February 2011

Hot Topics


With just a few days left before the 7th annual Vancouver Diversity Health Fair, we are in full gear and aiming to make the AMSSA 2011 Diversity Health Fair on Saturday February 12th, at The Croatian Cultural Centre the best fair yet. AMSSA’s health fair will bring thousands of immigrants, English as a second language speakers, and newcomers to Canada together in a culturally and socially inclusive environment.  

This year over 50 exhibitors are ready to engage the community with their culturally-conscious presentations and materials.  Healthy and delicious cooking demonstrations will be held throughout the day. Guests will learn about topics such as Prepare Healthy Meals with Children, and Creating Healthier Variations of South Asian Food. Free, one-on-one Health Screenings are another popular services at the fair. Blood pressure, hearing tests as well as dietary and physical activity consultations will be available to the public and carried out by Vancouver Coastal Health and the Hear at Home Mobile Clinic.

Our newly expanded Health Kids Activity Zone, spearheaded by The City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, will allow children and youth a chance to try out participate hands on with gymnastics and juggling. Young participants can even try their hand at sledge hockey or custom button-making. Throughout the day, attendees will be able to enjoy and participate in interactive cultural performances and fitness workshops such as African drumming and Cuban Salsa dancing.


AMSSA has produced a Public Service Announcement, focused on the prevention and early detection of type 2 diabetes in the following 7 languages: English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Punjabi and Spanish. Stayed tuned for these messages on ethnic radio stations across BC or visit www.amssa.org/healthyliving to hear the multilingual audio files.

Diabetes & BC Multiethnic Communities Symposium Webcast Available Online

Nearly 175 people from around the province tuned in for AMSSA’s Diabetes & BC Multiethnic Communities Symposium on January 27, 2011. This webcast targeted people who work with multiethnic communities, and will be available on the AMSSA Healthy Living Website in early February www.amssa.org/healthyliving

AMSSA Healthy Living Website Revised!

The diabetes resources section of the AMSSA Healthy Living website: www.amssa.org/healthyliving has been revised. There are new multilingual resources and tools available to help support the prevention and early detection of type 2 diabetes in multiethnic communities.


The AMSSA Newcomer Children’s Champion Program will release the 5th edition of the electronic ANCIE Bulletin (AMSSA Newcomer Children’s Information Exchange) this month. The February issue focuses on “Family Dynamics” and explores how family structure, culture, language, education and location may influence the overall development of a child. Professionals working with newcomer children may find the case studies and strategies included in the publication especially useful. All previous versions of ANCIE Bulletins and associated research materials are available online at the ANCIE website: https://www.amssa.org/ancie/ancie_bulletins.php. To subscribe to the ANCIE Bulletins, please email newcomerchildren@amssa.org.

Newcomer Children Provincial E-Symposium

New Approach to Employment and Labour Market Services in BC

The AMSSA Newcomer Children’s program will be holding a Provincial E-symposium on Cultural Competencies: Working with Newcomer Children on Friday, February 18, 2011 from 1:30-3:30. Speakers will discuss ways to use culturally sensitive practices in classrooms, literacy programs, and multicultural parenting with newcomer children and families. You are invited to participate in person at the SFU Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver or online via live streaming video. For more information please email Rishima Bahadoorsingh at newcomerchildren@amssa.org.


BCSAP NGO Directors Meeting

On November 25, AMSSA hosted the BCSAP NGO Directors Meeting, which brought together executive and settlement directors from BC Settlement and Adaptation Program (BCSAP) not-for-profit organizations across British Columbia. Despite the snowstorm, 37 participants attended the meeting at Creekside Community Centre. Attendees included representatives from the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development. The morning featured a presentation by Meyer Burstein on his report, Reconfiguring Settlement and Integration: A Service Provider Strategy for Innovation and Results, as well as a Q&A session. In the afternoon, agency representatives worked together to develop action plans for three key priority areas, which were identified in advance of the meeting. The action plans are being reviewed and will help to inform our workplan for the next year. AMSSA gratefully acknowledges the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia for providing this opportunity.

A New Settlement Net for a New Decade!

Melissa McDowell – Sectoral Support

Settlement Net is an online clearinghouse of resources and info for the 1,200 frontline staff in government-funded immigrant settlement service providers, including non-profit agencies and school district Settlement Worker In School (SWIS) programs.After an extensive redesign that was guided and informed by feedback from settlement workers, the new and improved version of Settlement Net went live on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 – AMSSA’s New Year gift to the immigrant settlement sector!Feedback on the new design has been positive to date.  One long-time user described the new version as, “way friendlier and easier to understand” than the old version, which was our primary goal!The site now consists of four sections – a database of Client Service Resources, an Events Calendar, a database of Settlement Sector Program and Professional Development Resources, and a Directory of Immigrant and Refugee Settlement Service Providers with optional direct contact info for staff.  For more information, or to find out how your organization can use Settlement Net to communicate with settlement workers across BC, please contact Melissa McDowell at projects@amssa.org.Many thanks to the Government of Canada and the Government of BC for their funding of this project through the BC Settlement and Adaptation Program.

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