Become a Public Speaking Mentor

TBaker Find a Mentor News

Volunteer Mentors will help newcomer participants practice Public Speaking and relevant skills in a small group setting. Successful mentors must commit for the program duration and some extra hours as required by the program.

Mentors must be fluent in English with knowledge and life experience in Canada of five years or more. Mentors are matched with participants for extra support and guidance.

Mentors must have experience in public speaking, coaching, group facilitation and have the ability to engage participants of varying skills and language levels. Experience working with immigrants/ refugees would be an asset as group participants are mostly newcomers.

Exceptional communication and people skills are required. Additional skills that would be assets are: flexibility (in terms of program delivery), creativity, self-motivation and bringing new ideas/ activities to support learning of the newcomer participants.

Mentors would be expected to develop program material/offer short presentations to achieve the program objectives.

Mentors are required to attend mandatory orientation session.

Police clearance and reference check is required.

Mentors will receive certificate of appreciation at the end of the program.

Program Structure:

Currently, this program is designed to run bi-weekly for 7 consecutive weeks and once in a year!

Each session is 2.5 hours long which includes presentation, discussion on related topics and hands-on practice and homework assignments (if required).

The last session is generally about presenting final speeches (if the attendees decide to do so) followed by group photos, awarding certificates and a potluck party.

Please contact Rubeen for any questions or further details at 416-588-6288 x 231 |

Like us on Facebook: Newcomers-Speak-Up-for-Success


Open House: Culturelink Children & Youth Centre

Asal Slider, Youth News




CultureLink Settlement & Community Services invites you to celebrate the Grand Opening of our new Children & Youth Centre!

Join us on Thursday, January 25th from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. for a fun evening filled live performances, tours of our new spaces, light refreshments, and more. Come meet our youth staff, learn about our programs and service and network!

Visit our event page to register –

If you have any questions, please contact Nour at or call us at 416-766-6288 x 211.

We look forward to seeing you on the 25th!

What is in a Name

GWalsh News

An elderly Czech Roma couple came to seek help with their application for Permanent Residence, after the Immigration & Refugee Board recognized them as refugees.   One of the many forms we had to complete asked about the siblings of the applicant.

When it came to the siblings of the wife she told us that she has two brothers, both called Jan, a Czech version of John.  This puzzled me, and so I asked if any of her parents had children before they started to live together.  To which she replayed that both her brothers have the same parents as she has.

This made little sense to me.  How can there be two brothers with the same name?   So I asked her, why would her parents give the same name to two of their children?  To this, the woman answered that when her mother gave birth to her second son, she forgot that she already had one named Jan!

I tried to understand this and asked other people in the Roma community if they know how such a thing could happen.  Most had no idea, but one of them told me that it could be because many Roma are not called by their official name but only by a nickname, which becomes the only name that anyone around them uses and the official name is forgotten.  Exhausted by giving birth, the mother could have forgotten that one of her son is already called Jan, because no one used that name for him.

Job Success in Canada

GWalsh News

Kian was a Transportation Planner / Civil Engineer in Iran and when he arrived in Canada in 2016, he was confident that his decade of experience and wide range of technical skills would assure him of immediate employment. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Those skills that had driven him to success in Iran did not translate into the Canadian style of jobseeking.

To address the situation, he joined CultureLink’s Hit Restart Program for Engineers. After a week of training with other participants, he was ready to meet with AECOM staff for a speed mentoring event.  While on holiday in Iran not long after, he received an invitation for an interview. He rushed back and was connected to two HR specialists who volunteered for CultureLink and provided feedback to him in a number of online practice interviews. As a result of all this work, he aced the interview and now works for AECOM as a Transit / Rail Planner.

Kian Quote: “I can honestly say that the Hit Restart for Engineers program and connecting us to have a mentoring event with Aecom is one of my best experiences I have ever had. I always be thankful to you.”

Newcomer Bike Host participant

Bike Host Stories

GWalsh News

Stories of Bike Host 2017

Bike Host ended with a blast at the Access Point on Danforth on October 28. Newcomers and Mentors who had completed 10 or more activities received the certificates. Newcomers also got to receive a used bike as incentive to continue their cycling journeys in their new homeland!

Nadia is one of those participants. She can be seen here with her awarded bike. She wrote a special thank you note: “I am writing to say thank you very much for nice summer program, for opportunity to meet new friends, and find interesting places, and know better Toronto! On Thursday I have received the bike! Thank you Rubeen, thank you CultureLink!”

Nadia’s story follows. You can also check out our Bike Host 2017 video on YouTube.

Number Thirteen!

By Nadia Kolosova

Green, red or white? Which colour do you like more? Jim asked me. There were several bicycles on the green grass. This was a difficult question for a woman. I was looking at the red and white bicycles, and they looked more modern and nice… but, of course, I had understood, that my choice will be the green one. All my life I have chosen green colour.  If, for example, I need a new dress, or jacket, or any other thing, what would necessary be perfect for me would be in green. And guess what? The quality, style and any other attributes of that green item would also suit my taste. Green has always been a happy colour for me.

“Green!” was my answer. Jim approved my choice and told me about the technical specifications of this model of bike. It turned out that the bike was a famous model and of good quality. Jim is really a professional! All summer I did not have any technical problems with my bike! Jim checked the wheels, and adjusted the height of the steering column and the seat so that I can ride my bicycle safely and comfortably. He also explained how to service it, after which he asked me to ride it. My new bike was comfortable, stable, and sturdy. Maybe it looked too large, but it was my favorite colour! At home, I called it affectionately “ласково, my green alligator” because, at my apartment, the bike looked too large and heavy. I was sure that it was my choice.

Only later when I passed my riding exam I noticed that the number of my bicycle was thirteen, which was written in small digits on the frame.

This riding test was conducted by Mik, whom I met at school during one of my classmate’s presentation, a week before the summer vacation. As everybody was worried and serious about their presentations since it is a responsible job, Mik brought kind of fresh air and a new wave of positive thinking into the classroom. He told us exciting stories about Bike Host, about the rules for bicyclists, and it was impossible not to participate in the company.

And now, after two and a half months,  I see the results of my participation in this enterprise : I have met  new friends, I have also ridden 140 kilometres, which is  my personal record! I have never ridden so much! My first goal was to improve my English and to speak with people, but later, I have understood how many advantages I have gained having the bike: I have visited a lot of places by bike; it has saved me money; I have discovered wonderful parks; made new friends; and participated in events as a volunteer. For me to be a volunteer was not easy because of the level of my English, but Rubeen is absolutely a talented person, who explained everything and everybody felt her kindness and heartiness. My volunteer experience gave me the opportunity to meet with interesting people: Lea, for example, a PhD student from the University of Toronto who is conducting research on the Bike Host program. Lea is an intelligent, enthusiastic and beautiful girl. To conclude, I hope my bike experience has been helpful for her project. Also, Louise, my mentor, helped me a lot with the map, and how to ride properly in unknown places, which was crucial for me this summer, as I was riding a lot where I had never been before.

Now, I know that number thirteen is as lucky as the green colour!

All in all, the Bike Host gave me a plenty of opportunity for riding and meeting new friends.

Thank you very much for it!


Bike Host is affiliated with CultureLink’s Community Connections Mentorship Program, funded by Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees Canada. In 2017, it is offered in collaboration with the South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) and Scarborough Cycles, a project funded by the Metcalf Foundation and led by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, a project of Clean Air Partnership, with partners Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, and CultureLink.

Drama Sessions for Syrian Newcomer Women

GWalsh News

In an attempt to break the isolation for Syrian Newcomer Women, CultureLink’s Settlement Workers in Schools program is partnering with a professional Syrian women in Drama; Mania Elendari and Auntie Amal Community Centre to provide training sessions mostly focused on Art and Drama and other topics suggested by the Syrian Newcomer Women.

The idea of providing such training sessions is to integrate the Syrian newcomer women into a social environment that strengthens the individual social role. As you have noticed during the recent arrival of thousands of Syrian families to Canada, most of the Syrian family members were integrating within the Canadian community so fast and with more ease.

CultureLink has the opportunity to provide training sessions to those women and give them another chance to be more active and smoothly settled within their new home.

The idea of the drama program also focuses on communication skills through working with individuals in a group in an attempt to restore or reconstruct their social roles, individuality and collective identity. As you know, during wars and disasters, people are exposed to various types of loss, like the loss of their loved ones, homes, jobs, and most importantly their role as people with a certain social status, so such kind of training provided by CultureLink, plays a very crucial role in the women’s lives.

At Last, it was a very wonderful experience for the Syrian Women to have such training sessions where the core of all our activities is concentrated on releasing trauma, developing the women’s confidence and independence.