The New Canadians Centre serves over 150 clients a year in Northumberland County. With many people working and learning from home, opportunities to connect and build community are vital, especially when new to a country. With the goal of helping new Canadians build a sense of community and belonging in Northumberland, the NCC arranged many wonderful events and activities for clients to participate in from a magic show to family swimming.
Boutheina Maraoui is the Community Outreach Assistant for our Northumberland Office and she has been working to bring lots of engaging events and opportunities to clients in the community. “We know that the pandemic has led to a lot of social isolation. But it’s important to still find ways to bring people together so we can build community. So with each activity, our goal is to ensure newcomers are connecting with others and the city in a safe way,” says Bouteheina
In the Spring, we organised several virtual activities for newcomers from a weekly bingo game on Zoom to arts and crafts sessions for children. Our Women’s Group also continued to meet virtually once a month where the women learned new skills from planting vegetables and baking to art activities and Zumba.
As the weather warmed, the summer was a great chance for lots of outdoor activities. In July, a magician performed for almost 70 newcomers in Victoria Park where families brought chairs and blankets to sit on while they enjoyed the magic and pizza. It was wonderful seeing the kids react in excitement to the magician’s tricks.
In addition to the ongoing Women’s Group, a weekly Zumba class for women was hosted in the park. The hour-long classes full of music, dancing and fun was a great opportunity to get outside and get moving as well as socialising with other newcomers.
For many Canadian families, carving a pumpkin for Halloween is an annual tradition, but many newcomers are unfamiliar with this interesting art project. In October, we hosted a pumpkin carving workshop where families were provided with pumpkins and given instructions from a Master Carver on how to carve and design pumpkins for Halloween. This was a great opportunity for families to spend time together, have fun and learn a new Canadian tradition.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, the Northumberland office continued to host other activities from a family swim day and pottery painting to a scavenger hunt and most recently, a gingerbread house making session. These events are well attended, and with each new activity, connections are made as families build community.
Keep an eye out for many more fun activities in the new year and get involved!