CBAL puts out the welcome mat for newcomers

Cranbrook, Kimberley get $187,000 to create more welcoming, inclusive communities for newcomers.

Those seeking better lives in warm and welcoming communities will do no better than Cranbrook and Kimberley, thanks to some government funding and an intense initiative by a local organization.

The B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour, Citizenship and Immigration Canada this week announced funding to enhance the integration of immigrants into B.C. Communities —  part of the Ministry’s Welcoming Communities Program (WCP).

The WelcomeBC funding —  $8.5 million for 51 new community projects — supports the creation of local projects and partnerships to make communities more inclusive and welcoming.

Locally, the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) received $107,000 to help achieve this goal in Cranbrook. Kimberley received a further $80,000 on top of that.

“As immigrants come into the community, we will provide the services (to help them settle and acclimatize),” said Katherine Hough, CBAL Community Literacy Coordinator for Cranbrook.

CBAL moved quickly to establish a broad team of partnerships in Cranbrook and Kimberley and to set up projects to help improve access and services, recruit and train volunteers, and bring local businesses and other organizations on board.

“We pulled together some community focus meetings in January,” Hough said. “Part of (our initiative) is helping newcomers, but also, we asked how do we make our communities more welcoming?”

CBAL therefore has put together a series of partnerships with community groups and businesses, and have several new projects in the works.

• For instance, CBAL Big Brothers and Big Sisters will create a Family Mentoring program, in which volunteer families will be trained to assist newcomers, and then paired with an immigrant family for four to six months. “They will then befriend that

family, show them around, introduce them to what living here is all about,” Hough said.

• Production of a video is also planned, which details the immigrant experience in the area. This video will then be shown available to immigrant families and local residents to further mutual understanding.

• Another project is to educate local businesses — not necessarily to hire immigrants, Hough said, but simply to make them more welcome. Hough said the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce, on board as a partner, will be conducting these employer workshops in

Kimberley and Cranbrook.

• The Cranbrook Food Action Group will be offering a gardening project, which will teach Canadian gardening techniques to newcomers, who may be coming here from radically different biological and climatic zones. Local residents will be welcome to attend

these sessions as well.

• A program will be set up to help daycares better accommodate immigrant kids and their families, Hough said. “Maybe (the newcomers) don’t speak English very well, maybe they don’t really know how daycare works.”

• The Cranbrook Boys & Girls Club has also come on board to do mentoring with immigrant families.

CBAL has set the projects in motion over a very short time window. “We pulled this together over the last few months,” Hough said. The focus groups were held in January, and the groundwork for the projects is to be in place by the end of March.

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2001 to promote literacy and lifelong learning throughout the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions.

The purpose of the Welcoming Communities Program is to build capacity to support the integration of new immigrants. A press release from the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training said a community’s ability to receive immigrants is a critical factor in successful integration, which is integral to addressing B.C.’s labour market and demographic challenges over the next decade.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read