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Blog2022-02-09T11:04:56-04:00

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Eid al-Adha: the celebration of generosity and gratitude

Eid al-Adha: the celebration of generosity and gratitude

Eid al-Adha (pronounced “EED al UDD-ha”), considered the holiest of the two Eids, the other being Eid al-Fitr which commemorates the end of Ramadan, is a time to reflect and spend time with family, relatives and friends. Eid al-Adha celebrations last for three to four days, unlike Eid al-Fitr; however, the ways to celebrate may be similar, wishing for good fortune, praying for the lost ones, and meeting family and friends.   

Unlike Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha is more related to the culmination of the hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime. The hajj is the fifth of the fundamental Muslim practices and institutions, known as the Five Pillars of […]

July 8th, 2022|

Nowruz: Celebrating the start of spring

Nowruz: Celebrating the start of spring 

(This article was written with the help of Ana Mehdizadegan, Soheila Dianat, and Fariba Yousefian, newcomers from Iran; Guldana Sauranova, a newcomer from Kazakhstan; and Mohammad Rauf Akbari, a newcomer from Afghanistan.) 

 

Nowruz (also spelt Novruz, Navruz, Nooruz, Nevruz, Nauryz), literally ‘new day’ in Persian, marks the start of a New Year in various Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Central Asian countries. This day is celebrated by more than 300 million people on the astronomical vernal equinox i.e. when the sun crosses the equator, which was on March 20th this year. The first day of spring calls for a grand celebration, especially after long winter months, and methods of celebration vary with region. 

During Nowruz, Iranians celebrate with 13 days of festivities. People celebrate on the […]

March 22nd, 2022|

Chinese New Year in my childhood

Chinese New Year is considered the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people with its roots tracing back 3,500 years ago. Chinese New Year is usually depicted with the color red, which symbolizes positive energy, happiness and good luck. People usually wear a red hat, a red scarf, red clothes or a red bracelet to attract positivity in the new year. My mother used to tell me multiple legends of dragons and monsters to describe the importance of this day and why we value every individual Chinese New Year tradition.

In my childhood when I lived in North-West China, my mother used to start the Chinese New Year preparations months in advance. As New Year’s Eve approached, she would start cleaning every nook and cranny of the house to make sure everything was in its best condition. […]

February 4th, 2022|

Karen Kane: 35 Years in Child Care

Karen Kane: 35 Years in Child Care

“How has it been thirty-five years?”

That’s Karen Kane’s reaction when looking back on 35 years  working at the YMCA of Greater Saint John in Child Care.

Working at six different Child Care locations, Karen remembers early on, while working as an on call babysitter, a supervisor saw something special in her, and gave her a shot.

Karen very quickly realized that Early Childhood Education (ECE) was something she was meant for, and soon after working full time, she began night classes twice a week to complete her ECE Certificate. Ever since then Karen has continued to primarily work with the three to four year olds, and for a short time working with five year olds.

“I love to be creative,” says Karen as she reflects on why she has stuck with that age group.

For Karen, the three to four year olds come with a […]

January 1st, 2022|

Y Pride Stories | Coming Out: A Journey of Loss & Triumph

Y Pride Stories | Coming Out: A Journey of Loss & Triumph

Saint John Pride Week is happening from August 3 – 8. It’s a time to celebrate the progress we’ve made and to raise awareness of what more needs to be done. In observance of Pride, we invited a member of our team to discuss their experiences with culture and religion in coming out and immigrating to Canada.

Living in Lebanon, a westernized, Middle Eastern country, my coming out journey had mixed repercussions. Before I came out, I had been leading Lebanese sports as a high-achieving athlete. But that did not matter when my Taekwondo teammates outed me to my head coach. The result was my removal from the national squad and the loss of decades-old friendships with others.

In ironic contrast, I was out and felt safe at the Catholic school where I had been a student and, […]

August 3rd, 2021|

Y Blog | Getting More Out of Your Day

Y Blog | Five Steps to Getting More Out of Your Day

Author | Giscard El Khouri, Language Program Supervisor with YMCA Newcomer Connections

In a world where we are always rushing to get things done, we most of the time find ourselves have accomplished nothing. We feel that neither the fight nor the flight mechanism is functioning, but more like frozen. 

How can we change that?

Time is a concept, and we are not all set up biologically the same way. We have to adjust to what fits our cycle. Studies show that there are early risers and night owls. Which one are you? Don’t get carried away by what you see or hear in the media- “early risers get the worm”; but night owls get to grab late opportunities. Opportunities, whatever they were, do not have a schedule. Did it ever cross your mind […]

June 1st, 2021|

May Flowers – Blooming Ideas for a Potential ‘Stay Home Summer’

By Laura Greer, Supervisor of Quispamsis & Rothesay Child Care sites

Well folks, it’s been more than a year since COVID-19 graced us with its presence… note the sarcasm. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’m ready to have a semi-normal summer if possible! I’ve been craving travelling to somewhere hot, but I know that won’t happen for a while, so day trips and local areas will have to do! Luckily for us, the Atlantic Bubble has some pretty wonderful locations, but if we can’t include Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, there’s still plenty to do here in New Brunswick! Below are some options for you and the family to enjoy!

Day Trip/Weekend Trip Ideas:

May 28th, 2021|

Y Blog: Volunteers with Newcomer Connections Arrival Team plays many roles

   

(Editor’s Note: Volunteers at the YMCA of Greater Saint John are changing lives every day and this is especially true for those helping at Newcomer Connections. The following Y Blog is told by several Arrivals Team volunteers at the YMCA of Greater Saint John’s Newcomer Connections.)

Airport meetings are heartwarming and emotional

My journey as a volunteer with our newcomers was, and still is, very rewarding.

I began in January 2016 as a welcome team leader, with our church, to help with the influx of newcomers from Syria and other countries who came to Canada.

I spent, along with others, many interesting days and nights finding living accommodations, driving people to information sessions, grocery shopping, helping set up banking, making beds, cleaning, hanging curtains, playing with the children, serving food and so on.

The most rewarding […]

April 16th, 2021|

Y Blog | March Madness – A short note on your wellbeing

By Laura Greer, Supervisor of Quispamsis & Rothesay Child Care sites

While the weather has been back and forth, thankfully, spring is near! March Break has just finished, but for many of us, there was no break at all. Whether you’re working, studying, or at home, things can get overwhelming, and fast. How are you feeling? What are you doing to look after yourself?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to reflect and step back for a moment. What is it that’s making things difficult? Is it something you can ask for help with? Have you taken a break in a while?

March may only be the 3rd month of the year, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a difficult one. Sometimes, if we get too caught up in our own thoughts, worries, and fears, we miss the positive moments that are happening around us. Watch the movie […]

March 10th, 2021|

Y Blog | My First Seven Days in Canada

Y Blog | My First Seven Days in Canada

My name is Anna Morneault and I’m a Language Instructor at YMCA Newcomer Connections. Not so long ago, I was a newcomer myself, when I came to Canada from Jerusalem with my 10-year-old son. Since my arrival, I have found my calling: helping others who have undertaken the journey of immigration in transitioning to life and culture in their new homes through the Y.

Click the toggles below to read my first-person, day-by-day account of the beginning of my life here in Canada.

When My Journey to Canada Began

When we first landed in Toronto, we were held by customs. We rushed through the terminal train while pieces of the unfamiliar cold white wonder caressed my cheek. I felt as though I was on a roller coaster, both physically and emotionally, as I was running and pushing the luggage […]

February 10th, 2021|
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