Eastman Immigrant Services staff and volunteers have been busy all summer getting ready for fall and winter programming and according to Director of E.I.S. Gwen Reimer, there’s much to be excited about.
“What is E.I.S. doing this fall? That's a really good question because my mind has been going in a hundred-and-one places with all the programs that are happening. All good stuff, but yeah, lots to think about.”
Reimer introduces the newest program for newcomers to the area called the “HIPPY” program.
“H.I.P.P.Y. stands for “Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters”. It’s exciting because it’s a new program for Eastman Immigrant Services. We have hired three positions for the program. We have hired a coordinator and 2 home visitors. One is for the Eastman region and one home visitor for the Interlake region.”
Reimer explains the program. “It is an evidence-based program that works with families in the home to support parents, primarily mothers, in their critical role as their child’s, first and foremost, teacher. And then it strengthens the families and communities by empowering parents to actively prepare their children for success in schools. So, the coordinator will work with the home visitors, coordinating visits with eligible families or mothers with their children and then seeing them in their homes, but also doing group sessions, just preparing the moms and the kids for the new school systems in our country.”
Reimer says there are similar programs like this already happening in the province, each with different mandates, but she says, this one is new to E.I.S.
Eastman Immigrant Services also host several sports programs for new comers to the area. One in particular which is very popular is “Learn to Skate”. Reimer says, not only does this program give 30 kids the chance to learn how to skate, but also provides them with a brand new helmet and a brand new pair of skates.
“It's always just a great experience to watch these newcomers to Canada do something they've never experienced before, standing on ice or the cold of winter. But it's when they step onto the ice and they learn to skate with this new equipment, it’s such exciting stuff.”
Another aspect of E.I.S. that Reimer is very excited about is fact that they've had several opportunities already to make presentations to immigrants new to Manitoba and promote the southeast as a great place to live during Manitoba Settlement Task Force events.
“So, we've been able to attend these events and present Steinbach as well as introducing them to E.I.S. We make the presentations together with the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and together we bring newcomers to Steinbach for business, employment and to settle into our region. Doing this has brought quite a bit of interest to our region. People email us and make requests to come and visit Steinbach. So, I've also been really busy answering emails and then I work on bringing people here. They want to visit us. We give them the opportunity to tour Steinbach and see what what we've got here. That too is very exiting.”
Reimer says if you need information about Eastman Immigrant Services, connect with them through their website. You are also welcome to visit their offices at 284 Reimer Ave, Steinbach. She asks that appointments be made with a settlement facilitator well in advance, so that the staff person can be prepared to answer your questions. She says, E.I.S. staff can also help get your child registered for school.