Creating Welcoming Communities on World Kindness Day

“Céad míle fáilte” is a Gaelic expression frequently found in Cape Breton. It’s a popular greeting that means a hundred thousand welcomes!

Today is World Kindness Day – an initiative that was started by humanitarian groups in 1997, with a “pledge to join together to build a kinder and more compassionate world” (Days of the Year). It’s the many smaller acts of kindness that together help us build kinder communities. “However, pledging to commit just one act of kindness is no less worthwhile: hold the door open for a stranger, compliment your neighbor on their collection of garden gnomes, [or] let your partner have control of the TV remote for the evening” (Days of the Year).

There are many acts of kindness that we can each do to help newcomers in our communities. A group called The World in Burnaby assembled a list, “100+ Ways to Welcome: Ideas for Residents,” to help individuals understand what steps they can take to make immigrants and refugees feel more at home.

Here are the first 10 from their list:

  1. Throw a block party and get to know your neighbours! [Editorial note: Make sure to follow your local COVID-19 health guidelines.]
  2. Take the time to learn a newcomer’s name, and the proper way to pronounce it.
  3. Frequent a store run by an immigrant. You’re supporting local business and getting to know your community members!
  4. Challenge a racist joke, generalization or stereotype.
  5. Volunteer with a settlement organization.
  6. Show a newcomer around town or help them find the services they need.
  7. Use your community connections to help find a newcomer a job.
  8. Working or attending school with a newcomer? Take them out for coffee and make them feel welcome.
  9. Learn cultural references! “Thumbs up” might not mean “OK” to everyone!
  10. Start a group! A book club is a great way for everyone to improve language skills.

You can read more of their tips by downloading the list here. For more information on World Kindness Day, check out the Days of the Year website.