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Bringing more sunshine to newcomers to the community

The not-for-profit organization Bring on the Sunshine will be hosting their first event in Elmira Saturday at the WMC. Pictured are: Anthony Ziyenge, DJ Carroll, Haddie Towns, Finn Towns, Remiah Towns and Alice Penny. [Aneta Rebiszewski]

The weather just now is not the only thing that can feel colder to newcomers, especially as they settle in to smaller communities such as those in the townships. For the organizers of a multicultural event in Elmira, a night filled with music and art is an ideal way for new and established neighbours to get to know each other.

The Saturday evening (November 9) outing is the work of the not-for-profit group Bring on the Sunshine. The event will focus on newcomers of the community who might not know what is being offered in the area.

“We want to bring people together, people who may feel like they don’t fit in to the typical Elmira setting. To get people to connect and to feel more at home here,” said the director of the organization, Alice Penny.

There will be a lot of things to do for everyone, she says, from an art exhibit to a crafts table for children to enjoy. The exhibition will showcase Elmira-based visual artist Jacqui Terry-Carroll. Another visual artist, Jennifer Horst, will be displaying some of her recent acrylic art for the community to see. Alongside the two artist will be African-Canadian photographer Dalmain Jones, who will display some of his photographic works.

Beyond the artwork, there will be musical performers playing throughout the night, from an acoustic set to a live drummer. There will also be refreshments to enjoy.

“All you have to do is show up,” noted Penny, with a laugh.

An event like this allows people who are new to the community to find a place for themselves while getting to interact with the people who live here, she explained.

“Both of my kids have struggled to fit in when I first moved here, so we wanted to do this as a way to bridge that gap,” said Penny. “I’m hopeful that all those people that would be in similar situations would come out and also people who have been here forever.”

In a smaller community like Elmira, sometimes people feel forgotten, Penny noted in comparison to the city, where there is more diversity and people trying to include each other. The organization hopes that people will take the time to welcome new members and create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

“It’s important to have events like this to say, ‘at the end of the day, we’re all people.’”

The event is in its first year but the organization is hoping this will allow them to do more fun events in the future, explains Penny. For some it’s a culture shock when you first move to Elmira and people are looking for opportunities Penny says. “It’s almost like when people already have their circle, they’re not really looking outside.  This would be an opportunity to bridge those gaps between people.”Everyone is welcome to come to the event that will be taking place on November 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the WMC in Elmira. More information can be found by emailing info@bringonthesunshine.ca.

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