An upcoming World Refugee Day event in Red Deer will serve as a welcome to all newcomers.
Care for Newcomers is set to host its Welcome to Newcomers event at Festival Hall on June 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In past years, the nonprofit organization’s World Refugee Day events have focused on refugees’ lives before coming to Red Deer. This year’s approach is a little different.
“There are people who are new to Red Deer, but they all have different statuses – there are refugees, immigrants, temporary foreign workers, displaced people like those from Ukraine,” said Jan Underwood, Care for Newcomers public awareness co-ordinator.
“We wanted a way to talk about all of them in one word. That’s why we’ve decided to have a Welcome to Newcomers, so all people are invited to come – anybody who’s new, even if they were new 20 years ago.”
The event will feature live performances and ethnic foods. There will also be two adults and two youths who will speak about their experiences after moving to Canada. Those speakers are asked to answer questions, including:
- What challenges did you face when you came to Canada?
- How have you overcome those challenges?
“The whole idea is to talk to people who have been relatively successful, have a positive way of looking at things and value being here,” said Underwood.
“There are people who are new here and they might be struggling. They might be feeling like they’ll never learn English or that the challenges they’re facing are too big. By hearing these people speak, hopefully, they’ll be inspired and realize they can do it.”
Underwood describes Welcome to Newcomers as a celebratory event.
“We’re welcoming people to Red Deer. We’re happy that they’re here. We want to create a sense of belonging, and a welcoming and inclusive environment,” Underwood said, adding the event is meant for the general community as well.
“They are the welcoming party. They’re the people saying, ‘We’re happy that you’re here and we want you to feel like you belong.’”
The event will benefit foreign temporary workers and international students, Underwood noted.
“Often those are people who are struggling because it’s hard to build a friendship and it’s hard to get out there to do things if you don’t know anybody. We’re giving them a place where they can get to know people a bit,” she said.
There will also be information regarding future cultural events, such as powwows, in Red Deer available.
For more information, visit www.carefornewcomers.ca.