opportunities for the internationally mobile, for whom Canada is only one of many options.

That being said, innovation is part and parcel of Canada’s immigration system. From the development of a transcontinental railroad following Confederation which gave immigrants access to farmland in the West, to the establishment of the world’s first skills-based points system and private refugee sponsorship program, to the Provincial Nominee Program and Express Entry in more recent times, Canada turns towards innovative solutions to achieve its immigration objectives and enhance the nation’s prosperity at this is what sits at the heart of this years summit in Ottawa.  For more information of the summit visit their website.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Take the Calgary Quiz

Most of us know that 2017 is Canada's 150th birthday but what about Calgary? Set dramatically between prairies and peaks, Calgary is a Western Canada metropolis surrounded by incomparable natural beauty. How much do you know about Canada's fourth largest city? How old is Calgary? How many people live here? Take the quiz below and download the answer key at the bottom of the post.




Download your answers here.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 Highlights @ CFN

2016 was an incredible busy, entirely transformative and deeply impactful year for the Centre for Newcomers. New partnerships and programs, along with fresh leadership and ideas, were combined with the stability, knowledge and experience that comes with three decades of dedicated service to the Calgary community. What resulted was a year like none before it.
What's New @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

And so, although difficult to choose, below, in no discernible order, are the Top 5 CFN highlights for 2016.

1. 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 in April 2016. The response and support from the community was overwhelming. 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.

2. World Refugee Day 

In June of this past year CFN held its World Refugee Day celebration to honour the courage, strength, and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict, and violence. We were proud to partner with Mennonite Central Committee who had their People on the Move: The Human Face of Migration display for viewing at the Pacific Place Mall during the month of June. Also, would like to thank the Aga Khan Foundation who presented their amazing "Together" exhibition at the event. Building on this, CFN also launched a city-wide Refugee Awareness Campaign to engage the broader community in showing their support for our fellow Calgarians by wearing an orange ribbon through the month of June.

3. Building Community Partnerships

CFN believes outreach work means playing the role of liaison between community members and not only our organization, but any who can help those in need get access to care and services. By extension, working collaboratively with community stakeholders is a cornerstone of CFNs mission. Over the course of 2016, CFN doubled its previous numbers by establishing 8 new formalized partnerships with community stakeholders for a total of 16. CFN very much believes the non-profit sector of Calgary is a family of caregivers, helping those who need it most, however and wherever we can. All of us here at CFN strive towards collaboration with our non-profit family, as in the end we are all here to help those who need it most, and by extension, help in making Calgary the best city in can possibly be for all who live here.

4, New Programs and Services 

-Indigenous Awareness Initiative-
Historic injustice and trauma have contributed to deep social, cultural, economic and spiritual challenges for Canada’s Indigenous people. Fewer newcomers to Canada understand these devastating and everyday experiences faced by our Indigenous community members. The CFN Indigenous Education Initiative seeks to support efforts aimed at ending cycles of systemic discrimination and abuse faced by Indigenous people through culturally appropriate educational workshops on indigenous issues, meaningful partnerships that seek to create alliances for public education and awareness among partners and within the broader community.

-Agricultural Program- 
As an addition to the Employment and Career Services programs, CFN is currently in the process of creating an employment training program for immigrants that addresses the shortfall of 26,000 employees in the Canadian agriculture market. Partnering with employers in the agriculture industry and the Calgary Stampede and receiving support from the MLA for Olds, we are exploring a potential partnership with Olds College to implement this program. This initiative is designed to match agricultural workers who have arrived in Canada, with suitable work here in the Calgary Area.  Small town, rural newcomers who worked as farmers in their homeland have skills to contribute to the Canadian community via farming.

-Domestic Violence Project- 
A newcomer woman abused by her spouse or partner may suffer forms of abuse unique to the newcomer experience. Immigration and sponsorship processes often put one partner in a position of power over the other. The reinforcement of power works as an imbalance and in favour of the abuser. Newcomer women also face particular barriers to accessing the services available to them. This often takes the form of lack of access to information on their legal right, as a result of isolation, language barriers and fear of losing their children or even their immigration status.  Working in collaboration with the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective, the University of Calgary`s Gender Studies Program & the Alberta Council of Women`s Shelters, CFN seeks to address these issues.

LGBTQ Awareness Program 
There is clear absence of knowledge in newcomer populations on LGBTQ issues in Canada, which in turn poses a problem for individuals, workplaces and communities absorbing newcomers across the country. The outcome can be twofold - either educating those who may discriminate against members of the LGBT community, along with addressing the lack of knowledge of LGBTQ immigrants themselves will carry upon their arrival in Canada. Many LGBTQ newcomers come from countries where they have faced overt discrimination, violence and persecution as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In almost 80 countries, LGBTQ persons are still criminalized for who they are, how they look or whom they love. The goal of this imitative is to address this gap.

-Youth Possibilities Program- 
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.

5. CFN Communications Opens for Business 

During the 3rd quarter of the 2016-2017 fiscal year CFN established a Communications Department and Social Media engine charged with increasing brand awareness.  Near daily correspondence with clients, employees and external stakeholders were established to keep people informed of society events, initiatives, and developments as well as events and happenings within the community at large. Further still, strategies were created to increase employee awareness and promote productivity. The Blogger platform was initiated, Instagram was opened and the already established, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were engaged at a capacity not before utilized.  CFN Productions was also established to fuel communication platforms with content, with nearly 20 original productions highlighting the mission and vision of CFN already filmed and released to the public at large by 2016's end. 

Take the Citizenship Challenge

Presented by Historica Canada through funding from the Government of Canada, the Citizenship Challenge asks Canadians to test their national knowledge by studying for and writing a mock citizenship exam in French or English. The Citizenship Challenge questions are based on the Discover Canada Study Guide. This is the same booklet used by newcomers to study for the citizenship test and can be downloaded here.

Register for the Citizenship Challenge for a chance to win prizes including an all-expenses-paid trip to Ottawa or a Citizenship Celebration. Individuals, classrooms or community groups are invited to participate.  Historica Canada is the country’s largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of Canada’s history and citizenship. So.... would you pass the Citizenship Challenge? CLICK HERE to take the test and find out!

Canada's 150th - 30 Things You May Not Know

Well it's finally here! Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 is an historic moment with the power to bring people and places together, while dreaming big about our communities and our country. It’s a chance to encourage all Canadians to contribute to their communities in a way that will foster a greater sense of belonging, support meaningful reconciliation and leave a lasting legacy now and for future generations. Throughout the year, CFN will bring you stories, info and more about Canada's 150th year and the many celebrations and events that will unfold throughout the course of 2017. To kick things off CFN Productions brings you a compilation of stunning images and interesting facts about one the best places in the world to live out the human experience. Stay tuned for more throughout 2017 and Happy New Year!

Canada's 150th Birthday @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.