I appreciate all you are doing to support newcomers and I hope…to be able to help your program.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been new – the new student at school, the first day on a new job, a new parent. We know how it feels to not know anyone, to have to learn how things work, to figure out where we belong – we’ve had to get over that initial fear, awkwardness and insecurity.
Newcomers to Canada face so many additional barriers that most people born and raised here can never imagine – being removed from friends and family, not knowing the basics that help us get around, and not understanding the signs and instructions that are meant to help us. NYCH works with newcomers and the larger community to remove these barriers so everyone can contribute to their community and reach their goals.
At NYCH, our goal is to help newcomers to make this as smooth and successful a process as possible in order to settle more quickly. One of the most effective ways to do this is to connect with newcomer families as they register their children in school – a top priority when coming to Canada.
NYCH’s SEPT program ensures that school is accessible to everyone. It helps newcomer youth and children to succeed academically and socially, while also supporting their parents. Over the last four years, the school settlement (SEPT) workers at NYCH have assisted over 20,000 newcomer parents and secondary students within the schools and summer libraries.
NYCH supports newcomers with their settlement process in many other ways as well: to learn and practice English, navigate the complex systems of health care and immigration, find housing – all the important first steps it takes to feel at home in a new community.
Settlement isn’t a one-way process; part of sustaining a welcoming community for newcomers is ensuring that school and library staff, long-time residents, local businesses and others understand these challenges in order to create more welcoming and supportive schools, workplaces, and neighbourhoods. One of our priorities at NYCH is continuing this education process in the community.