April 2011

Hot Topics

AMSSA Insider – Safe Harbour: Respect for All
Safe Harbour:
Respect for All program coordinators are busily re-engaging locations to refresh their commitments, invite them to submit testimonials and diversity-related stories, and offer additional diversity resources. AMSSA and our partners welcome the Comox Valley Airport, our latest Safe Harbour-certified location!

Safe Harbour in Mission was profiled on Shaw’s Close Look with Sahil Sharma. Please take a look: http://www.closelook.ca/#/videos/4540392404

AMSSA is excited to announce that the Safe Harbour PSA’s are now being aired on several additional radio stations: The Wolf 100.3 FM in Quesnel, CFUV (101.9 at the University of Victoria) and 103.1 CKMO, village 900 am: global roots radio(Camuson College).
AMSSA wishes to thank all stations for promoting the Respect for All – Pass It On! campaign to their audiences.

On March 21, 2011, AMSSA and The Racism-Free Workplace Strategy collaborated to host a Commemoration Event and Workshop at the Vancouver Public Library to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Feedback from participants includes:

“It was a wonderful event and I enjoyed seeing the commitment from Vancity. It’s sometimes hard to know if businesses are really on board or not.”
– Kozue Matsumoto, Japanese koto musician

“Before attending this workshop, I didn’t realize there are so many people making great efforts to act against racism. As an ethnic minority myself, I was impressed and all of the efforts are highly appreciated!”
– Kate Zhao, Quote EndQuote

“I wanted to extend my heart felt thank-you for inviting me to be a part of your event. It was an honour to be there to represent the Squamish Nation and Coast Salish people. Acknowledgement and inclusion goes a long way to creating a safe and welcoming society.”
– Latash Maurice Nahanee, Elder of the Squamish Nation, Chinook SongCatchers member

Newcomer Children’s Champion program continues for another year

AMSSA is pleased to announce that the United Way of Lower Mainland will continue to fund our Newcomer Children’s Champion program for 2011-2012. Over the next year, we will publish new editions our ANCIE e-bulletins on key migrant children topics; investigate and document best practices in early childhood programs for immigrant and refugee children; engage with academics, service providers and policy makers regarding the development and application of a “culturally competent” Early Develop Index; and be involved in other initiatives to promote improved outcomes for migrant children.

Provincial E-Symposium on Cultural Compentencies: Support Newcomer Children
On February 18, AMSSA hosted a live webcast called Provincial E-Symposium on Cultural Competencies: Supporting Newcomer Children. The event took place at SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver. It featured three presentations and a Q&A session on the following topics:

  • Cultural Competency in the Classroom and CurriculumSylvia Helmer, UBC
  • Engaging Newcomer Children and Parents through LiteracyJim Anderson, UBC
  • Positive Parenting Program: Helping Newcomer Families Understand Canadian Laws and Norms in Discipline and ParentingDeb Kohen and Amber Phillips, BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

AMSSA would like to thank all of the presenters for their contribution. AMSSA gratefully acknowledges the United Way of the Lower Mainland for its financial support.

The videos of the presentations and Q&A session will soon be available on the AMSSA Newcomer Children Information Exchange (ANCIE). Please click here to access the website.

Metropolis BC Study Tours

On March 23, 2011 AMSSA hosted two full day study tours for delegates of the 2011 Metropolis BC Conference. AMSSA coordinated the tours each focused around a different side of urban geography and the evolution of immigrant service provision.
Both tours convened at Citizenship & Immigration Canada for a welcome session which included a First Nations blessing, presentations about the national and provincial settlement patterns, and about AMSSA & ELSA Net


One of the two tours was focused on immigrant and refugee services in an urban core and participants visited Immigrant Services Society of BC’s Welcome House and SUCCESS. They were also given a walking tour of Chinatown led by the City of Vancouver’s Social Planning Department.
The other tour focused on immigrant and refugee services along the transit corridor. This tour travelled along the Skytrain and delegates visited Collingwood Neighbourhood House, MOSAIC and DIVERSEcity Community Resources.

A big thank you to the organizations who hosted the tour delegates – your thoughtful presentations made the event a great success!

The 7th annual 2011 Diversity Health Fair was our most successful to date with over 3500 participants, 52 booths and 86 volunteers. The fair was held on Saturday February 12th, 2011 at the Croatian Cultural centre and was kicked off with a dynamic Opening Ceremony which brought together diverse members of the community. Some highlights included:First Nations blessing

  • Special guest- Olympic Ambassador Callum Ng
  • National anthem performed by Caritas Children’s Choir
  • Ribbon cutting with honoured guests
  • International procession with a Chinese lion dance by Lok’s Martial Arts Studio to the Exhibitor Hall

Volunteers in the lobby greeted thousands of visitors with a vibrant green tote-bag of goodies and from our generous donors and sponsors. Multilingual volunteers offered visitors guided tours of the fair.
The Exhibitor Hall featured over 50 health and wellness focused organizations, such as Canadian Diabetes Association, HealthLink BC, MOSAIC, and UBC faculty of Dentistry, prepared to share culturally relevant information, engage and educate. The socially inclusive environment they created successfully promoted equality and worked to eliminated barriers immigrant and newcomer population face in accessing health care.

This year’s Health Screening room, operated by Vancouver Coastal Health and Hear at Home Mobile Clinic, was a hit. Many visitors enjoyed free health checks including blood pressure and blood sugar testing, nutrition and diet consultations, and both physical activity and hearing assessments.

Cooking Demonstrations were always bustling audiences learned how to cook delicious, healthy dishes, using a variety of new recipes and techniques. Attendees tasted and tried flavourful creations ranging from homemade granola to healthy butter chicken.

The Interactive Hall spearheaded by Vancouver Parks Board, featured the kids activity zone- a place for exciting and educational and interactive activities like button making inline sledge hockey, circus arts, gymnastics/tumbling, a softball pitch, and a fruit and veggy hunt.


Some highlights from the stage included the Shanti Mala Collective a Nia fitness workshop, Mukatano, Volunteer Band of Vancouver and Estilo Cubano.


AMSSA Diabetes Project – Promoting Access to Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Diabetes Resources for BC Multi-ethnic Communities

Stay tuned…although AMSSA’s project on diabetes, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, is wrapping up the multilingual public service announcements about the prevention and early detection of type 2 diabetes for multiethnic Canadians will continue to air on ethnic and community radio stations across BC! For information on diabetes and multilingual resources please visit AMSSA’s Healthy Living Website at www.amssa.org/healthyliving

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