I’m very excited for the opportunity to act as a catalyst to bring people together in my new role as project co-ordinator for WelcomeNL in Corner Brook.
I think that WelcomeNL is a great investment by our province, in our province. Every year, even every day, we are welcoming more and more newcomers into our communities and each individual brings his or her own unique perspectives and attributes.
WelcomeNL is funded through Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) with funding from the Labour Market Partnerships Program of the provincial government’s Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour. This project seeks to build broader community support and organizational capacity for welcoming newcomers by brokering better awareness and new relationships amongst supportive organizations in the greater community. This initiative will be rolled out by steering committees in various regions of the province, including Labrador and central.
In the Corner Brook area, the project is guided by Grenfell faculty members, who work closely with international students, and alongside members of the City of Corner Brook, the Association for New Canadians and the Western Regional Public Libraries. I am personally an alumnus of Grenfell, and after a few years of living outside the country it’s been wonderful to relocate back to Corner Brook and return to the Grenfell community in a working capacity.
Often, I think, domestic Newfoundlanders are curious and interested in newcomers, but sometimes are not sure how to approach them and welcome them as a community member. Likewise, I think newcomers want to get involved and really make this place home. However, in a new place, often in the midst of learning a different language, it can be challenging to really put yourself out there. WelcomeNL will be essential in bridging these gaps and will encourage the growth of positive relationships between newcomers and domestic Newfoundlanders.
Corner Brook has always been home for me and with the help of WelcomeNL and other stakeholders in the region, I hope that we can truly make it feel like home for anyone who is living here, regardless of where you may have been born.
Nicole Ivany is the project co-ordinator for WelcomeNL in Corner Brook.