Canada Connects Program: How Volunteers Like Yang Build Stronger Communities.

By: Shazia Shareef, Volunteer Support Caseworker

Meet Yang and Aziz

Yang is a new immigrant from China; she is determined to embrace the Canadian lifestyle and build a successful career. Through her proactive approach to communication and exchange with the outside world, she is confident that she can quickly adapt to the culture and make new friends. Currently, she is pursuing her passion for accounting as a student at the University of Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She also loves to help others and participate in outdoor activities. That’s why she has signed up as a RODS volunteer, as she believes in the power of giving back to the community.

Aziz is a newcomer from Sudan who is eager to join the Canadian culture. His love for football reflects his active and sociable nature. Despite the challenges of resettlement, Azizis is determined to continue his education, showcasing his ambition and thirst for knowledge. His enthusiasm and openness make him an invaluable addition to the community. As a team, they are ready to learn, explore, and experience the new culture and skills.

They were matched together through the Welcoming Community for Newcomers Canada Connects program. This program is designed to help newcomers like Aziz by matching them with volunteers like Yang, who provide valuable guidance. We are so proud of how this connection has helped Aziz learn and improve many skills.

Learning

Aziz has learned how to create an email account, use video conferencing tools like Zoom, browse the internet, use Google Translate, utilize WhatsApp, and manage his contacts on his phone. Yang has attended online and in-person sessions for the Conversation Circle with Aziz, where Aziz had the opportunity to practice English and socialize with others. This community engagement aspect of the program contributes significantly to newcomers’ mental health and sense of belonging. Aziz’s progress in learning and accessing resources shows how the program benefits newcomers in the community.

Additionally, Yang showed him how to use the Transit app on his phone, which provided him with a convenient way to check bus schedules and navigate the city. She accompanied Aziz while travelling to demonstrate its practical use and give him the confidence to use it independently later.

Exploring

Volunteer Yang was a great help to Aziz in accessing community resources.

She accompanied him to the library, where she showed him how to get a library card and use the computers. This not only promotes literacy but also empowers Aziz to access a wealth of information and services available at the library. Yang’s support didn’t just stop there; she also helped Aziz reset his RBC bank account password, enabling him to access mobile banking. This support demonstrates the program’s commitment to helping newcomers overcome language and technological barriers, ensuring their successful integration into Canadian society.

Other experiences

Furthermore, Aziz and his friend purchased furniture, including sofas, desks, chairs, and bookcases, with the help of another volunteer, Delee. They picked up the furniture, making their homes more comfortable and welcoming. This demonstrates the program’s holistic approach to improving newcomers’ quality of life. This experience brought happiness to Aziz and his friend, and it also strengthened their friendship.

 

More about the Canada Connects program: 

The Welcoming Community for Newcomers (WCN) volunteer program is dedicated to supporting newcomers as they integrate into their community, making connections and providing essential assistance for settling into their new communities. Through our Canada Connect program, volunteer mentors are paired with newcomer families for a year-long journey aimed at helping them participate fully and thrive in their new environment. 

Our volunteer mentors play a crucial role in helping newcomer families improve their language skills, establish social and professional networks, gain insights into life in Regina, prepare them for employment opportunities, and much more. This personalized support is tailored to the specific needs of each family, ensuring a smooth transition and successful integration. 

This program is exclusively available to permanent resident newcomer families and operates year-round, with volunteers dedicating four hours per month to support and guide them along their journey. 

If you’d like to become a volunteer with this program, please contact volunteer@rods.sk.ca