Over 50% of the refugees we serve are under the age of 18. High school and adolescence can be a transitional time for anyone, but refugee youth experience unique and additional challenges related to learning a new language, navigating different cultural expectations, making new friends and adjusting to a different school system. The New Canadian Youth Connections (NCYC) Program is offered in collaboration with Community Justice Initiatives to offer informal supports that are important to reduce isolation and build a sense of belonging to the community. NCYC offers three nights of programming a week, including a homework club and Recreational Night component. The program builds connections between volunteers and refugee youth that helps break down barriers, share experiences and receive educational support. The increased interaction between new arrivals to Canada and the wider community helps refugee youth acquire language, meet positive and caring role models and gain access to leisure activities, sports and field trips.
For youth who have higher needs, volunteers are invited to form a “circle” of support, engaging youth outside of the NCYC program. The circle of support is based on the “Stride Model” established by CJI.
NCYC volunteers can commit to volunteering one night a week, or more frequently for a minimum 8 month duration. Volunteers are invited and encouraged to bring their unique skills to share with the youth.