About one quarter of the refugees served by Reception House are high school aged youth. While adolescence can be a turbulent time for anyone, refugee youth face a number of challenges that their Canadian peers do not. After arriving in Canada, refugee youth often struggle to learn a new language, navigate a new educational system, make new friends, and balance the sometimes conflicting cultural expectations of parents, new Canadian peers, and a new educational system. In addition, refugee youth, whose pre-immigration experiences often involve trauma, frequently face many mental health issues – ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to higher levels of depression complicated by the socio-economic and cultural challenges of resettlement.
According to youth who participated in the GAR Youth Project, there are five main challenges facing GAR Youth including:
- Making New Friends
- Learning English
- Finding Assistance with Homework Assignments
- Language Barriers
- Access to Transportation
Based on the above consultations, CSS has started a Homework Club (Monday/Wednesday evenings during the school year), as well as a peer mentoring program.