In 2016, 68% of the refugees we served were youth under 18 years of age. 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 conflicting cultural expectations. 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.
At Reception House, we provide a number of youth-focused programs and services to make this transition easier, including:
- Youth Case Management
- Youth tailored settlement plans
- Access to sports, leisure and homework help through our New Canadian Youth Connections (NCYC) Program in collaboration with CJI.
- Assistance with bus tickets when possible
- Peer Mentors through NCYC Circles Model
- Field trips and group outings
According to youth who participated in the Government Assisted Refugee (GAR) Youth Project, there are five main challenges facing GAR Youth :
- Making New Friends
- Learning English
- Finding Assistance with Homework Assignments
- Language Barriers
- Access to Transportation
Based on the above consultations, we have built responsive programming to assist, support and collaborate with partners on eliminating barriers for GAR youth.
Read about NCYC's first ever summer camp
The camp lays the foundation for the upcoming NCYC program year that begins this Fall. This summer camp experience introduced the youth to Canadian culture and social concepts in a safe and supportive environment. It also builds confidence, and shared experience with their Canadian born peers as they prepare to enter the Canadian school system.
Learn more about refugee youth experiences in this report prepared by the Centre for Community Based Research: https://projects.communitybasedresearch.ca/files/rjanzen/syrian_youth.pdf