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A Place to Call Home

Aug 28, 2019

Written by Ryan Charles Parker

It is easy for those of us that were born here in Canada to navigate our cultural landscape. It comes almost automatically. But just imagine what it would be like if, for some obscure and difficult-to-imagine reason, you made the decision to move your family to a foreign country, and there was no one to help you learn the language, adjust to the culture and find employment. The whole situation would seem insurmountable. That is, if you didn’t have someone to help you make it through.

Well, in central Alberta, luckily, people who decide to make the move to Canada for a new life are not deprived of assistance, because of organizations like Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E.).

C.A.R.E., in general terms, as Volunteer Program Coordinator Elzbieta Sawicka explained, “helps immigrants and refugees to settle in Canada. We provide all kinds of settlement services to help.”

They help newcomers to Canada through many avenues and with services to support new Canadians to do things that come so naturally to those of us that have lived here in Canada for all of our lives.

Some of the services that C.A.R.E. provide include providing help with English as a second language courses, interpreters and translators to help with things such as important documents that are required as a part of their transition to becoming Canadian citizens. They provide social support groups for men and women to aid--amongst other things--becoming more comfortable with the language, pairing refugees with those more comfortable in our society to help them with anything that can reasonably be provided to acclimate them to their new culture. They also assist with such everyday and seemingly simple problems such as enrolling children into schools for those who are unfamiliar with the process, amongst other programs.

C.A.R.E. does receive money through grants from the federal government, along with contributions from provincial and municipal governments and private donations, amongst other contributions, but it is still, above all, a charity. For instance, it is supported by the United Way. They can always use help from monetary donations and volunteers.

Sawicka explained the crucial role that volunteers play in C.A.R.E..“Volunteers play a big role in our organization. We have several programs that depend on volunteers quite a bit.” C.A.R.E. utilizes 200 - 250 volunteers every year, doing things such as one-on-one partnerships to help with things as simple as doctor’s appointments, amongst many other errands and necessary appointments.

We live in a privileged society. When we look around the world, there are many places that we definitely would not want to find ourselves in. But Canada is looked at in almost the opposite way. A huge amount of people would love to and want to be here. That fact, and the reality that we allow people to come here and start a new life is something we should all be grateful for.

For further information, visit C.A.R.E.’s website at:

Or call: 403-346-8818

Or email: volunteer(at)

Or visit their offices at: #202 5000 Gaetz Ave.


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