COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Sharon Huang, centre, an interpreter with Westman Immigrant Services, chats with mother Xiaju Chuan, daughter Huiya Qian and father Junwei Yu as they get information on karate classes from instructor Richard Wharf at Assiniboine Community College on Saturday. The group was taking part in the Newcomers Physical Activity Expo, which offered recent immigrants information on outlets for physical fitness in Brandon.
Some of Brandon’s newest families attended the Newcomers Physical Activity Expo at the Assiniboine Community College gym on Saturday.
Several of the families sat at the back of the gym and watched the half hour demonstrations, while others sought information from the tables set up by various activity groups in Brandon, including dance, karate, swimming, judo, boxing, taekwondo and fencing.
Lisa Park, vice-chair for the Healthy Brandon in Motion committee, said they had a path planning event in January and decided one of their goals for the year would be to get more information about organized physical activity to some of the city’s newest citizens.
"The idea is to give parents that are new to Canada and new to Brandon information about the different physical activities they can get their children involved in," Park said.
Melanie Hellyer, Healthy Living facilitator with the Western Regional Health Authority, said an important aspect of the event was the combination of the provincial funding agency KidSport and the Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Amharic and Hindi translators who could help participants apply for financial assistance for the organized activities.
Tending the KidSport table was volunteer Trina Bandura, who said eligible families can receive up to $300 a year per child to help with the cost of the programs.
Carlos Coreas, originally from El Salvador, was at the expo with his wife and two daughters. He said the event was helpful for him to understand what was available for his kids in Brandon.
"My little one I think will be more into a fighting sport, like judo or something. The older one might like the dancing more," Coreas said.
Speaking through a translator, Peter Yu, who is originally from China, said the expo should become an annual event. His six-year-old daughter was hoping to sign up for a swimming program.
Amateur boxer T.J. Flett, who was helping with the boxing demonstration, said he hopes there were future boxers at the event.
"This is good exposure for the club and it’s also good for the kids to see what Brandon has to offer," Flett said.
John Bernal, originally from Colombia, was at the event with his wife and six-year-old son.
He said the event is a good idea.
"When I first came to Canada, I didn’t know any English so the translator here definitely would have helped me," Bernal said.
The Newcomers Physical Activity Expo was sponsored by Westman Immigrant Services, Assiniboine Community College, KidSport, the City of Brandon, UFCW Local 832 and the Canadian Red Cross.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 10, 2012