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Polar vortex holiday party

During an onslaught of snow, wind, and chilly temperatures last week, a group of our amazing volunteers held a warm and cosy holiday party at Central Library for the participants in English Conversation Circles.

English Conversation Circles are a great way for newcomers in the community to practise English in a relaxed, supportive, and informal setting. These groups are run with the support of YMCA Immigrant Services and our incredible volunteers, many of whom are teachers or retired teachers.

Volunteers at Central Library planned a party complete with snacks and drinks, crafts, and gifts for the children – a lovely opportunity to talk about and share holiday traditions from different cultures.

“I’m from Bulgaria, so the tradition there is that children will open the gift on January 1st,” said Diana, who minds the children while their mothers are in the Women’s Social and Conversation Circle.

Thank you to Erin Aquin, Barbara Campbell, Ellen Forrester, Paula Kienapple-Summers, Karen Quehl, Gail Wright, Carol Lee, Diana Mileva, and Salma Sohail at Central Library.

Thank you to Romany Arnold, Marlene Burke, Enoc Chevez, Marilyn Dufresne, Shirley Guo, and Vicky Vilayhong at Forest Heights Community Library.

Thank you to Amy Aldous, Elaine Decleir, Jeff Decleir, Carolyn Pegg, and Marg Reid at Grand River Stanley Park Community Library.

ecc-volunteers

Big thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers, Paula, Ellen, Barb, baby Audrey, and Erin. 

English Conversation Circles return in January. These classes are FREE and no registration is required to attend. Please share this information with anyone who would like to practise English, or with people who are supporting refugees and newcomers in the community. Need transportation? There are bus tickets available (excluding Mondays at Central).

ENGLISH CONVERSATION CIRCLES

Central Library
Mondays from 1 – 2:30 pm
January 9 – Feb. 27 (no session on Feb. 20)
More info

Grand River Stanley Park
Wednesdays from 7 – 8:30 pm
January 11 – February 22
More info

Forest Heights
Saturdays from 10 – 11:30 am
January 14 – February 25
More info

WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND CONVERSATION CIRCLE

Central Library
Thursdays from 10 – 11:30 am
January 12 – February 23
Child minding available for children ages 2-6.
Register only if you require child minding.
More info

MORE RESOURCES

We’ve got books, magazines, movies, and newspapers in many languages, both for children and adults. Learn more here.

Find out more about resources for English as a Second Language learners.

Meet with a settlement worker at the library, available with these languages: Arabic, Dari, English, Farsi, Kurdish, and Spanish.

Find out more about resources and services offered for refugees and sponsors.

 


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Happy Canada Day: Welcoming newcomers

9 A conversation circle

We’d like to wish everyone a happy Canada Day, especially newcomers to Canada who are celebrating with us for the first time.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve received a grant of $20,470 from the Immigration Partnership Council that we’ll be using to host English conversation circles for Syrian newcomers, beginning this fall. The grant funding will be used to pay for translation services, new resources,  and bus tickets for participants.

On June 24, Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Central Library and met with six local Syrian families for a private conversation circle of their own.

With an Arabic translator on hand, Premier Wynne said “We want you to fell welcome, and we want you to feel that you have opportunities.”

Library CEO Mary Chevreau and Wayne Buchholtz, chair of the library board, led Ms. Wynne on a tour of Central Library. Kitchener-Centre MPP Daiene Vernile and Dr. Liana Nolan, head of public health for Waterloo Region, were our local hosts. Other dignitaries who attended were Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworski, and Waterloo Region Chair Ken Seiling.

Librarian Kristin Johnson-Perlock, who leads our multicultural and ESL programming, is still finalising details, but she’ll continue working with our valued community partners on this new initiative.

“So many incredible organizations, agencies, and individuals support refugees and newcomers in this community. It’s really exciting that the library can contribute to these efforts to broaden the scope of programs for refugees and newcomers,” she said.

We’ll be offering English Conversation Circles at Forest Heights Community Library and Grand River Stanley Park Community Library,  and a Women’s Conversation and Social Circle at Central Library.

“Libraries are welcoming spaces that aim to serve everyone in our community. With this grant, KPL has the amazing opportunity to welcome and connect with our newest community members. We hope that these programs will provide refugees and newcomers the chance to practice and learn English in an informal and supportive environment, socialize with others, and feel a part of the community,” Kristin said.

You’ll find more details in our fall issue of In Touch magazine, and on our website later this summer. Please share with your network of friends, family, community organizations and churches to help us reach people who can benefit from these conversation circles.

LEARN MORE

  • More than 28,000 Syrian people have arrived in Canada. Of those, about 1,275 have settled in Waterloo Region, most of them in Kitchener.
  • The Immigration Partnership Fund for Syrian Newcomers continues to accept applications for support from agencies and private sponsors on a rolling basis. The next deadline is July 6, 2016. Community donations up to $400,000 are being matched through The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation.
  • English Conversation Circle: An opportunity to practise speaking English in an informal, safe, and relaxed environment. A chance to improve English language and listening skills; increase confidence in speaking English; learn about Canadian culture and customs; and socialize with others.
  • Women’s Conversation and Social Circle:  For women, with child-minding services provided. An opportunity to practise speaking English in an informal, safe, and relaxed environment, as well as socialize with other mothers. Program content will have a greater focus on topics such as parenting, self-care, women’s issues, etc. Speakers can be invited to discuss relevant topics.
  • Join us for an info session about IELTS (International English Language Testing System) provided by YMCA Immigrant Services