Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Heads Up: What IS our Empowering Syrian Refugees Program?

Things might be starting to get cold outside, but CIES' Empowering Syrian Refugees (ESR) program is just heating up! So what is it, exactly? Well, it's an answer to these few questions:

ü  Are you new to Calgary?
ü  Are you looking for information about resources in the city?
ü  Are you in need of help making informed decisions about your life in your new community?
ü  Are you struggling to find a meaningful place in Calgary?
ü  Are you looking for an advice and mentorship from a more established Calgarian?

ü  Are you looking for information about career opportunities in Canada?

The Empowering Syrian Refugee program is a City of Calgary-funded initiative designed to equip Syrian Refugee clients of CIES with the knowledge needed to smoothly transition into a productive and fulfilling life in Calgary.  Through this program, newly arrived refugees will obtain the ability to find ways to cope with challenges and barriers associated with relocating to a new culture. Two life skills workshops constituting the first component of the ESR program are thus offered during the last week of every month in the following areas:

Navigating Resources – an introduction to locally accessible organizations, institutions and agencies that offer resources regarding financial planning, health care, education, legal advice, community services, day to day activities and immigrant serving agencies.

Self-Assessment and Decision-Making – this workshop focuses on effective decision making processes using the resources discussed in the first workshop that will facilitate the transition to a new community and culture. 

Overall, the sessions are intended to provide key information that will help them to make sound decisions based on their unique needs. Each presentation lasts 3 hours and includes Arabic interpretation for participants who have limited English language ability.

One-on-one consultations - The second component of the ESR program involves one-on-one consultations with a more established Calgarian who can provide advice on how to better settle into the city and begin pursuing life goals. Clients attending the in-class sessions will schedule appointments with available advisers during the week. The volunteers will be providing clients with at least one hour-long session (follow-up sessions are optional) on resource information and support services in Calgary. They can refer the clients to specialized service providers for specific needs, and generally provide guidance on how to look for a job, where to find courses, medical services, financial services, schools, training etc. depending on a client’s particular needs. This will help newcomer refugees at CIES make sound decisions with enough information, enabling them to focus on pursuing positive changes in their lives.

So what next? Stop on by our next event:


Workshop 1: October 24, 2016 @ 9am - ‘Navigating Resources’
Workshop 2: October 26, 2016 @ 9am – ‘Decision Making’
CIES Welcome Centre
3820-32 st. NE Calgary

Phone: 403-291-0002

Still have questions? Concerns? Contact us at our Northeast location at 403-291-0002.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Today is Make The Month Day - Can you?

Make the Month is an interactive digital poverty simulation that enables Canadians to experience living in poverty and face decisions that will either make or break the month. This interactive experience shows Canadians the realities of surviving day-to-day, paycheque-to-paycheque and the impact that has on your overall well-being.

Make the Month was originally launched in November 2014 in Calgary thanks to collaboration between Imperial, Park Digital and United Way of Calgary and Area.

In 2015, 12 United Ways from across Canada partnered to create a digital poverty simulation for all Canadians. This new, updated simulation enables people from across Canada to experience the challenges and decisions low-income Canadians must make every day in order to make it through one month.

If you have any questions about the data used in Make the Month, please contact your local United Way.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Major Minor's Nox Album Release Party

CIES' very own Graham Mackenzie is spearheading an absolutely great project for the Calgary Community. Music is as cultural relevant as it gets in terms of the arts here in Canada, but pricey tickets and over 18 venues often leave many unable to take in shows across the city. This simple truth was the inspiration for the Major-Minor Music Project.

Major Minor is an all-ages volunteer fuelled music and arts event organization. By engaging participants at all levels of music production and community organizing, Major Minor fulfils its mission to foster a participatory creative culture through popular music concerts, arts programs, experiential learning and volunteer opportunities for all ages, especially young people. Major Minor’s programs are always all ages, with a focus on young people ages 14 to 24 and new Canadians. The programs are in the artBOX, a perfectly suited, character rich community venue in the heart of Forest Lawn.

Monthly concerts promote artistic experimentation and excellence in a professional setting, leveraging industry-standard technology to showcase music and arts. Events fuse with experiential learning opportunities and a volunteer-driven structure that engages young people and new Canadians in the arts, fosters inter-generational communication and gives constituents the skills necessary to pursue their creative and professional passions. The skills participants gain at Major Minor activate future creativity, careers and leadership within the greater creative community. Major Minor engages in the arts, develops the future of the music industry and supports a vibrant Calgary culture.

Major Minor's latest endeavour, in collaboration with Invisionaries, is the NOX album release party set for Tonight at Festival Hall - 1215 10 avenue SE. For more details see the poster below.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The CIES Chronicle

So far this year onward and upward has been the theme for CIES as we have nearly doubled in size since the onset of 2016. Our latest newsletter highlights our expansion and as always the Chronicle serves as a window into what we as an organization are involved with for staff, instructors, clients, potential clients and stakeholders.

In the end, our newsletter, like our blog, is a representational tool, as we hope to spread word about our existence, and let people know the many great services we provide for the immigrant and newcomer populace of Calgary. Please send us your ideas and suggestions for features and stories for upcoming issues, as we would love to hear from you and enjoy our first edition of the Chronicle. CLICK HERE to download the latest issue of the Chronicle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


The Employment Skills Training program (EST) launched in 2009 has now about to complete its 8th year of helping financially challenged newcomers in Calgary find suitable employment. This year however, the EST program, which has always only been offered at our SE location in Forest Lawn, is now also available at our NE Location in Whitehorn.

With an average 75% success rate the program has been very successful. Over 600 students have now completed the program, with EST students improving their workplace knowledge, their marketable skills, increasing their self-esteem and confidence levels, and securing suitable employment. The best part is that the EST program is a free, full-time program for permanent residents and refugees that have been in Calgary for less than 5 years.

This 310 hour (3 Month) program includes computer training in Microsoft Office, hardware and software training, business communications training including Canadian Business Culture, and job finding strategies as well as targeted cover letters, resumes and interview skills.Numerous guest speakers from different economic sectors present to the EST students about Canadian Business Culture, soft skills, interview techniques and how to secure a suitable job in Canada. There is also an optional one month voluntary job practicum at the programs end. For a both a testimonial as well as a full summary of the program simply click the below, or simply give us a call at 403-235-3666.

Career Education and Settlement Immigration Fair

The third annual Calgary Career, Education and Settlement Immigrant Fair is coming back to the Telus Convention Centre (South Building, MacLeod Hall, 120 9th Ave SE) on Monday, October 17, 2016, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., offering a unique and exciting environment for immigrants who are looking for information and inspiration as they look for jobs, go back to school, and settle into their new home. Free admission!

The 3rd annual event is expected to be bigger than ever, with:

  • Diverse exhibitors, including career advisors, education institutes and social service agencies
  • An interactive Resumé Clinic (bring your Resumé to get free advice)
  • A new interactive networking session run in co-operation with Toastmasters
  • Inspirational speakers’ lineup, including keynote speaker Miroslav Reljic of Reljic Coached
  • A Q & A panel session on how to start a small business
  • An English pronunciation class
  • Sessions on IELTS test preparation and Express Entry and How to become a CPA
  • Plus, an onsite Citizenship Ceremony at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CIES Acknowledges World Peace Day

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at an historic summit of the world’s leaders in New York in September 2015. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

The Sustainable Development Goals are integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.

Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a building block in the global architecture of peace. It is critical that we mobilise means of implementation, including financial resources, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building, as well as the role of partnerships. Everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make.