12 Moments of Belonging: A Look Back at 2019

As we close off 2019, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the important milestones of the past year. And to Thank You for helping newcomers know they belong here in Peterborough & in Canada.

1. Bringing People Together at One Night in the Philippines  – March 2, 2019

While offering a glimpse into the vibrant culture of the Philippines for the 200+ attendees, the NCC’s annual “One Night In” celebration fundraiser also provided a welcoming space for many members of the Filipino community to share their culture, food, and performance. Like volunteer Edward Rama who said, “I was thrilled to see so many people from the Filipino community coming together to have such a great night. Sharing your experiences, your heritage, and the love you have for your home country with the community at large was so meaningful for me. I’m so happy I had the chance to get involved.” 

Read more: Raising funds & celebrating culture at One Night in The Philippines >>

2. Fabiola Contreras Carrasco shares what belonging and community mean to her through the Living Library Program

Sharing stories of who we are, where we come from, and what helps us to feel like we belong is at the heart of the New Canadians Centre’s Living Library program, which features diverse and compelling newcomer speakers. At her first speaking engagement in March 2019 at St. James United Church, Fabiola shared that “Every day in Canada has been amazing because people believe in you.” Feeling a deep sense of gratitude, Fabiola gives back by volunteering as the Facilitator of the Women’s Group at NCC, where her goal for the group is to ensure “newcomer women feel part of this community.”

Read more: Sharing human stories of immigration and integration – Book A Speaker Today! >>

3. Three-year-old Adam reminds us of how far we’ve come

In late April, we received a lovely surprise visit from 3-year old Adam. Adam’s family was the first Government-Assisted Refugee Family to be welcomed in Peterborough in May 2016. A few weeks later, Adam was born at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Seeing how much Adam had grown reminded us of how far our community has come. In 2019, we resettled 12 families comprising 73 people, bringing the total number of resettled families since 2016 to well over 70. Each of these families has been generously supported by Volunteer Support Teams that help them connect to Peterborough and find a sense of belonging here.

Read more: How the NCC has been resettling new refugee families since 2016 >> 

4. The Ripple Effect

In the Spring, we shared a heart-warming story of how one act can have a positive ripple effect that transforms lives. 8-year-old Sarah MacDonald knew Syrian families were in need and that Peterborough was opening its doors to help. She wanted to do something too. Instead of receiving presents for her birthday, she collected money and donated it to the New Canadians Centre. This created a #RippleEffect, inspiring her mom Katherine to hire Magali, a newcomer from Brazil. For Magali, a familiar face at the NCC, this opportunity allows her to practice and learn new skills while enhancing her connection to the community. The generosity of the community, in turn, inspired Magali to volunteer on a Volunteer Support Team to help welcome a new family from Syria.

Watch the Video: Transforming lives one act at a time >>

5. Multicultural Canada Day Festival – July 1, 2019

A signature summer event is the Multicultural Canada Day Festival on July 1. For over 15 years, the New Canadians Centre has been organizing this celebration, which welcomes 10,000+ people each year to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity in Peterborough and Canada. For Canadians, it’s an opportunity to experience a new culture. For newcomers, the festival is their opportunity to celebrate and share their culture with the community through music, food, dance, games, and crafts. Seeing the joy and excitement on the faces of newcomers as they see their culture on display says it all.

Watch the Video: Reminiscing About the Summer – Canada Day 2019 #BringsPeopleTogether >>

6. #WeBelong Campaign Celebrates 40 Years of Inspiring & Encouraging Newcomers

40-Years ago, the seeds of the New Canadians Centre were sown as the Peterborough community came together to sponsor Vietnamese refugees. This group eventually grew into the New Canadians Centre, offering expanded services to immigrants and refugees. This year, the New Canadians Centre celebrates 40 years of inspiring and encouraging newcomers in Peterborough and Northumberland. In celebration of this milestone, we launched the #WeBelong campaign in September 2019 to share powerful stories of Belonging, Home, Hope, and Community from our 40 Years. The campaign kicked off with a special event hosted by supporters Linda and Al Slavin where stories were shared by friends from the four decades.

Read more: Stories of Belonging >>

7. Language & Connection: The English Groups at the NCC Bring Newcomers From Around the World Together

On September 27, we shared a photo on social media of the English Group after hearing the accents and laughter of newcomers from 11 different countries learning and practising English together. Recognizing the important role that language places in integration, the NCC offers four English Groups weekly to support newcomers with their language development at different levels. These groups are taught by volunteer facilitators who bring creativity, empathy, and patience to their teaching. Aruasy, a newcomer from Venezuela, shares that these groups are “providing spaces that allow us to integrate into the international community that exists here (in Peterborough).” And Esther from Peru adds, “The English Group taught me English and how to be confident.” In 2019, 118 newcomers accessed English Language groups at the NCC, with ten newcomers being matched for further one-on-one tutoring in English.

Read more: Language Supports at the NCC >>

8. Partner Thank-a-Thon Celebrates Partnerships That Build Community and Belonging

For 40 Years, the New Canadians Centre has been supported by amazing community partnerships that truly exemplify what it means to be part of a community. These partnerships help to ensure newcomers feel that they belong. We could not achieve our 40-year milestone without the support of our partners. As part of our #WeBelong campaign celebrating 40 years of inspiring and encouraging newcomers, our staff spent the afternoon of October 16 each visiting a community partner of their choice to say thank you, and deliver cookies in appreciation of their continued support, friendship, and collaboration!

See the photos: NCC Staff Thank Partners for 40 Years of Collaboration >>

9. Biking for Belonging

12-year-old Alaa Al Kabouni got his first Canadian bike and helmet thanks to a community partnership that ensured 18 newcomer youth received bikes, helmets, and road safety training in early November. But why a bike? One anonymous donor reflecting on the challenges resettlement can pose for youth shared: “A bike is something that helps young kids feel connected to their community. I hope it helps them feel like they are welcome here, and they belong.” Thanks to this network of community providers, more youth now have the opportunity to engage in their new community.

Read more: Rallying & Riding Together to Support Newcomer Youth >>

10. Open Ice. Open Arms. Full Hearts

Enjoying sports together helps build community and a sense of belonging. That’s what happened Thursday, November 14, at the Peterborough Memorial Centre in a partnership with the Peterborough Petes for Try Hockey Night. Sixty newcomers got to #TryHockey for the first time where members of the PGHA Ice Kats assisted them. On the ice, new friendships were formed between newcomers and the Ice Kats, with many creating their own “celly” handshakes each time a goal was scored. Following this, 200 newcomers watched the Petes take on the Niagara IceDogs with tickets made possible by a generous donation from the Gainey Foundation.

Read More: Hockey now has 200 new fans in new Canadians in Peterborough. Here’s Why >>

11. It Takes A Village

When 19-year-old Raid Hajhasan left Syria to escape the war in 2016, he was living alone in Cobourg. He spoke very little English, and he was very quiet. Except for when he spoke about cars. Raid loved working on them, and he wanted to start his own business. Because of a generous community of people, who understand the important role new Canadians play in growing our community, Raid is now the proud owner of Rapid Raid Auto Detailing and contributing to a community that helped him. Because of this generous community, Raid is realising and living up to his potential. Raid’s story demonstres the power of community. It Takes A Village. And together, we can do so much more. 

Watch the Video: How a 19-year old’s life was transformed through the community’s support >>

12. Sewing at the NCC Celebrates What It Means to Belong

Sewing has always been a great way to #BringPeopleTogether and helps enhance newcomers’ sense of belonging. Throughout our 40 years, sewing has played a central role in welcoming newcomers and building community. In celebration of our 40th Anniversary, our Sewing Collective training program partnered with Madderhouse Textile Studios this fall to co-design and produce a line of products that reflect themes of belonging. The trainees contributed words from their native languages that remind them of what it means to belong: being surrounded by family, friends, and community, and feeling respected and welcomed. These words were transformed by Leslie Menagh, owner/operator of Madderhouse Textile Studios, into beautiful designs that were then printed and sewn by the Sewing Collective into the products displayed and sold at the annual Finer Things Show and Sale.

Read More: Sewing Blonging >>

This story is part of the New Canadians Centre’s #WeBelong Campaign – Celebrating 40 Years of Inspiring and Encouraging Newcomers.

The #WeBelong Campaign shares powerful stories of Belonging, Home, Hope, and Community from our 40 Years. Follow along with the stories and opportunities on our page: www.nccpeterborough.ca/webelong