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Newcomer Youth at Aurora Winter Festival

Naadiya Sharmarke Youth News, Youth Zone

Youth In Arts is an after school program that offers art-related and community connections workshops. Youth in Action is a similar program with recreational and healthy-living activities. Both programs are aimed at newcomer and refugee youth. Through different approaches to social and cross-cultural integration, their goal is to facilitate the settlement and community engagement of their participants.

Isolation is a common outcome of immigration, and lots of newcomers face feelings of loneliness. This is especially true in the winter, as for most new Canadians it will come as a drastic change in weather and environment.  Furthermore, youth are more inclined to remain closed off from their peers as the schools close for the winter break.

In order to reduce the social isolation and further the establishment of strong peer and community relationships, the Youth in Arts and the Youth in Action program joint forces. Together, they took a group of Newcomer Youth to the Aurora Winter Festival at Ontario Place on Dec. 18th 2019.

The trip gave participants a chance to see and learn about the Canadian Winter Experience in Toronto. During the visit, the group had the opportunity to experience different holiday celebrations happening at throughout festival. They tried ice skating for the first time, drank hot chocolate and enjoyed the holiday songs that were being performed by various DJs and Bands.

“I had so much fun meeting new people and making friends, despite it being cold. It was fun!” – Diana Shishay, Youth in Arts Participant