Settlement support for newcomer families

Ursula’s family is grateful for the connection with community and newcomer support in Canada

“When my husband, our 18-month-old daughter, and I landed in Canada, we found ourselves in a world entirely different from what we had known. As if that transition wasn’t challenging enough, I was five months pregnant with our son at the time. Figuring out where to stay, retesting for a driver’s license, and accessing basic services were some of the many challenges that came with settling in. 

Everyday tasks like grocery shopping, adapting to different foods, and figuring out the medical system felt overwhelming. And our young family was certainly not prepared for Canada’s cold weather.

When we moved to our new town, we didn’t know anyone in the area. Thankfully, I was able to connect with another mom who recently moved to Canada on Facebook. She introduced us to a United Way-supported program that helps newcomer families to settle and thrive in Canada. This program connected us with a network of community support that assisted with important parts of our lives, like healthcare, childcare, and education.

In a place that felt new and different, these connections helped us figure out the challenges of our new life in Canada.

The program educators and caregivers are engaging, and create an environment where parents and children learn together through group activities. The best part is that these supports are free, making them accessible to everyone. The kids and I get to mingle with parents and children from around the world, from different cultures, which is just awesome.

Through these supports, I was connected with a caring community of other moms, where we talk about our needs as newcomers to Canada.

I discovered that the agency that offered this program also offered other kinds of support. They really try to understand what each family needs and come up with ways to help them. Now, thanks to United Way funding, we have access to specialized parenting and family supports, experienced educators, and other experts for children’s needs. 

One of my goals was to re-enter the job market. And through my involvement at the program, I was connected to organizations that provide employment counselling and resources. 

One useful example is writing a resume and adapting to the Canadian workplace culture. Coming from a human resources background in a country where there is more emphasis on technical skills, I’ve noticed that in Canada, there is a greater focus on soft skills. Each week, we covered various topics that were of interest to the group.

Most parents I meet aren’t working and couldn’t afford these programs if they weren’t free. The network of support is helping our families connect with others in the community. It’s truly wonderful!  

Without these programs, I don’t think I would have integrated or settled as much to be honest. That’s why I am encouraging other people to also benefit from these valuable programs and resources. 

Thank you, United Way, for making these programs accessible to newcomers like me. The network of support is a lifeline for newcomers to navigate the challenges that come with adapting to a new culture and creates a sense of community.”

Help change lives today.

Sarah HodgsonUrsula’s Story

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