This blog was written by Matthew Ritchie, Community Integrationist at YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For over 25 years the YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs has been supporting the unique settlement needs of children and youth as they make the adjustment of moving to a new country, new community, and new school. We offer programs and services that support these needs in schools and communities across Nova Scotia.
We know it’s important for children and youth to have positive settlement experiences because they are at an important stage of their social development. Some of the challenges can be language barriers, bullying, isolation, culture shock, missing family and friends, balancing home culture and Canadian culture, changing family roles and dynamics.
When looking for information or support, newcomer families often connect with the YMCA in Halifax and in smaller communities across the province. If you are a newcomer family who will be moving to Nova Scotia, we are here for you!
In Nova Scotia, the YMCA School Settlement Program is a valuable resource for newcomer families as they navigate their children’s schools. Since 1992, this program has been a valuable resource for newcomer families; with staff onsite at over 35 schools. Our staff provide practical assistance for newcomer children, youth, and families.
Our multi-lingual staff are connectors and work collaboratively with school administration, teachers, and school staff to ensure that newcomer families are connected to the school and that newcomer children and youth have pathways for support should they need it. Services include school orientation, home liaison, academic support, and referrals to school-based and community-based programs and activities.
We recognize that moving to a new country can be especially difficult for youth/teens so we have developed a specific program that takes place after school and on weekends for newcomers aged 13-18. The Youth Outreach Program connects youth with other newcomer youth and the broader community. Newcomer youth are able to make new friends, volunteer, develop leadership skills, and learn about their new community.
Activities are held several times each week throughout the year, with more frequent activities throughout the summer and school holidays. We tailor our activities to the interests of youth; whether dance or kayaking, soccer or art, cooking or ice skating!
These are two examples of our programs that support children and youth and we have many more. From our Girl Guides group for newcomer girls, to our family field trips like our famous apple picking trip to the Annapolis Valley; we look forward to connecting you with opportunities in your new home.
For more information on YMCA Immigrant Services in Nova Scotia, please visit www.ymcahfx.ca/immigrant-programs
E-mail inquiries can be sent to [email protected].
We look forward to meeting you and thanks for reading!