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Creating Connections series helps newcomers settle in Barrie

Program included three sessions, centred around themes of love, community and helping

Creating Connections, a new three-part community event series, offered an opportunity for newcomers to learn about community programs and services in Barrie.

Powered by a partnership between the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, Barrie Police Service and the Barrie Public Library, this free series aimed to introduce newcomers to community services and create a space where they could make connections to programs and to each other. 

“Through our Immigrant Services programs, the YMCA provides settlement services and English language training, but this collaborative program demonstrates the heart of our work: helping newcomers feel welcomed and supported to take part in community life both socially and culturally,” says Jill Tettmann, CEO at YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.

The program included three sessions – one at each partner location – centred around the themes of love, community and helping. With family story times, interactive games, and opportunities to learn more about community, library, and police services, the program was a powerful example of how building partnerships has enabled organizations to have a greater impact. 

“On our own, we may have a slightly limited effect, but together we are this powerful force. We can draw on each other’s resources, knowledge and expertise to create a really beautiful package that we can then present to the community,” says Tedi Brash, program outreach librarian at the Barrie Public Library. 

Rich Johnston, chief of Barrie Police Service, echoed the sentiment: “Programs like these help strengthens our community by showcasing how much more we can do when we work together. By demonstrating collaboration in action, it encourages others to join together to help our community get stronger.” 

The YMCA, which spearheaded the partnership, is excited to develop future programs that build off the success of Creating Connections. If you think your organization might be a great partnership fit, please contact Pamela Marck at [email protected] for more information. To learn more about the YMCA’s Immigrant Services and its program offerings, please visit this website.