Twenty-year-old Aliyah landed in Canada in May 2021 to reunite with her parents. Stepping into a new country, Aliyah could not speak English. She also had minimal literacy in Chinese due to reading difficulties. With so many challenges, her circle was limited to her home and parents.
In September 2021, Aliyah met Helen Su, a Chinese-speaking settlement worker at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH). After a needs assessment with Aliyah, Helen initiated “Guided Pathway,” a comprehensive support strategy to direct her to available resources. Together, they created an action plan aiming at helping Aliyah to settle more quickly.
Following the action plan, Aliyah joined the LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers Canada) program. Sitting in the Level 1 class, she was able to communicate with the instructor and even more, she started to make friends in her class. Meanwhile, Aliyah registered for the Make Your Mark program where she could relax and enjoy creativity. She also participated in an art therapy workshop where she learned to express her feelings and thoughts with different paintings. All these activities offered through our Community Development team empowered Aliyah to break through her limitation and isolation. Now she has become much more open-minded, happier, and more active in the community.
The action plan also directed her to navigate the health system and identify the available resources supporting her medical needs. Through Community Living BC, Aliyah received benefits and joined programs that helped her have a life filled with many possibilities.
Aliyah’s experiences reflect the core value of settlement services at CNH. Our service is not as quick as a one-time meeting with the client. It is a long-term journey with much supporting and accompanying. Our services are not as simple as just filling out a form. They imply caring and empowering, navigating and advocating. Our services not only aim to meet the newcomers’ basic needs, more critically but also to help them integrate into the community and eventually find ways to contribute their strength to society.
Settlement services are available at CNH to support newcomers and immigrants in a variety of first languages. Our hope is to see you and your family make Canada your new home. All programs and services are free! For more information about settlement services at CNH, visit: https://www.cnh.bc.ca/settlement or call 604-435-0323.