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Newcomer event slated at bowling alley Friday

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Those who recently migrated to the country will have a chance to network and socialize with fellow immigrants this Friday at the second “Newcomer Meet and Greet” event.

The Valley Adult Learning Association (VALA) will be holding it from noon-3 p.m. at the Plaza Lanes bowling alley. An Easter egg hunt will be held there as well.

“Bowling's fun, it's Easter time, and this is something for all of the family to enjoy,” said Tracey Omerod of VALA.

“What we intend to do is all meet up, play three games and then mix up the teams so everybody gets to know different people,” she added.

VALA held it's first “Newcomer Meet and Greet” late last year and had a fantastic turnout from those who recently migrated here.

“It went down really well," Omerod said. "We expected about 30 people, I think about 50 attended from 15 different countries and every family brought a dish from their own country.”

VALA did a brief introduction at the beginning of the event and then all of the attendees began to socialize with one another independently, Omerod noted.

“Everybody was like interacting incredibly," she remarked. "It was such a success, that's why we decided we need to do this again.”

Originally VALA had plans to host the second newcomer event at the Little Beaver Cultural Centre in February but had to cancel due to burst water pipes.

She is hoping for as many as 50 newcomers to come out for the newcomer event and said so far they have gotten confirmation from about 40.

The event is great for getting newcomers more comfortable living in the town, Omerod noted.

“It's to welcome people into the area, give them some support in the community, introduce them to our education system here and for them to progress in the town and feel settled in a community,” she said.

Going forward, Omerod hopes the newcomers will actually be able to spearhead these events themselves now that VALA has provided the structure of how they are held.

She noted that most who immigrate here come with just their immediate family and can feel alone when first getting here.

This event will help them meet others who are having a similar experiencing, having recently arrived in the area.

In the past year. Omerod noted, there has been a large influx of newcomers coming to Fort Frances so she said this event is responding to the need.

She would encourage anyone who is new to the area to come out to the event and call VALA's office ahead of time to let them know.

The office can be reached over the phone at (807) 274-3553 and if anyone has food allergies please let VALA know ahead of time.

“We're happy that we've been able to bring people together and we're hoping that some members will want to take the next newcomer event and organization forward, between them . . . but we will provide support for as long as it's needed,” Omerod said.

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