Family Dynamics: Building a community of empowered individuals and healthy families

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Are you a newcomer living in the following areas?
Tuxedo, River Heights, and Fort Rouge
Fort Garry, Fort Richmond and St. Norbert
St. James – Assiniboia

Family Dynamics should be one of your first stops. If you need assistance in any aspect of your settlement, such as help for employment, language classes or child care services, you can visit the center and get the support you need. Family Dynamics is an accredited not-for-profit, community-based agency. It is dedicated to strengthening families and building healthy, supportive communities. Their services include:

  • Providing settlement information and orientation to newcomers
  • Connecting to community and government programs and services
  • Offering Conversation Circles and various programs
  • Assisting newcomers to engage in community initiatives and programs

Julia Cossolin, NISW photo by English Online. CC BY

All their services are free and strictly confidential. Call for an appointment (see contact details below). You will need to bring your Permanent Resident Card or Landing Papers and Manitoba Health Card. We visited Family Dynamics recently and spoke to Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker (NISW) Julia Cossolin to learn what’s new at the centre:

English Online (EO): Hello Julia, thank you for talking to us today. You mentioned that you’re an NISW, may we know more about your role?
Julia Cossolin (JC): There are 30 neighbourhood immigrant settlement workers in Winnipeg. Every NISW is responsible for one area of Winnipeg. My area is Tuxedo, River Heights and Fort Rouge (postal codes R3L, R3M, R3N and R3P). Every NISW is hosted by an organization. Mine is Family Dynamics which has five NISWs. NISWs help with employment, language classes, child care, education and subsidy, community services, programs for children, youth and families, housing, health services, banking, completing documents and volunteer opportunities. We also do home visits. We try to do as much as possible.

EO: Are your services open only to newcomers? Are there age limits or other eligibility requirements?
JC: Our services are for Permanent Residents. The only requirement is to live in the area where we serve. If someone comes to me who does not live in my area, I would refer them to their proper NISW.

EO: In your experience, which services are most in demand with immigrants?
JC: In my area, they come mostly for employment, housing and child care needs. They also come here for English classes because it helps improve their career options. We have many kinds of programs: English conversation circles, parenting programs, youth programs, etc. For our English classes, they do not need to be referred by WELARC or any other agency. At our Conversation Circle, we sit and talk to a Canadian volunteer. The idea is to practice English and improve their pronunciation, and also to impact their emotional and social well-being. I also refer them to English classes.

EO: Do you have success stories that you wish to share?
JC: We have lots of success stories. For example, I used to handle a girls’ group at Grand Park High School. They were mostly refugee kids who did not speak any English. The kids love it – they gain friends and they learn English together using subjects they wish to learn. And because it is very successful, I now have three youth groups. There are many success stories with other groups but with kids, you see real changes in a matter of a few months. Kids are just like sponges. They learn fast. And it is great to see how they change. Some start very sad thinking about what they’ve been through (some have been in refugee camps for eighteen years). After a while, they start making friends, then you see them laughing, then you see them just being kids. It’s hard coming here as an immigrant. Imagine coming here as a refugee. We understand that they just want their lives to change.

I’m from Brazil and I’ve been in Canada for three years. I received so much help when I arrived, so I just want to do the same. My heart is full and because I’m so grateful, I want to do something that matters and brings change. This is why I think that it’s great that many NISWs are also immigrants themselves.

EO: Do you have a message or advice for newcomers who may need more settlement support?
JC: They should try to find as many resources as they can. They should talk to me or other NISWs who can refer them where to go.

EO: Are there any forthcoming events/activities for newcomers you wish to share?
JC: I am running four programs right now. One of them is closed for intake. The other three that are still open are:

  1. Program for parents and young children – It runs every Thursday from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm. at Carpathia School. It is going to end on March 7th. In this program, participants learn English with their kids and have fun with all the different activities.
  2. Cook and Chat – This is from February 19th to March 26th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at St. Mary’s Anglican Church. Our guest presenters will have a cooking demonstration. Participants can cook with the guests. This is going to be a fun activity where they can practise their English and meet new people. It will be fun.
  3. Nobody’s Perfect program in Mandarin – The program started on March 1st. It will have six sessions from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Those interested to sign-up for events can contact Julia:

Julia Cossolin
Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker
Cel. 204.771.7475
Fax. 204.947.2128
Nisw.tuxedo@familydynamics.ca

Tuxedo Family Resource Centre
1-225 Doncaster Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3N 1X7

Contact details of other centers

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