Playing for Keeps Community Training

August 19, 2016

CultureLink is in its 4th year of partnership with Playing for Keeps – an organization that aims to give volunteers the opportunity to plan fun games and activities to bring neighborhood and communities together.

This past June, 23 youth and adult from Culturelink took  part in a 2-day free certified Community Leadership training at George Brown College. This training session not only equipped volunteers with the skills necessary to plan and implement effective community activities, but it also provided them with an opportunity to meet other community members,  and learn and share together.  Upon completion all the participants received certification from the George Brown College.

In memory of Aubrey Ramprasad, dedicated CultureLink volunteer & 25th anniversary volunteer award winner

August 19, 2016

Aubrey was a volunteer mentor with CCMP’s mentorship program and helped established the Citizenship circle at Burrows Hall library that started in 2012. He volunteered non-stop for over three years and was travelling every week (rain or shine), from North York to Scarborough to help the newcomers with citizenship education. He was the first to develop and introduce the citizenship quizzes and came up with the tips and techniques that still help newcomers prepare for the exam. His approach and guidance has resulted in many newcomers passing the exam and coming back to thank him for all the support. He had remarkable wealth of knowledge and he never hesitated to share that with the newcomer participants. He helped newcomers understand the true value of Canadian citizenship and always encouraged them to achieve their full potential in Canadian society.

It was wonderful experience working and learning from him. He will be missed immensely by many for all his guidance and dedication.



Aubrey’s family has set-up an online memorial book.  To pay tribute to Aubrey visit .

Written by Rubeen Chauhan, CCMP Program Worker

Celebrities from Syrian Diaspora community visit the Nai choir

August 19, 2016

This week the choir gained attention from Syrian celebrity figures, thanks goes to Mr. Mohammed Al Zaibak for his successful efforts to bridge the choir with celebrities such as Mr. Michael the founder of Michigan Arab orchestra, in addition to introducing Jehad and Albina who are the founders of the Enana Ballet Academy in Doha and Dubai.

Mr. Michael played the Mezmar instrument with the kids and they enjoyed it a lot.

On June 22nd, 2016 Nai choir performed at Luminato event, it was an Iftar event during the month of Ramadan.  Minister of finance Bill Morneau attended the event and was delighted to see the kids performing on stage.

On July 8th of 2016 the choir performed at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Representatives attending from the Airport, Metolinx and Uptrain were fascinated by the kid’s amazing performance. As an appreciation to the parents the airport provided all adult choir kid’s parents with a 150$ preloaded presto card; to make the travelling throughout the GTA for refugees easier.

The funding of the TTC tokens that were donated by the GTAA, are important to note for their substantial outcome towards the choir. Due to their generosity the parents were able to commit for bringing their kids for every choir rehearsal on weekly basis since April, which facilitated our mission. By utilizing these valuable resources Culturelink was also able to create a community interaction for the parents that are attending. Meanwhile the kids are practicing Culturelink managed to form a diversified English conversation circles for their parents. This created a friendly environment for those newcomers/refugees to Canada whom are in need of such opportunities to socialize and learn with local volunteers.

Written by Nadeen Abu Shaban, Program Worker for Women’s Host Program

Summer Settlement Program – Orientations for Newcomers Across the Lifespan

August 19, 2016

For the month of July, CultureLink runs an exciting, intensive Summer Settlement Program (SSP) that provides a range of orientations for newcomers across the lifespan. Our youth activities – to name a few -  include leadership and team-building workshops, youth theatre for leadership in St. Jamestown, a youth volunteer fair, several cycling orientations including bike rides around the community, urban outdoor orientations/walks in Fort York and Post-Secondary Conversations info fair and more.

A large, enthusiastic group of youth joined the SSP Theatre for Leadership in the St. Jamestown area. Youth had the fun, valuable opportunity to work with artist Kevin Chiao and learn theatre games and do dramatic role play to learn practical communication and leadership skills.


July featured our ‘Urban Orientation’ that took place at Fort York. Here, led by Heritage Toronto experts, newcomer youth learned about the many outdoor trails in the city as well as some of Toronto’s history amid the Fort remains located just north of the Exhibition Grounds. In keeping with CultureLink’s focus on Green Settlement with our Bike to School and Bike Host activities, the summer included several cycling orientations that focused on bike safety and exploring the community by bicycle. We aim to empower youth and families to take to the community and bike lanes to explore their new home city safely and joyfully.

Families were met at the Catholic Orientation Centre where parents received information for all family members to assist them in a speedy integration. Tibetan and Filipino adults and seniors were reached out to in many community locations where they received one-on-one settlement as well as health-related group orientations. To support the SSP activities, CultureLink actively partnered with upwards of 30 agencies – all invested in assisting newcomers in their integration process in their new home.

Written by Lisa Randall, Settlement Workers in Schools Program Manager

P4K Pathfinding with CultureLink and friends

August 18, 2016

One highlight of CultureLink’s summer was the P4K Pathfinding bike ride and picnic on Sunday July 17. The event began with a ride led by Cycle Toronto along the Pan Am Path, from Warden Station to Morningside Park, mainly by on neighbourhood streets and on car-free trails. At Morningside Park, CultureLink hosted games, kid-friendly activities and a popular picnic, thanks to volunteers with Bike Host and our Playing for Keeps program. Many participants appreciated a second ride led by Scarborough Cycles, from the Park down to Lake Ontario, along a trail following the Highland Creek. The sun smiled as the group discovered and enjoyed the beauty of Toronto’s natural spaces.

“P4K Pathfinding Walks, Talks and Rides” is a new program by Friends of the Pan Am Path in collaboration with Playing for Keeps, Cycle Toronto and Jane’s Walk. P4K Pathfinding connects young and established leaders to explore Toronto’s trails and ravines. Toronto Foundation is the presenting partner of P4K Pathfinding.

Written by Kristin Schwartz