Friday, July 29, 2016

CIES Expansion Continues with Empowering Syrian Refugees Project Funded by City of Calgary

Acquiring the day to day Life skills in a new culture half way round the world can be a daunting task for anyone, The challenge becomes greater still when arriving under the overwhelming circumstances of a refugee. The importance of life skills such as critical thinking, self-awareness, problem-solving and communication skills within the Canadian cultural context cannot be over stated and that is why CIES developed our Empowering Syrian Refugees (ESR) Project.

Funded by the City of Calgary the ESR project will assist Syrian refugee families through training and one-on-one counselling.  The project will equip the clients with the tools needed to live a productive and fulfilling life in a new society and the ability to find ways to cope with challenges and barriers associated with relocating to a new culture.

Based on our survey, the two biggest challenges that refugees are facing at the moment are: navigating resources that are available in the city, and not being able to make informed decisions. Thus our Navigating Resources and Self-Assessment and Decision-Making sessions will provide adequate information which will help them to make sound decisions based on their unique needs. Each presentation will be 3 hours (including Arabic translation) and the information will be shared among their family members at their home.  In order to increase the participation of women, childcare will also be provided on-site during the training. Clients will be requested to register for the training in advance; but drop-in clients will also be accepted if seats are available.

Our project coordinator will serve as a counsellor and clients can either book an appointment or drop in at our CIES Whitehorn location for personal counseling.  For more information on our Empowering Syrian Refugee Project give us a call at 403-291-0002 or come see us anytime at 3820-32nd Street NE.

MP Kent Hehr to Visit CIES

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. CIES is honoured to have Kent join us next Thursday at our NE Location in Whitehorn to give an hour long presentation on Democracy in Canada to our clients, something he has been doing at Calgary area schools and more for several years.

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.

We look forward to Kent's presentation, and to having his trademark grin and positive attitude join us all here at CIES.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Emerge Market Underway @ the ArtBOX on 17E

Thinking of opening a new business? Have a business idea but want to test the concept with potential customers first? ​ Emerge Market is looking for entrepreneurs for an exciting new outdoor market in your local Greater Forest Lawn neighbourhood.

​This will be a unique market unlike any other market in the city; a fantastic opportunity with inexpensive table fees! It’s a summer, outdoor market that began the second week of July and will continue throughout the summer until the end of September. The mission is to create a vibrant outdoor market to foster the spirit of the community and to give entrepreneurs a chance to operate in a low cost market to test their ideas.

Emerge Market is a short-term operation for the sale of items, prepared food, creative handy work, art work, and items under the direction of a designated operator. ​As consumers look to source locally produced and support local economies by buying product close to home, the popularity of the market continues to grow substantially.

​Why not make your hobby your business? Check out some of our vendor profiles here who have done just that. Contact Emerge Market through their website or call 403-248-7288 for more information and to apply to be a vendor!

Diana's Demo Reel III - The Computer Lab

Access to technology and networking tools as they exist today are changing how we think, work, learn and live. As during the last great split from the normative causalities of daily life illustrated during the Industrial Revolution, the entire template for daily living has been scrapped and replaced with a newly forming organic prototype. What is happening today is just the beginning of the new standard that will lead to ways of discovering and interacting, with both information and each other, in ways never imagined.

When seen through the eyes of a newly arrived immigrant, the barriers that must be overcome in order to integrate successfully into Canadian life are three fold. First, there is the expectation of language skills; then the expectation of interpersonal or soft skills, cultural skills if you will; and lastly, the expectation of digital literacy skills within a Canadian context. Our instructors often lament the difficulties in assisting their students with a task as simple, as one would see it in Canada, as setting up an email address. Some of our clientele, perhaps even a majority, are not fully equipped with the Canadian set of technological skills, which are integral to survival in a culture where individuals are heavily dependent on digital literacy. Canadians have passively absorbed the effects of the technology revolution now underway to the point we often do not consciously recognise the grandiose shift that is unfolding.

That being said our third episode of Diana's Demo Reel takes place in one of our computer labs, with a focus on this particular visit on online job search skills.

CIES Summer Festival - Indigenous Dance Studio Performance

The line up of this year's annual CIES Summer Festival Performers on August 16th at the ArtBOX on 17E may be the best yet. An exciting addition to this year's show is the Indigenous Dance Studio Performance. We are honoured to have them join us and dances that day will include the Women's Jingle Dress, Traditional, the Fancy Shawl, Men's Traditional Dog Soldier style, Fancy Bustle, and the Hoop Dance.  All of us here at CIES are looking forward to what should be an amazing performance.

Jesse McMann-Sparvier is the owner/director of Indigenous Dance Studio.  She has been providing professional Indigenous Arts services since 2009 in Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.  She is a Cree member of Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and holds a Bachelors of Music from the University of Calgary.

Indigenous Dance Studio offers dance, music, visual art programming and workshops for schools and communities across Canada and internationally.  She also directs the Little Bear Dancers, a troupe of community and beginner dancers available for performances, in addition to a professional dance troupe of experienced dancers.  For more information on how to arrange a performance or other services check out their website. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CIES Summer Festival Photo Contest - What is Canada?

When you look around what do you see that represents Canada? It's this question that sits at the heart of the 2016 CIES Summer Festival Photo Contest. There are no rules about what kind of photo you submit as Canada can represent so many different things to so many different people. A tree, your children, Tim Horton's, a hockey player, a mountain, a street, a river, a statue, an animal or family - you name it. Simply submit a photo that says Canada to you! The Contest is open to every one, be sure to email your photos to no later than August 14th, 2016.

When hearing the term Canadian, the freedom to be who you are, hockey dominance, donuts, good beer, equality for all, universal healthcare, public education,  politeness,  diversity, comfort, beauty, desire to help others, being proud, cold winters and beautiful nature all come to mind. Notwithstanding and perhaps above all else, being Canadian means being a citizen of one of the more sane, civilised, and respected nations on the planet, and a member of a community that includes, and welcomes all the world has to offer.

Now what can you find out there that looks like that? Good luck and we look forward to your visions of Canada!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Calgary Jobs, Info & Training

  Here at CIES we always do our best to stay plugged into the Calgary community. so you can be too. From Day one CIES has always believed that strong community partnerships are the best way to have both a meaningful and sustainable impact on the life of immigrants here in Calgary.  We are affiliated with a number of key organizations throughout the city and this expansive network allows us to stay informed on your behalf. Below is a list of upcoming opportunities for a wide range of skills sets and experience levels to improve your skills, network and submit resumes for employment.Click on the provided posters for more details.

Cintas Calgary is hiring Service Sales Reps, Supervisors and Managers.  Attend their Job Fair on July 25 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 1235 23 Avenue S.E.

Southland has immediate openings for part-time school bus drivers and full-time access drivers.

CCIS Cooking Pre-Apprenticeship Training program - acquire skills for a career in the culinary arts!  Attend an Information Session on July 28 at 9:30 a.m.  

The Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship Training program offered by Momentum is accepting applications for September 26, 2016.

CIES Summer Festival 2016 - The Art of Henna

Henna Artist at Work at Last Year's CIES Summer Festival
This Year's CIES Summer Festival is coming soon, taking place at the ArtBOX on 17E on August 16th. The day will be filled with music, dance and activities and we will be highlighting some of what we have n store for you as we lead up to this great community event. To get us started there will be a Henna booth where anyone can get some free Henna art by genuine henna artists throughout the day.

The art of henna has been practiced for over 5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. There is some documentation that it is over 9000 years old.  Because henna has natural cooling properties, people of the desert, for centuries, have been using henna to cool down their bodies.  They make a paste of henna and soak their palms and soles of the feet in it to get an air conditioning affect.
They feel its cooling sensation throughout the body for as long as the henna stain remains on their skin.  Initially, as the stain faded away, it left patterns on the skin surface which led to ideas to make designs for decorative purposes.  In the ancient Egyptian times mummies wore henna designs and it is documented that Cleopatra herself used henna for decorative purposes.

Henna was not only a popular adornment for the rich but the poor, who could not afford jewellery, used it to decorate their bodies as well.It is traditionally used for special occasions like holidays, birthdays and weddings in Africa, Pakistan, India, and the Middle East.

More details of the 2016 CIES Summer Festival coming soon!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 Calgary Census Results

The City of Calgary recently released its census and as always it makes for some interesting reading. That said, the importance of a city like Calgary sending the time, effort and money to complete a census cannot be overstated. The census is most definitely important. Our whole representative democracy is based on it, as it ensures that each community gets the right number of representatives in government." Because representation is based on population, an up-to-date tally is essential.

The census also helps with the equitable distribution of public funds, for things like educational programs, healthcare, law enforcement and highways as the equitably distributing the tax dollars requires up-to-date population data. The information provided can also help lawmakers design new legislation, while being of interest to marketing companies and political groups. In broad terms, the census helps us see how our city is changing.

And it is for this reason that the Calgary Census Bureau was nothing if not persistent! To download a full copy of the 2016 Calgary Census Results Book simply CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Literacy & Basic English @ CIES

Specifically designed to help adult immigrants who have extremely low to non-literate language skills acquire the basic essentials required for learning English, this program works to minimise the language-learning obstacles experienced by some individuals and prepare them for basic conversation of the English alphabet and words.

This program focuses on improving participants’ self-esteem and confidence when using the English language. CIES currently offers morning and afternoon Literacy and Basic English classes. The goal of this program is to introduce the basics of the English language to low-literacy participants and minimise language-learning obstacles.

This free program is open to permanent residents, refugees and unlike many of our programs even Canadian citizens, helps adult learners develop basic literacy skills and learning strategies which prepare them for future ESL study, such as our LINC and Drop-In ESL programs. The classes are taught by encouraging and positive instructors who create a hands-on learning environment for all students. The classes extend over a course of 10 weeks with over 100 hours of classroom instructional time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pho Down 2016

The Pho Down had an amazing turnout on Saturday as over 600 people got their Pho Down! This was an incredible event that would not have been possible without the support of the students, teachers, and staff at CIES.  Thank you everyone for participating, or volunteering to make this a success. Together we showed we could have a positive effect on our community and city. The students did outstanding work both before the event and during.

A special thanks to Mayor Nenshi, Cllr. Chabot, Cllr.Carra, and MLA Luff for their kinds words and support and to CIES Executive Director Dr Sally Zhao for her faith in the project. What a great learning experience. We have a lot to talk about and to work on for next year. Come Pho Down 2017!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

CIES Partners with Women in Need Society

CIES is pleased to announce that we have become a partner with Women in Need Society (WINS). Practicing social good since 1992, WINS is an environmentally conscious non-profit organization dedicated to the repurposing, upcycling and recycling gently used items into social good. When you choose to recycle your gently used household items and clothing by donating to WINS you are making a difference in the wellbeing and health of our community.

 As a not-for-profit thrift retailer WINS repurposes gently used items for social good plus 75% of the revenue generated through WINS thrift stores goes directly into supporting vital programs.

The purpose of our partnership with WINS  is to promote access of basic needs for economically challenged women and their families. WINS offers free clothing, household items and furniture to women referred by CIES. CIES will do a needs assessment to determine client eligibility and fit for the Free Goods and Service Referral Program (FGRP).   Through this program,  clients can get coupons to receive clothing, household items and furniture from WINS locations in Dover, Fisher Park, Bowness and Richmond. For details on how CIES can help you find out if you are eligible, contact us at either of our locations - NE 403-291-0002 - SE 403-235-3666.. For more information about the Women in Need Society and to find our how you can contribute, visit their website.  

CIES Expansion Continues

As 2016 moves forward so does CIES with further expansion to our LINC department. With an additional thirteen Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes, CIES now offers 69 LINC classes across two locations.

We have been proud to serve the community of Calgary for nearly three decades and with two bustling and up to date centres on both sides of the city open 7 days a week, we look forward to three decades more. And we will do so carrying forth the same goal that has been there from day one - to provide Calgary immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals with a solid foothold and afford them the opportunities to grow into productive, confident and contributive Canadians.  To watch the CIES Board of Directors President give a brief history of our Society click the video below.

CIES @ The Calgary Stampede

Yesterday marked the final day of the 2016 Calgary Stampede and as is always the case with the greatest outdoor show on earth, a great time was had by all who entered the grounds. 

Upon receiving an invitation from Centre for Newcomers, CIES joined Immigrant Services Calgary, the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth, The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and the Calgary Immigrant Woman's Association for a group VIP tour of the Stampede facilities. Access to the infield, the Agri Centre, a tour of the new First Nation's Village and more was on the agenda for what was a unique and enjoyable day at the Stampede grounds.  Once again a special thanks to CFN SEO Anila Lee-Yuen for asking us to come along! 

The day was also a great opportunity for our city's immigration serving agencies to get together and connect, as the collaboration and partnership of all our organizations only works to better serve our community.  For more pictures of our day at the grounds CLICK HERE.