Syrian refugee Marwan Alwakkaa takes in his second Let It Snow holiday party, which was hosted by the Central Alberta Refugee Effort Saturday at Central Middle School in Red Deer. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

WATCH: CARE excited to let it snow

It’s been about two years since 17-year-old Marwan Alwakkaa left Syria for Red Deer.

Alwakkaa arrived with his family in January 2015 and the chill of the winter caught him a bit off-guard, he said.

“It was already snowing when we got here,” he said. “At first I didn’t know it was going to be that cold. When I would go to school. I would always be wearing a jacket.”

On Saturday, Alwakkaa was one of dozens enjoying the winter weather and Christmas-themed festivities at the Central Alberta Refugee Effort’s (CARE) second annual Let It Snow holiday party at Central Middle School.

The party, “has been good the two times I’ve been here. There are so many activities for people,” said Alwakkaa, a student at École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

Those taking part in the event, which CARE organized in partnership with Catholic Social Services, fished for candy canes, enjoyed face-painting and got the chance to meet Santa Claus and more.

Tessa Murphy, settlement practitioner at CARE, said the event is meant to encourage newcomers to experience Canadian winter activities.

“It’s inclusion in action. Red Deer is reaching out and showing its welcoming side, which is great,” said Murphy.

Several local groups, including the Girl Guides, RCMP, Gramma-Link and Canada Winter Games, offered activities for people at the event.

“We try to incorporate community members into the event so newcomers can reach out to organizations they maybe have not known about,” Murphy said.

Tetiana Eismont, who moved to Canada from the Ukraine just a year-and-a-half ago, experienced her first Let It Snow holiday party Saturday.

“This is a great chance for the people of Red Deer to get to know each other more. It’s a very warm celebration, and a very warm event,” said Eismont.

Eismont teaches English language classes at CARE.

Eismont was in Calgary during the last year’s party because she had to sort out paperwork to stay in Canada.

“My Ukrainian friends here told me I missed out last year so this time I made sure I could come. My children have been so amused,” she said.

Christmas is “holiday of friendliness and it makes people happy together and gives us a chance to get to know each other more,” Eismont said.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff Anie Charron and Serge Gingras with the Red Deer chapter of L’association de Tous Les Francophones de L’Alberta prepare maple taffy at the Central Alberta Refugee Effort’s Let It Snow holiday party Saturday at Central Middle School in Red Deer.

Just Posted

RDC Kings soccer clinch playoff spot on final day of ACAC season

Kings play Concordia University of Edmonton on Oct. 25 in ACAC Championships

Frantic final push for votes marks final day of divisive campaign

OTTAWA — The contenders in Monday’s federal election spent the last day… Continue reading

Former NHLer Clint Malarchuk shares mental health journey in Lacombe

Former goalie and current mental health advocate supports Schizophrenia Society of Alberta

Sunday Red Deer election forum on diversity, inclusion cancelled

A Red Deer election forum scheduled for Sunday afternoon has been cancelled.… Continue reading

Boy, 5, dead after being hit by truck his dad was driving at Alberta landfill

LAC LA BICHE, Alta. — Police say a five-year-old boy has died… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer Citizens on Patrol monitoring downtown with new program

Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Small Business Centre at Burman University’s School of Business invites… Continue reading

Ever since I was a youngster, my life has gone to the dogs

I’ve really been going to the dogs lately. “That’s for sure,” you… Continue reading

By necessity, some stories are sad

One of the comments I received was my columns have gotten away… Continue reading

RDC Kings draw, Queens soccer fall to Kodiaks

The RDC Kings moved one step closer to securing an Alberta Colleges… Continue reading

Scheer won’t say if Conservatives hired consultant to ‘destroy’ People’s party

TORONTO — With election day less than 48 hours away, Andrew Scheer… Continue reading

Man’s death in Richmond, B.C. suspicious, not random, say investigators

RICHMOND, B.C. — The discovery of a man’s body in a Richmond,… Continue reading

Quebec man found guilty of first-degree murder in slaying of ex-wife, stranger

ST-JEROME, Que. — A Quebec man was found guilty of first-degree murder… Continue reading

Most Read