Newcomers rise to a Welcoming Challenge!

Swift Current's Newcomers Get CIF Support

With over 250 newcomers making Swift Current their home each year, the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre (the Centre) is a busy place. This year, with help from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF), the Centre is hosting the Swift Current Mad Dash to further familiarize new residents to their surroundings.

Newcomers face many challenges. Often unaccustomed to speaking English, our common language can make basic communication difficult. Our climate and weather may differ greatly from their former countries, and preferred foods such as fresh vegetatbles and seafood may not always be available. Employment, housing and health related issues, many times induced by diet or climate, can be huge hurdles for those new to this area and to our country.

Swift Current's newcomers visit the Centre for a host of reasons. This is where newcomers inquire about the labour market or citizenship, even language assessment. Some ask about schools for their families or about securing a mortgage or employment as they adjust to the new Saskatchewan culture. This winter they may also approach the Centre to join the Swift Current Mad Dash!

The Swift Current Mad Dash helps youth and families of all ages feel more at home in that city. Offered in both winter and spring, the race combines fun with information and welcoming activities, helping familiarize newcomers with long-standing residents. Those new to Swift Current learn some facts about their new city, are taught water survival skills, power walking, and a host of other activities to help increase their feeling of belonging.

"Mad Dash participants are exposed to activities and venues they would not generally experience on their own." says Icasiana de Gala, executive director of the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre. "Snow-related activities and walking along the creek bank of the Chinook Pathway are experiences that newcomers can repeat and won't easily forget."

"Then there's dancing, solving riddles and even a scavenger hunt that informs them about Swift Current's history. Participants are also introduced to volunteering and helping others through a shopping activity." explains de Gala. "All this is part of the Mad Dash to welcome our newcomers."

Partners in the Swift Current Mad Dash include Swift Current's Recreation and Parks, the Swift Current Museum, local cultural groups, schools, the Pioneer Co-op, and Swift Current's Great Plains College.

"Helping newcomers feel they belong in our Saskatchewan society, easing their challenges and helping them achieve a great quality of life here (in Saskatchewan) aligns well with the work of the Community Initiatives Fund." says Tracey Mann, executive director of the CIF.


(Photo Credit:  Southwest Newcomer Centre)

Posted in CIF News