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Forum asks community to walk in an immigrant’s shoes

Immigrant Welcome Centre’s Welcoming Communities Coalition hosting an experiential event on Nov. 8
Welcoming Communities Coalition coordinator Julie Keumbehdjian wants Campbell River area resients to gain better insight into the challenges of being a newcomer. Photo contributed

If you walk into The Immigrant Welcome Centre’s Welcoming Communities Coalition’s forum on Nov. 8, you will be given a nametag with someone else’s name.

This pseudonym will be accompanied by a card that shares a piece of an immigrant’s story about settling in Campbell River. That card will be just the start of a journey to find and access the services you need to help you settle successfully in your new hometown.

“There are so many pieces involved in settling in a new country. When you look for a job, is your international education recognized here? Do you want to access English language classes? How will you make friends?” Coalition coordinator Julie Keumbehdjian says.

“We hope this experience will help local residents and service providers gain better insight to the challenges of being a newcomer in a place where the culture and language may not be familiar, or where your status as a resident is not always certain.”

As they go through the stations, participants may also learn about community services and organizations in Campbell River that they were previously unaware of. After going through the story cards, everyone will come together and discuss what they experienced around coffee and tea.

“There will be a chance for meaningful discussion around what surprised people, what challenges stood out, and how we as a community can collaborate and make changes going forward,” Keumbehdjian says. “The goal is to create welcoming and inclusive communities where everyone feels welcome, no matter where they come from.”

The event will take place at Robron Centre in Campbell River on Nov. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. Thanks to generous funding and donations, there is no charge and the event will include refreshments and prize draws. The public is invited to register in advance online at

Anyone who is interested in more information about the forum can contact Coalition coordinator Julie Keumbehdjian at or call 250-338-6359.

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