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Over the last 3 years Reception House and Community Justice Initiatives have partnered to deliver an innovative program that integrates newcomer and Canadian youth aged 12-25 years old. New Canadian Youth Connections (NCYC), funded by an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant, creates community and support networks between refugee and Canadian youth through activities like a homework club, art classes, and social gatherings. Over 90 youth have participated in the program since it began in 2019. 

NCYC activities include the Homework club, bowling, skating, sports, exploring the region on foot, navigating the GRT, visiting the library and cooking classes. Other fun activities include Art with Pamela. Using different mediums like pens, water colour and acrylic paint, recycled paper, wood, cardboard, reusable bags and ornaments, NCYC youth explore these mediums and explore their creativity. 

We see firsthand how passionate youth who arrive in Canada want to integrate and make friends and build community. NCYC provides opportunity to socially integrate newcomers and Canadian youth, while exploring our region and joining in fun and social activities. While participating in activities such as the Homework Club, newcomer youth develop English language skills, create peer networks, and mitigate barriers they may experience while navigating new systems in Canada. 

NCYC youth shared this with us about the impact of this program on their life: 

“I have made some friends at the program but mostly the homework club was very important to my success. I see the program like a bridge, the program helped us transition to a new environment and new phase in our life.” 

“Everyone was very helpful. Some staff were able to help me outside of program hours, [which] I really appreciate.” 

“[the staff] are great at building relationships with us and making us feel important.” 

“The staff and volunteers helped with not just the schoolwork part, but with all the little things like OSAP, planning my school schedule.” 

NCYC staff regularly see the deep impact of this program. Recently a staff member shared this about the impact of the program. “NCYC is important because plays a major role to help newcomer youth get integrated into their new community. For many of them, this is the program that they first participate in Canada to not just develop friendships, but learn the language; where they can shop; and get answers about the school system, which is very important to teen coming to a new community and are concerns about their education and future.”  

 

We thank youth who shared their feedback with NCYC, CJI and Reception House staff. To support Youth Programs at Reception House, please visit our secure online donation page and select Children and Youth Programming. Please select Children and Youth Programming from the drop-down menu.