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October 28, 2017 12:10 am

New Program Aims to Help Newcomers to PG

Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 3:50 AM

Prince George, B.C. – A new program has been launched to help newcomers to Prince George settle here and succeed.

Connect PG is the brainchild of Laurie Dillman, an employment and settlement practitioner at the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society (IMSS) who says the goal is to welcome immigrants, refugees, and anyone else who moves to Prince George.

Laurie Dillman - photo 250News

Laurie Dillman – photo 250News

“Just working here at IMSS I recognized through working with new clients they don’t really know anything about the community yet,” she says. “They’re so eager to get to know the community and be a part of it and start to contribute but creating a network is something that they have no idea about.”

She says that’s where Connect PG comes in and the need for volunteers, people she calls ‘community connectors.’

“This is a person from our community who’s lived here, who’s willing to share their network,” says Dillman. “The time commitment for a community connector is 12 hours per year and we ask that you provide connections for up to three newcomers each year.”

She says the intake process allows them to gather specific interests from community connectors and newcomers in order to match them.

“For example: If you are connected to soccer, you can share this knowledge and connection to the league. This is considered one connection.”

Dillman says the goal is to recruit 200 volunteers within the first six months, adding there is no commitment for the community connector to hold onto a relationship.

“The community connectors are not mentors, and they’re not required to help them find a job, they’re just supporting them to start knowing the community and meet people.”

She says the need to assist newcomers is great, noting statistics she’s compiled through various city websites indicate there were 2,700 newcomers to Prince George last year.

Dillman says that may be a surprise to some considering our declining population, but notes it included a wide range of people, such as international and regular students coming here to study at UNBC and CNC.

Those wanting to learn more about Connect PG can attend an information session next Tuesday, February 23rd at the Westwood Church.

It starts at 7 p.m.


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