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“My name is Lucia Camelo, and almost six years ago I left my native country Colombia with my son Nicolas and we became refugees. We left behind part of our hearts in my two other sons, family, friends, job, and the normal life that we knew. Six years ago, we started to live an incredible journey filled with miracles. In October 2015, we arrived in Canada with just one hundred dollars in our pockets and our entire life was inside a backpack. All we had was just one precious treasure: Faith and a positive attitude against adversity. At 51 years old, I started to think that I must learn a new language and start a new life over again. I started attending school for 3 years to learn English and I walked every single day to go to classes. I walked during all the seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer. I enjoyed this experience a lot because I had the opportunity to learn much more about my new country and community in Canada. Going to school everyday, I hoped to find more people who were able to connect me with the community and at my school, there was a person from the multicultural centre who was there every Wednesday ready to help newcomers. My counselor was amazing and she helped explain many things about my new life and introduced me to the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre. The staff at the Folk Arts welcomed me with open arms and to this day they are always ready to support me and many people like me.

I am a very creative person and some of my experiences in Colombia have helped me do some volunteering with the Folk Arts. I attend many activities there as they help me avoid loneliness and it is a great way to connect with others. I do activities with the 50+ group and I love teaching my crafts and using my language skills to help other newcomers as well. I am still trying to do my best to find a new path here in Canada and I know that the people at the multicultural centre will give me the best support that I can find. One important thing I would like to tell people is to have a positive attitude even in difficult times. Be Thankful!  Be kind!”

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