Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Festival

So what else has been going on at CISC? On December 5, over 75 people attended the Winter Festival talent show at the International Family Center-Seattle.

Potluck dinner and entertainment by CISC Afterschool Program students, some of whom had been practicing for months.

There was a wide variety of talent displayed, including both vocal and instrumental musical acts.

For a grand finale, parents went up on stage to have a group singing performance, much to the delight of their kids.

The night ended with a raffle drawing in appreciation of the students and their families for their support and participation in our program.

Immigrant Integration, Part II

Long time, no blog. That's because we were busy in Europe wrapping up the US-Belgium Cultural Crossing exchange program this month, and then dealing with snow in Seattle.

Earlier this month, all US and Belgian participants of the program returned to Liege to discuss findings and experiences from our various trips across the US and Belgium.

Of particular interest was the European Union's official policy on immigrant integration, which surprisingly, the majority of Belgian practitioners of integration services were unaware of. As in the US, there seems to be a long way to go to get from the reality on the ground (what we see every day) and the goals of the policies. But it was heartening to hear from the primary author of the document, Iwona Piorko, on the last day in Brussels, the work that continues to be done to bridge the gap.

These principles, which had to be approved by all 27 member nations (a significant feat in itself), may provide a useful framework for our own discussions on immigration reform here in the US. Also useful may be the Handbook on Integration for Policy-makers and Practitioners which addresses services, civic participation as well as evaluation.

As we all struggle with the global economic downturn, trying to protect those immigrant services and programs we already have, we can use this time and the relationships built with our colleagues across the US and in Belgium to strategize how we may reconfigure or improve our programs to better meet the needs of immigrants in the future. Creating opportunities for immigrant success - that's what CISC is all about.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Family Caregiver Appreciation

Last week, to close out National Family Caregiver Month, CISC held a health education seminar and appreciation party for our caregivers.

Over 35 caregivers listened to a physician from Nan Cheong Medical College in China explain how to maintain and improve one's health after age 55. He also demonstrated special massage techniques on participants.

Starting January, two new support groups will be held for Chinese caregivers - in Seattle at the International Family Center and on the Eastside at the North Bellevue Community Center. Many caregivers signed up on the spot.

For more information on these groups or to learn more about this program, please contact Theresa Lam at or 206.624.5633 x 4137.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving at IFC-Seattle

Last week while the rest of us were stuffing ourselves with turkey and pie, the International Family Center-Seattle staff were teaching some of our youngest friends and neighbors just what Thanksgiving is all about.

Over 100 people joined us for a Thanksgiving celebration for kids that included stories about the first Thanksgiving, arts and crafts, fun and games, and of course food!

We at CISC are thankful for all the support we have received this year from our donors, funders, clients and friends. Without you, we couldn't do the work we do, helping ease the transition to a new culture for over 8,000 immigrants and their families. For that, we are truly thankful.