This Is Our Love Letter to Peterborough – We Wouldn’t Have A New Canadians Centre Without You

“I wouldn’t have a life without the New Canadians Centre.”

That’s what Miguel Hernandez told me when I asked how the New Canadians Centre has helped him.

Miguel is painting a beautiful mural at our front entrance. “It’s an expression of gratitude for all the opportunities the New Canadians Centre has given me.” An artist and former client of the NCC, 31-year-old Miguel arrived in Peterborough in 2014 from his homeland of Venezuela with no money, no prospects for a job and very little English. “It’s a thank you to all of Peterborough. It represents all of the things I love about this country. In short, it’s a love letter to Canada.

To Our Dear Community,

This is our love letter to you. Your loyal support helps transform the lives of over 700 newcomers from all over the world, every year. We are so grateful to you for being partners in our work. Thank you!

Artist Miguel Hernandez and his love letter to Canada 

Your generosity helps newcomers like Miguel learn English. “I was afraid to speak because of my accent. I lacked the confidence to express myself. They say there are angels put on this earth to guide us. Those angels were my English language instructors at the NCC. Diane Cancilla and Susan Lawrence encouraged me to learn and to express myself. And my world changed. Doors started to open for me.”

You are our angels on earth. Because of you, Miguel gained the confidence he needed to get a job as a server at a local restaurant. “I started working and meeting all kinds of people from our community. They made me feel like I belonged.” Your support helps newcomers like Miguel forge community connections that lead to employment, a sense of contribution and belonging.

Thank you for being there for newcomers like Miguel at a time when they need us most.

Now, as we face this monumental change in our day-to-day operations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are relying on you more than ever. Despite the challenges associated with social and physical distancing, all New Canadians Centre staff are focused on making sure clients continue to be served in the best way possible. We’re facilitating client groups online to help newcomers continue their learning. We’re constantly checking in with clients by phone and email to combat social isolation. 

We can’t do this work without you.

NCC Women’s Group connecting online via video call

“I have been missing my friends and the regular activities we do. Then we found out the NCC is bringing the Women’s Group online. It is so good to connect with one another. To laugh and for one hour, feel relaxed instead of worried about what’s going on all around us. Thank you to the women for being part of this beautiful group and to the NCC for letting us live these moments online, and keep us together.”  – Fabiola Contreras Carrasco, Newcomer & Facilitator of the NCC Women’s Group

40 years ago when Vietnamese refugees were forced to flee their homeland, our community was there to offer help. Peterborough came together and shared their love for humanity, much as they are doing now. It was during this period that the New Canadians Centre was formed. A place where newcomers like Miguel were welcomed and supported with essential services. A place to call home.

When Syrian families were in crisis and needed a safe haven to escape the brutality of war, our community filled auditoriums and school gymnasiums offering their support, time and generosity to help families build a new life. 

You’ve helped us build a community where newcomers are welcome, inspired, encouraged and supported.

Now we’re asking you to once again rally and hold a place for newcomers in your heart. 

We’re asking you in the days ahead as we face the challenges associated with these unprecedented events, to continue supporting the New Canadians Centre. We’re asking you to support the programs that help newcomers to not only learn English, but develop the capacity to express themselves in meaningful ways. Like Miguel.

We’re counting on you to help us support newcomers in their commitment to building skills to secure jobs. We’re relying on you to help newcomers build community connections that support a sense of contribution and belonging. Like Miguel.

I can’t say it enough. The New Canadians Centre wouldn’t be here without you!

Just like Miguel. Who wouldn’t have a life without the New Canadians Centre.

Because of you, Miguel is fluent in English. He is employed and also volunteers his time as a Board Director at the Art School of Peterborough. “When I needed the New Canadians Centre, they were there for me. For the first time in my life, I know I belong. I am fully integrated in this community. I’m so proud to call Peterborough home.” 

Thank you for standing beside us when we need you most.

With gratitude,

Andy Cragg

Executive Director, New Canadians Centre

Yes Andy, it gives me great joy to support newcomers when they need us most!

Secure Online Donations can be made below:

The New Canadians Centre Peterborough strives to empower immigrants and refugees to become full and equal members of Canadian society, and to provide community leadership to ensure cultural integration in a welcoming community. 

Formed in 1979, the New Canadians Centre has been inspiring and encouraging newcomers for 40 years. Learn about the #WeBelong campaign celebrating this milestone.