By: Roselyn Advincula
Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba in partnership with Aurora Family Therapy Centre hosted their annual Newcomer Holiday Gathering last December 15th. It was a well-attended event with more than 300 guests including newcomers, volunteers and service providers. Its purpose is to provide a warm welcome to those who are new in Canada and to provide a space to celebrate this holiday season together. Aurora Family Therapy Centre is a not for profit organization that supports newcomers in integrating in their new home.
PHCM president, Perla Javate and AFTC representative, Debbie Frose, officially opened the event with welcome remarks. There were entertainment, games, food and raffle. Snaprite Photobooth which is owned by a newcomer himself, Alfred Cahigas, was generous enough to sponsor the not to be missed selfies at the party. There was also a kids’ corner where they had face painting, glitter tattoo, balloon twisting and crafts.
Representatives from OHC, Seven Oaks Immigrant Services, Norwest, ILRC and West Central Womens resource centre came. Notre Dame MLA Malaya Marcelino also graced the event.
Myra Jacinto and Howie Torillos of MYXZ Images emceed the 2.5 hour program that had been filled with fun, laughter and community building. Kids got their gift from Santa. Everyone gave great feedback about the event and was wanting to come back again next year. One commented, “thank you for making me feel at home.” Another participant was very thankful on how the event made her children so happy. “We wish there’s more time and more events like this all year round.”
And last but not least, volunteers were the heart of this event. They supported the event from beginning ‘til end.