Image of Sedat standing in front of Newcomer Services at the Y Downtown

The YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's Enduring Legacy of Community Support

There are few experiences that can be as life-changing as a newcomer's voyage in the vast tapestry of human existence. Leaving behind familiar shores and stepping into the unknown, we carry dreams, hopes, and a heart full of aspirations.

Arriving in Canada, the land of opportunity is both exhilarating and overwhelming for a newcomer. Language barriers, cultural nuances, and the sheer magnitude of starting afresh seem insurmountable.

Settlement Service Providers: Guiding Lights

One cannot overstate the crucial role that settlement service provider institutions play in the lives of newcomers. They provide a comprehensive range of services, addressing not only newcomers’ immediate settlement needs but also their long-term integration into Canadian society. As a newcomer and refugee, myself, I have been fortunate enough to find solace, support, and a sense of belonging through the remarkable services provided by settlement institutions in Winnipeg like MANSO, IRCOM, Accueil Francophone, OFE, Manitoba Start, Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute and Immigrant Centre. From the moment I set foot in friendly Manitoba, I felt a deep desire to give back to my newfound community. Volunteering as an ESL instructor for Accueil Francophone, collaborating as a curriculum writer for the English as an Additional Language program for Indigenous People at MANSO where I was able to deepen my understanding of Canadian history and culture and appreciate the richness of the diverse communities that make up this country, and working as a community development tutor for Peaceful Village, were invaluable experiences that allowed me to connect with diverse individuals, learn their stories, and create a sense of belonging.

YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg: A Heartfelt Tribute

But it was my role as a Director of Newcomer Services at YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg that truly opened my eyes to the incredible work being done by settlement service providers across the country. Since my first day within the organization, I have witnessed firsthand the impact that the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg has had on the lives of newcomers. Today, on the momentous occasion of the 110th year of the Downtown YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, I am compelled to reflect on my personal journey, the remarkable support I received, and the profound impact of this extraordinary organization.

This organization, which has stood as a pillar of support and strength for more than a century, has touched countless lives. Their commitment to nurturing a sense of community and empowerment is nothing short of remarkable. The YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg's history is etched with countless stories of individuals who, like me, found solace, support, and the resources to build a better future. Over the years, the organization has evolved to meet the changing needs of the community.

Building Stronger Communities

Since its inception, the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg has exemplified the true spirit of compassion and inclusion. It has tirelessly worked to address the unique challenges faced by newcomers, providing settlement services, language training, mental health programs, employment assistance, and a plethora of programs designed to foster social integration. Their unwavering dedication to supporting newcomers is not only commendable but also profoundly inspiring. Beyond its direct support to newcomers, the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg has consistently extended its reach to uplift the broader community. Whether it's through initiatives promoting youth development, women's empowerment, or addressing social inequalities, the organization's commitment to building stronger communities shines through. The ripple effect of their efforts spreads far and wide, creating a harmonious and inclusive society.

Today, the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg offers a lifeline to navigate the uncharted waters of a new life for newcomers regardless of their background, through a wide range of programs and services, including newcomer services, childcare, mental health, fitness, and community outreach.

And now, as I continue to work in the field of newcomer services, I am committed to giving back to the community and helping other newcomers find the same support and sense of belonging that I have found.

As we celebrate the 110th year of this remarkable institution, let us take a moment to recognize and appreciate the countless lives it has touched. On their 110th anniversary, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg for their tireless efforts to support the community.

May they continue to thrive for another 110 years and beyond.

Sedat Cavdar,
Director of Newcomer Services

Locations: Downtown Y
Category: Newcomer Services