Syrian girl smiling

“In Syria, we don’t do Halloween,” says a smiling girl who attended an “Autumn Celebration” event hosted by the YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario. The event, which was open to the public, was primarily aimed at introducing newcomer children and their families to some of the cultural celebrations observed in Canada during fall, including Halloween, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

This video, filmed by CogecoTV in Sarnia, tells the story best. “The whole day was just celebrating inclusion and diversity. It was all about the children learning how diverse our community really is,” says Roxanne Gilroy-Machado, Supervisor of Newcomer Services for the Association. The YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario is one of several Member Associations featured in YMCA Canada’s special report, Canada’s YMCAs: Building Community for Syrian Refugees.