Newly arrived youth to Canada from 25 high schools in Scarborough and newcomer Syrian youth came together at a one-day Youth Forum on Aug 29, 2016, giving them an opportunity to break the ice, make new friends and find the supports needed to better integrate into the Canadian school system before the start of the school year in September.
All youth were participants of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada-funded Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW) organized every summer by the CCS Settlement Workers in School (SWIS) Program to provide orientation to newly-arrived high school students, and Syrian youth participants from the innovative CCS Summer Project that was successfully launched this year in response to concrete needs we identified from working with Syrian families.
In addition to creating an opportunity for dialogue between close to 200 newcomer youth, community organizations providing youth services set up information booths to introduce their services to the participants.
According to Salma Zahid, MP Scarborough Town Centre, Keynote speaker at the Forum: “It is important that we empower our youth, and the Youth Forum is a great event to bring our young leaders together and help arm them with the tools they need to turn their ideas and passion into action and build a better community for all of us. It is also great to see newcomer youth from Syria and elsewhere eager to make a lasting contribution to their new home.”