14-01-2016

Photo: Terry Bridge, The Observer

Ys across the country continue to play an important role in supporting new Syrian families upon their arrival to Canada.

In one recent story, a Syrian family met with reporters at the YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario’s Learning and Career Centre in Sarnia. For another Syrian family in Kingston, the Y has already become a popular destination and resource, after the YMCA of Kingston provided free one-year memberships for each of the six family members. At the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford’s Newcomer Youth Centre, young people can share their cultural traditions and learn about others at weekly meetings that include traditional cultural foods, and the sharing of stories, artwork, skits or musical performances. In the Maritimes, YMCAs are providing a range of supports to help welcome new Syrian families to the East Coast.

At a YMCA homework club geared towards immigrant and refugee students, Fadi Hamdan helps new Canadian students, saying ““This is like a little bit of home now for them and hopefully in the future they will feel more comfortable and have more friends and have more established environment for them.”