Have You Registered Yet? Early Bird Reminder: From Crisis to Community: Welcoming Refugees • With a Song in Your Heart: ESL Tips • The Flight of Mary, Joseph & Jesus, and our Brother and Sister Refugees • CIWA Programs for Immigrant Women
Cooperative ESL Ministries • February 2016 •

From Crisis to Community: Welcoming Refugees

HAVE YOU REGISTERED? Our Networking Breakfast is just over two weeks away! The early bird deadline is March 2nd—don't miss this opportunity to save 25%. We look forward to seeing you there!

Join us on March 5, 2016 for our annual Networking Breakfast. This year's theme is From Crisis to Community: Welcoming Refugees. Enjoy a delicious meal and the opportunity to network with individuals, churches, and agencies who serve newcomers in our city.   

Date: March 5, 2016

Time: 9:30 am

Location: Encompass Partnerships3851 - 54 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T3J 3W5 (parking located in the back)

Cost: $20 per person (Early bird price $15 until March 2. No discount will apply for payments made at the door.)

Register Now
Help promoting this event would be greatly appreciated. If you'd like to promote it in your church or community, you can download the poster below. Thank you for your support!
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With a Song in Your Heart

Dr. Roswita Dressler

“L-is for the way you look at me”.

I heard Michael Bublé serenading our adult beginner ESL class the other night and I thought to myself “what is up?” When I went in, I discovered that our creative and adventuresome teacher had decided to work with a Valentine’s theme and bring in songs for students to learn the lyrics to. The whole class was singing along to L.O.V.E. and the theme song to Titanic, sung by Céline Dion.

Her lesson was a hit. Since one of her students is a Michael Bublé fan, it seemed natural for her to find a song of his that fit the theme. The students were singing alone to the youtube clip of the song and when I approached, the student who was a fan held up the lyrics and said “I am happy. I understand all of this”. He was referring not just to his familiarity with the singer, but with the choice of song which was written at a level that he could understand.


The Flight of Mary, Joseph & Jesus, and our Sister and Brother Refugees

This article first appeared on the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada website in January. The excerpt below is reprinted with permission. Majd, the refugee interviewed in the article, will be speaking at our Networking Breakfast on March 5th.

By Jeremy Bell

Epiphany is often co-celebrated with the flight into Egypt and the slaughter of the innocents; a mixed collection of celebrations. I was so touched by a story and devotional at our recent Calgary Office staff Christmas gathering from our newest staff member Majd Ajji. I would like to share some of it with you in my newsletter. Majd will be working with Rod Olson (and with us) for the next few months, helping churches get matched with refugee families and helping sponsors with paperwork and applications.
Below is a Q&A based on his devotional to give you an opportunity to get to know him.

Where were you born, and where have you lived much of your life?

I was born in Aleppo, Syria and was raised in Lebanon for the first 12 years of my life. Then as a family we moved back to Aleppo and spend the other half of my life. 

Your family has been in ministry and your father was pastor of a Baptist church in one of the most heavily destroyed cities in the world; could you tell us about that?

My father studied theology in ABTS with my mother back in the 90’s and in the beginning of 2000’s my parents felt that God is calling them to go back Aleppo and plant a Baptist church over there. And that was it, we left everything in Lebanon and moved to Syria. We had a great ministry in the church of Aleppo that took place in an area filled with Muslims and we had a great ministry among them. In 2012 the war started in Aleppo and the church was affected badly by it and an explosion once took place in front of the church and it was deeply destroyed. However, despite all of this, the ministry continued and flourished.

You have been a student at an institution well known to us. Can you tell us about your time in that seminary in Lebanon?

I left to Lebanon in 2012 and started my theological studies in ABTS, 25 years after my parents graduated. It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot. It was a dream for me to study theology and I still have the dream to have further studies in church history.

What brought you to Canada, and to this work with the CBWC?

I was privately sponsored to come to Canada and arrived here in the summer of 2015. Since I was in Lebanon I was in touch with Rod Olson via emails and when I landed I met Rod and we felt that we can make a good team together. I came several times to the office to help Rod with some of the work he is doing and then was asked by CBWC to work for a longer term.


CIWA Programs Available for Immigrant Women

by Jenny Krabbe

When supporting immigrants you learn what a challenge it can be for them to find and keep a job. Immigrant serving agencies can ease the burden. Please assist your students by referring them to appropriate services. Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) offers a range of employment services for job seekers from entry level through to professional candidates. CIWA pays close attention to serving those with barriers of limited education from their home countries and low levels of English. In particular we can help immigrant women hoping to work in these fields:

  • cashier or stocker
  • cleaner
  • daycare worker
  • food counter attendant 
  • hotel housekeeper
  • kitchen helper 

Our programs enhance skills and develop occupational English. Upon completion our clients have:

  • verified resumes
  • become prepared for work in Canada
  • completed between 70 hours to 11 months of training (depending on program)
  • trained in WHMIS, food safety, health and safety, customer service and teamwork
  • in some cases trained in cash registers, child development, Standard First Aid and CPR 

Modular Training for cleaning, hotel housekeeping and kitchen help accepts those with 12 or less years of schooling and offers a schedule that allows women to take training in the morning or afternoon or all day. Retail training, a 3 month program, includes 4 weeks of work experience in a store and is open to immigrant women with 12 or less years of schooling. Following training, participants often find employment in grocery stores. Food Service Training is partnered with A&W, Boston Pizza, McDonald’s, Subway and Tim Horton’s. Immigrant women with any level of education may enter this 3 month program provided that their English level is no greater than Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 3-4. Participants build knowledge and skills in food safety, customer service, cashier training and first aid. Seven years ago CIWA began an 11 month Childcare Training Program leading to a Child Development Assistant Certificate geared to women with 7 or less years of schooling. Hundreds of immigrant women have found their way into Canada’s workforce through our services.  

We are available to come to your CLB 2-5 classes to provide an employment lesson 30 or 60 minutes in length and at that time we will also share information with your students about our services. Give us a call 403-263-4414 ext. 118. Additionally our program flyers are attached. You are welcome to post these flyers in your classroom, share this information on your church websites and program Facebook pages. Reaching those with limited reading is a challenge; you can improve a person’s opportunity simply by informing her that there are employment supports in place for her. Thanks for thinking of her.


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Cooperative ESL Ministries is blessed to receive support
from the Community Initiatives Program of Alberta Culture

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