Today is graduation day for the 14 immigrant families that took part in the first session of the Cultural Integration Academy pilot project in Grande Prairie.
Over the past eight weeks, Program Facilitator Solomon Okhifoh says they’ve been learning everything from how to deal with police officers, raising children in a new country, and dealing with culture shock.
“They leave their home country and come to Canada. Things are different and some people get into depression; they don’t know where to go. Based on the beliefs they have they have about mental health, they may not seek help, so we brought in people to educate if you’re having a problem, where to go.”
They’ll next be matched up with volunteer mentor families, who will help them further integrate.
Okhifoh says the response so far has been very positive, including what he heard from a woman a few weeks ago.
“She’s been in Canada for 15 years and said, ‘the things I have learned here for the past one month or so, I never knew them.’ They’re very excited, so I think the information they’re getting is really helping them.”
Crime Prevention received a $250,000 provincial grant to run the project over two years.