More media for Islanders by Choice Alliance

Today our group received more exposure via some radio interviews on CBC.  In addition we have a story on the CBC Canada News website as well.  We are hoping to get copies of the radio interviews to share here soon.

From CBC Canada News:

The creators of a new internet group on P.E.I. that helps newcomers get comfortable on the Island say requests for membership are booming.

The Islanders by Choice Alliance formed last month.

Most Islanders are familiar with the term CFA, or “come from away,” to describe a resident who wasn’t born in this province, according to the group.

Group members said they want to replace this expression with IBC, or “Islander by choice,” to describe anyone who was born on the Island or moves to the Island.

So far, more than 220 people have joined the Facebook group, and just as many on Twitter.

Heather Wilson, one of the creators, said about a third of her members are people born on the Island, trying to help those “from away” settle in.

“It’s crazy the number of people that are interested in the group, bringing down the invisible barrier that is often seen between people from away and born Islanders, and to help them with new homes, resources, such as finding doctors or jobs or partners for their golf team,” Wilson said.

The Alliance is having its first meeting Monday night at the Old Triangle in Charlottetown.

More than 60 people are already signed up.

The group plans to become a not-for-profit organization and already has major events planned for the summer.


We were in the Journal Pioneer today!

From the Journal Pioneer:

If you’re an Islander, you’re probably familiar with the term CFA, or “come from away” to describe someone who wasn’t born in this province.

But there’s a new term that may soon replace it: IBC, or “Islander by choice.”

Carol O’Hanley, co-chair of the Islanders By Choice Alliance, says IBCs are anyone who lives on P.E.I., whether they were born here or not.

The alliance has become a rapidly-growing movement on the online social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

It began when O’Hanley and her co-chair Heather Wilson discovered many newcomers to the province often find it difficult to make lasting relationships with native Islanders.

“I was really surprised by the response I got on Twitter from people who said, ‘Actually that’s the truth.’ Either they knew someone, or they live here themselves, and they had run into obstacles when they came here,” said O’Hanley.

“People find it hard to break into communities because most people are just too tied up with their families or they’ve had friends that they’ve known forever. It’s not that they intentionally block people out, it’s just that they’re so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t think to include other people.”

The Islanders By Choice Alliance is intended to be a “support group” of Islanders helping newcomers to feel more welcome.

In a few short months, the group has amassed hundreds of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

The organizers thought Monday – Islander Day – would be the perfect time to hold the group’s first meet and greet in Charlottetown. O’Hanley promises similar events in Western P.E.I. soon.

“We have huge plans for this group. We have a director in (Prince County) and we’re looking for one in the east end because we want this to be Island wide,” she said.

The alliance will operate as a non-profit, and the board of directors will soon set out its mandate. The IBCA plans to meet with as many potential partners as possible in the coming months, including the provincial government.

O’Hanley said most Islanders she’s talked to aren’t surprised that CFAs often have a difficult time fitting in, and she suspects people from larger areas have more social venues to meet like-minded people.

But if the alliance has its way, many new networks will grow out of the Islanders By Choice initiative.

“During the summer, we plan to have events in each county in the same month. We also hope to form smaller groups and have them be their own entities, like book clubs or dinner clubs, and we’ll organize it and let them run it on their own,” said O’Hanley. “It’s really to put a face to those people we’ve been talking to on Facebook, because everyone’s really anxious to meet the people they’ve been making connections with on there.”

The group’s first meet and greet takes place from 7 to 10 p.m., upstairs at the Old Triangle restaurant in Charlottetown.

Find the group on Twitter @IslandersBCA, on Facebook, or visit the website:

IBCA’s interview on CBC’s Mainstreet – listen here!

Last week our Co-chairs: Carol O’Hanley and Heather Wilson were interviewed on CBC’s radio show Mainstreet by Karen Mair about our efforts through the Islanders by Choice Alliance.  In case you missed it – we have posted it below for you to listen to.

Islanders By Choice Radio Interview

Just click and you should be able to listen using any program that works with MP3 files (i.e. iTunes, Real Player etc)

Special thanks to Karen Mair and Mainstreet for  sending us this copy to share!

How you can be part of our efforts!

Wow!!  We are very pleased to see so many people that are interested in learning more about the Islanders by Choice Alliance.  Truth be told, we are almost a bit overwhelmed with the level of interest in our efforts!   It is very exciting and our Executive our working hard to ensure we get as much information out there as possible.  Clearly many people like the concept of an alliance that is dedicated to creating social and networking opportunities for everyone – Islanders and Islanders by Choice!

Here Are Some Ways To Connect With The Islanders by Choice Alliance

1.  Follow us on Twitter – We will be tweeting regular updates about our plans and efforts as we move forward!

2.  Ask to join our group on Facebook.  Please note that you need to have an account on Facebook in order to do this.  Simply search for our group – Islanders by Choice Alliance and submit a request to join.  Once you have been accepted to the group you are free to invite others to join as well.

3.  Visit our blog on a regular basis. We will be working to ensure it is updated as often as possible and to keep all of the comments flowing.  We are still in the early stages of developing things so there will likely be more developed on this site over the next while.

4.  Join many of us at the next PEI Tweetup on February 4th, 2011.  This is an event that happens three times per year and connects PEI’s Twitter community face to face.  The Islander by Choice Alliance developed because of a discussion that happened on Twitter about the issues that IBC’s face when they come to live on PEI.  Given this, the PEI Tweetup is a great place to meet many of the people who are involved with this initiative!  It is a very open and welcoming event!

5. Plan to attend our first networking event for the Islanders by Choice Alliance! We are working to put together our first event for everyone (Islanders and IBC’s) to attend.  We will post more information on this soon so stay tuned!!

6.  Add yourself to our new Google Map showing where in the world you are.  You can be already living on the Island or dreaming of moving to the Island some day.  Simply click on the Edit button and then locate where you live on the map.  Then click on the “Add a Placemark” button on the top left corner of the map section.  You will then be able to write in details about yourself!

We were in the news this week!

Islanders by Choice Alliance has had a great week!  Our Co-Chairs Carol O’Hanley/Heather Wilson were interviewed on Mainstreet, CBC on January 19, 2011 and then on January 21, 2011 there was an online article about us on the CBC News!

A group called Islander by Choice Alliance has formed to help people who have moved to P.E.I. and are struggling to fit in.

The group’s founders say that while Islanders are friendly, it can be difficult for newcomers to land a job or make lasting friendships.

“Word of mouth is pretty much how you get a job on P.E.I., so if you don’t know anyone, it’s very, very difficult,” said co-chairwoman Heather Wilson.

“It’s hard to break through the networks people already have. A lot of people, I think, are tied up with their families and it’s not so much that they’re not friendly, but they just don’t have that opportunity.”

Wilson, who moved to the province from Ontario, experienced the challenge first hand and wants to help others.

“What we want to do is create the opportunities for people. I firmly believe that Islanders are friendly and aren’t realizing that they are shutting people out the way they are,” she said.

We are very pleased to receive this exposure about our group.  Our intention is to be very open and inviting.  We want to hear and learn more about the issues that people are facing as they adjust to life on the Island.  We are so excited about the opportunities that are opening up for networking among Islanders and Islanders by Choice!

Our new Facebook Group – Islander By Choice Alliance is open for all to join and we also now have set ourselves up on Twitter – @IslandersBCA.  Please check us out and stay tuned for more updates soon!