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Empowering Newcomers with Archway Community Services

Posted on: June 7, 2024

The journey of immigration is filled with both challenges and opportunities. For newcomers to Canada, navigating a new country, culture, and language can be difficult. Among these challenges there is a network of support and empowerment. The NewToBC Library Champions Project works with libraries and immigrant serving organizations to connect newcomers to resources/services they need. Champions work on communication skills, meet people from diverse cultures who have shared experiences, and create meaningful connections within communities. As they reach out to fellow newcomers, Champions provide support to others by empowering newcomers with Archway Community Services.

Connecting Newcomers to Essential Services

Archway Community Services is a pillar immigrant organization in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Archway has been providing a comprehensive range of services to newcomers for more than 50 years. This helps them integrate into Canadian society. The NewToBC Team interviewed the following team members to share the services, programs, and mission of Archway Community Services. The following members shared their thoughts on this invaluable program:

  • Manpreet Grewal – Director of Multicultural & Immigrant Integration Services
  • Donna Lo – Associate Director of Pathways to Integration for Immigrants & Refugees
  • Paula Mannington – Associate Director of Language Services, Learning & Development

In Their Words


“Archway Community Services is the key immigrant serving agency in the Fraser Valley. It has been providing a full range of services to newcomers for over five decades. Our comprehensive range of services include orientation in individuals’ native languages, EAL (English as an Additional Language) instruction, facilitating connections between community volunteer hosts and newcomers, and aiding in employment acquisition, including navigating credential evaluations. With a diverse, multilingual team, we deliver our services in multiple languages. Our in-house Interpretation and Translation Services department offers translation support in over 70 languages, ensuring accessibility for all.”

“Archway enhances our capabilities by staying connected to established communities. We recruit individuals with linguistic and cultural proficiencies to cater to the needs of newcomers. Over the years, we’ve employed a diverse range of approaches. At certain points, we initiated services voluntarily. In the late nineties, we assisted Spanish-speaking claimants from Honduras and Nicaragua on a voluntary basis. We eventually secured government funding to expand these services.”


“As our community expands, there’s a pressing need for more resources across various domains. Our newcomers face diverse challenges. From securing affordable housing to accessing essential services like food, employment assistance, language education, and healthcare. Many newcomers also require assistance in navigating intricate systems such as Service Canada and other government services. Also school enrollment for their children, insurance, and much more. Additionally, there’s a general need for increased resources to cope with the rising cost of living.”


“We have been actively promoting the Library Champions Project to newcomers since 2016. Many of our clients have volunteered successfully with the project.”

“A Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) CLB 7/8 class participated in the project at Clearbrook Library.
The collaboration between staff and the local library enriched LINC classroom activities. It fostered the development of new communication, presentation, and outreach skills among learners.

Following the training, these LINC students became Library Champions. This promoted reading, libraries, our annual Community Reading Challenge, and Family Literacy Day event to newcomers in our community. Some learners volunteered to serve as panelists for Community Settlement Dialogues for Newcomers, Libraries, and Service Providers. They later expressed pride and deep gratitude for the opportunity.”

Stories of Transformation

There are many stories of immigrants who have been helped by Archway Community Services.
They are a testament to the work they do to help newcomers integrate in the Fraser Valley:

  • Oksana: Finding solace in Archway’s support, Oksana and her husband navigated the complexities of relocation. They were able to enroll their children in school and seek employment opportunities.
  • Khesraw: Forced to flee Afghanistan, Khesraw found Archway Community Services and received guidance. He was able to create a brighter future for his family in Canada.
  • Abhitha: Overcoming language barriers, Abhitha found her voice through Archway’s Language Instruction for Newcomers program. Her confidence increased and she was admitted to a post-secondary education program.
  • Mohammad: From seeking housing assistance to establishing a thriving business, Mohammad Ali’s journey outlines the resourcefulness of Archway’s community connections.

Embracing New Beginnings

Archway Community Services supports, empowers, and creates belonging for newcomers to the Fraser Valley. Through initiatives like the NewToBC Library Champions Project, they bridge the gap between newcomers and essential services. They also help build resiliency and connection. With the right supports, immigration can be successfully transformative. We are grateful for our partnership enabling Empowering Newcomers with Archway Community Services.