SmartStart taps into the Power of Community

Topics: Manitoba, Migrant and Refugee Services
April 12, 2013

SmartStart taps into the Power of Community

Helping to improve the lives of people in need is a priority of the Canadian Red Cross, which is one of the most active charity organizations in the country. From responding to emergencies and disasters wherever they strike to providing necessities like food, water and shelter to people affected by adversity, the humanitarian works undertaken by the Canadian Red Cross enable individuals to gain much-needed resources.

For migrants and refugees, adjusting to different environments can be difficult, and while these newcomers to the country are resilient, regional programs like SmartStart offer an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills while also developing bonds within the community.

SmartStart in Manitoba
Available in Brandon, Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba, the SmartStart program reaches approximately 800 immigrants and migrants each year, all of whom are new to the country.

For those who don't speak English, SmartStart is also offered in Ukrainian, Hindu and Spanish and helps migrants and refugees prepare for a range of emergencies, including those related to natural disasters such as flooding, ice storms, wind storms, tornadoes and other forms of severe weather.

Since 2009, SmartStart: Injury Prevention for Newcomers has been available in Manitoba and helps migrants and refugees gain greater understanding of when and how to contact 911, as well as how to make homes safer and prepare for extreme weather conditions.

The Power of Community
On February 10, the Canadian Red Cross hosted a block party at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. The event - called the Power of Community Family Fun Day - was free to the public and featured an array of exciting activities, including a hockey game, face painting, prize drawings and live music.

"We're calling it the Power of Community Family Fun Day, and we're hosting the event in an effort to strengthen our community and let families connect with each other, our local heroes like the police and firefighters, as well as the Red Cross," said provincial director Shawn Feely.

The Power of Community Family Fun Day featured a hockey game between the Winnipeg Police Department and Winnipeg Fire Department. During intermission, families were also able to enjoy a Timbits hockey game.

Make a difference
Programs like SmartStart help migrants and refugees gain resources and broaden their skills, which can help ease the stress of transitioning to a new country. With the assistance offered by the Canadian Red Cross, migrants and refugee claimants are also able to establish connections within communities and build greater resiliency.

The Canadian Red Cross is able to provide services to individuals in need with the generous help of Canadians like you. Your contributions enable people affected by emergencies and disasters throughout the country to gain access to services and programs.

To show your support, please donate online or at your local Canadian Red Cross today.