PAGE 1 JANUARY 2014 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS OLD YEAR, NEW YEAR As the old year turns into the new we thought we’d take a moment to thank….well, everyone, really, but especially the partners in the community that made our work possible throughout 2013. Many came to celebrate the successes of the year with us at our annual Holiday Reception, and enjoyed an amazing feast prepared by contributors from throughout the multicultural community. From samosas to sushi to shish-kabobs, the most scrumptious delights of international dining was on offer—all while being serenaded by gifted harpist Dorothy Brzezicki. What a way to see out the old year and bring in the new! A WORD FROM THE PRESIDENT MIKE TIMANI The new year is already here, and our plans for MAGMA are more ambitious than ever. As we dive head-first into 2014 we’re looking to expand every element of our services in ways that we’ve never done before. The federal government’s changes are designed to bring in clients with more education and experience, higher education levels and more ability to establish and grow businesses and local employment. MAGMA needs to respond to the new demographics of who’s coming, and so we’re lining up our settlement, language and labour market integration services accordingly. Flexibility is the key. Without it, we’re stuck in the past, unable to respond to the here and now. With it, we are an indispensable force for community integration and economic growth, helping each and every newcomer bring the best they have to offer and add it to the rich fabric of Greater Moncton. So to the board, leadership and staff I say this—thank you for your tremendous work, and get ready to lift MAGMA to even greater heights in 2014! PAGE 2 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS CELEBRATIONS SNOWFLAKE PARTY Each year MAGMA hosts our Snowflake Party, where children from refugee backgrounds are joined by the staff children as they celebrate the season for the first time here in Canada. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with music, face painting and of course a little gift from Santa. Even some of the “older kids” got to take a turn! A huge thanks to TD who generously supplied materials for Santa's’ toyshop and to the many helper elves who wrapped, decorated and prepared for the big day. PAGE 3 ’TWAS THE SEASON We’re not saying our staff can be a little competitive sometimes, but when asked to get into the holiday spirit and decorate their offices and classrooms, it might be fair to say that they went allout. Congratulations to first-place winners Child Care (rooms) and the tie for first in the office category, the festive, feisty duo of Fred and Joanne. MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS CELEBRATIONS PAGE 4 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS SCHOOL & YOUTH DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? We have a lot of fun sharing the celebrations we have as we put multiculturalism on stage locally, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the time we spend ensuring that newcomers are integrated through being immersed in local culture as well. So on December 6th two youth accompanied our School & Youth Coordinator and the Settlement Coordinator for a night at the ballet! The Academy of Classical Ballet Youth Theatre Inc. put on their version of E.T.A Hoffman’s classic holiday story, The Nutcracker. Filled with glittering tutus, breakdancing mice and tap-dancing soldiers, the piece was one for all ages and did not disappointment. The two youth, who had never before been to a ballet production, watched in awe from an opera box that gave them a bird’s eye view of the dancers. They were able to see behind the scenes as the performers readied themselves before quite literally leaping onto the stage. The night was full of magic and fantasy as all four viewers were taken into an unforgettable dreamscape, designed to entertain and inspire all. HAPPY HOLIDAYS AT HOMEWORK HOTSPOT! December 10th marked the last scheduled day for Homework Hotspot for 2013, as both volunteers and youth got to take a well-earned break from their studies. Youth completed their homework and were then rewarded with cupcakes and treat bags, and each student was able to choose a brand new book to take home and participated in some fun and educational holiday games. New tutors are being brought in during the month of January, so registrations will re-open in the New Year! Please see the School & Youth Coordinator if you would like to register or know a newcomer school student that could benefit from help. Sessions will start again on January 14th, 2014. PAGE 5 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS SCHOOL & YOUTH CHANGING THE WORLD ONE CONTINENT AT A TIME The biggest misconception that young people have is that they can’t effect meaningful change. They look at the problems of the world around them and it all just seems so overwhelming, so insurmountable. Knowing this, the Canada World Youth was established to not only prove to them that they can bring about real changes, but to train them in the skills they need to do so by working together across the globe. And so each year Moncton plays host to nine youth from across Canada who are paired from nine who have travelled from the west-African country of Ghana. They spend three months here as volunteer interns at community service organizations like MAGMA, as well as conducting fundraising activities and joint projects to build their intercultural teamwork skills. As part of this, our Public Education and Communication Coordinator Justin Ryan delivered his cross-cultural skills presentation, helping them better understand how to communicate across barriers and work together with their newfound friends. Eighteen teenage girls working in teams across languages and cultures—who could imagine there would be challenges? Our School & Youth Coordinator regularly delivers a similar cross-cultural skills program to children as young as daycare age, and was lucky enough to have Rebecca Ankomah, one of our Canada World Youth girls, join her on several presentations in the Greater Moncton Area and beyond. Rebecca was a lovely presence at five Crossing Cultures presentations at both Queen Elizabeth and Shediac Cape Schools. She stood bravely in front of questioning middle school students to explain her traditional dress from Ghana and to answer questions about her native country, her culture and her experiences here in Canada. With the first stage of their journey over, we wish them all the best as they move on to the second stage of the program—another three months volunteering in Otouam, Ghana. Bon voyage! PAGE 6 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS VOLUNTEER CORNER BOB GRACIE December was Spanish Month in the Community Connections program. We had several Spanish speaking families and individuals move to Moncton over the past year, and with their language levels it was a challenge to match them with Canadian families. Fortunately, some Community Connection volunteers who speak Spanish stepped up to the plate, and now we have been able to match all of the Spanish-speaking clients! A big thank you to all of the volunteers who made themselves available to help. You will be able to play a key role in answering their questions while also helping them practice their English or French. We also received some tickets to a recent Moncton Miracles game (Thank you NBCC!). This allowed some of our newer Community Connection volunteers to take their clients to their first Canadian Basketball game. Some of our African clients braved one of the coldest nights of the year so far to experience the heat of competition inside the Moncton Coliseum. They had a great time cheering on the Miracles, all while learning the rules to basketball… If you are interested in volunteering for MAGMA and you aren’t on my list yet, please go to our website (www.magma-amgm.org). You’ll find the volunteer application in the grey box of links on the right, second link from the bottom, and I’ll quickly get back to you to get you all set up to become part of the MAGMA family! Thanks to all of our volunteers who work so hard to keep MAGMA rolling. We deeply appreciate your commitment to enhancing the lives of our newcomers. I look forward to working with you in 2014! PAGE 7 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS 2014 BOB GRACIE With 2014 upon us, let’s take a look at what’s in store for the volunteer programs at MAGMA! CROSSING CULTURES WORKSHOP A new Cross-Cultural Communications training program will be initiated early in the new year. All Community Connections volunteers who currently work with families, and those who wish to do so as new families arrive in Greater Moncton, will be trained to deal effectively across the challenges that can be presented when working across languages and cultures. The workshop helps us to look at our assumptions and the things we accept as “right”, and see them through the eyes of a newcomer. By putting ourselves in their shoes we can better understand the assumptions we make every day, and develop techniques to communicate effectively while avoiding common misunderstandings. MEET & GREET Also early next year we will be implementing monthly “Meet and Greets” for volunteers and their families, providing opportunities for them to get together and grow their social networks. It will also provide the chance to introduce new families to the community in a safe social environment, while at the same time offering unassigned volunteers the chance to get to know the newcomers and perhaps start forming a connection. The more the merrier, so we’d love all volunteers and their connected newcomer families to come along and build the excitement for the new program. ADVISORY COMMITTEE It’s our hard-working volunteers who have the experience and insight needed to provide input for continued development of our volunteer programs, so I will soon be sending out a call for volunteers who would like to sit on a Community Connections Advisory Committee. Together we’ll help plan activities for our volunteers and their families and continue to enhance our services to them. So grab this chance to come together and celebrate both our differences and the similarities that tie us together. What you get is what you give. PAGE 8 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS CELEBRATIONS CHLOE’S BABY SHOWER With the big day fast approaching, the staff gathered to wish Childcare Coordinator Chloe Cropas all the best with her first baby, which is due any moment. Everything’s so darn tiny and cute! STAFF SAY GOODBYE TO 2013 After a hotly-contested round of Yankee Swap, Jacques was crowned King Kandy, and he led us in festivities for the night as we headed out to finish out the year with a night of revelry at Mexicali Rosas. PAGE 9 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS BUSINESS LET’S GET TO WORK! We’re getting older. Don’t take it personally. I mean Canada as a whole. With increased lifespans and lowering birth rates, we have fewer and fewer skilled employees entering the workforce to support more and more retirees. The local story is even more serious as many local youth move “out west” in search of the lucrative opportunities there. In fact, without immigration New Brunswick’s population would actually be decreasing, with a huge gap in the youth demographic. That’s why 80% of newcomers who arrive in New Brunswick come here under the skilled worker and business entrepreneur classes offered by the province, providing critical skills, experience and investment capital. However, putting all that skill to work locally faces major challenges. Imagine you’ve just started looking for work in a foreign country. What should you highlight in your résumé? What does a successful interview look like? Where do you even start getting help finding a job that’s right for you, or getting your credentials and experience recognized locally? Fortunately for new arrivals to Greater Moncton, the answer is MAGMA’s NBELT (New Brunswick Employment Language Training) course, and the follow-up support from our Labour Market Integration team. Starting with a strong base of business-specific language training, NBELT goes on to have the students apply the language directly in workplace role plays, résumé preparation, employment legal standards and rights discussions, intercultural skills training and much more. It culminates in mock interviews with actual HR specialists and managers who volunteer their time from local companies, allowing both the students and the local employers to build their cross-cultural interview skills. With the most recent session drawing to a close, the students took some well-earned time to celebrate, including a formal presentation of their learning coupled with a hilarious send-up of the teachers. Congratulations to all! PAGE 10 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS BABES IN TOYLAND MAGMA was proud to partner with Moncton Headstart for this year’s Toyland event. A dedicated group of volunteers transformed the Headstart gym into a special place that parents in need can drop in and pick up a donated toy. A volunteer accompanies each parent through Toyland to specially select gifts and toys, ensuring that all children have new gifts to open on Christmas morning. TANTRAMAR COLLEGE CONNECTS SENIORS TO NEWCOMERS We’re a strong believer that you’re never to old to learn, so we were thrilled when Tantramar College contacted us to let us know that all of their courses are specifically created for those in the golden age of education. We’re arranging for many of our senior clients to take part, ensuring they continue to stay active and connected. Just as importantly, our Public Education Coordinator is putting on a cross-cultural skills workshop right here at MAGMA for the seniors of our local area, helping them understand better how to help newcomers fit into their local community. Through this we’re looking to help them more deeply understand the perspectives and approaches that are key in dealing with different cultures and ideas that are fast becoming part of their own neighbourhoods. Seniors 50 and over who are interested in signing up for this or any Tantramar College course can contact their Volunteer Coordinator Debbie at 854-4148. PAGE 11 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS VOICE OF AGES WINTER LIONS Following up on our partnership with the Lions Seniors Centre, our ever-social seniors had the pleasure to be invited to the Christmas and Holiday event organized by the Moncton Lions Community Centre on December 12th. where among prizes and gifts, coffee and cake, we enjoyed the beautiful music and the company of so many interesting people. Here we see Sima, Yolanda and Suang Su, who were happy to be part of an event which hosted over one hundred people. Moncton Mayor George Leblanc also left a humorous impression on the “good” people, who (given the season) expected presents in exchange. Fortunately there were lucky winners of gifts and prizes, handed out by our gracious host, Lions Senior Coordinator Janet MacDuff. We were then treated to beautiful musical delights, including Vivaldi, played by young but very talented orchestra members, as well as some sobering thoughts from Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon: “Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung, The frozen fields of France were warmed, the songs of peace were sung, For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war had been crumbled and were gone for ever more.” PAGE 12 MAGMA’S CULTURAL CHORDS MUSICAL CONNECTIONS BRINGING THE WORLD TO GREATER MONCTON For over 30 years, MAGMA has existed for just one reason: to welcome newcomers. Here, in their new home, they can strive to achieve their dreams of success, freedom and security. At no cost, MAGMA aids in all aspects of settlement, including assisting with: locating and settling into their new homes and schools; securing a job, learning a trade or practising a profession; learning English or French; and connecting with support agencies and health care professionals. MAGMA is there with the advice, training and support needed to bring their skills and culture to add to the rich fabric of our society. Peace Centre 22 Church St Suite C170 Moncton, NB E1C 07P 1 (506) 858-9659 www.magma-amgm.org Email: [email protected] INSTRUMENT OF THE MONTH—COWRIE SHELL With Black History Month coming up in February, we thought we’d feature a beautiful and widespread African item used for both decoration and for music—the cowrie shell. One way they are used musically is to colourfully decorate a large shell (below left) and use it as a small, hand-held rhythm gourd, either shaken or tapped with a stick. Another is a variation on a popular African percussion instrument, the shekere, which is usually either filled or covered with seeds or beads. However the agbe (below right) is instead covered in cowrie shells, giving it a distinctive sound and beautiful appearance. Also, when worn (such as by the Kikuyu people of Kenya, as shown here), they add a rattling backbeat to any ceremonial dance. Of course, any two-year-old can tell you the final use—to listen to the sea by holding it up to your ear.
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