YMCA Newcomer Youth Programming

The YMCA has been a provider of settle services to newcomers since 1985 and has expanded to offer a broad spectrum of programs and services to immigrants and newcomers in Waterloo Region.

Newcomer Youth Boy

  • In 2000, the YMCA recognized the gap in addressing the needs of newcomer youth and developed Newcomer Youth programming and established Settlement Workers in Schools.
  • Funded by the YMCA, granters, and donors.
  • YMCA Newcomer Youth programs have served more than 4000 youth ages 6-17 years.
  • Programs are delivered in Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo.

YMCA Newcomer Youth Programming

Belonging is the Beginning: For youth new to Canada, fear and loneliness are everyday feelings.  Recognizing an authentic sense of belonging takes time through experiences and connections. The Newcomer Youth programming empowers youth who have recently arrived in Canada, with the knowledge and tools to successfully integrate and settle into Canadian socity.

Newcomer Youth Program (since 2000)

Are you new to Canada and between the ages of 6-21? Contact us to learn about how you can participate in our free program! 

Newcomer Theatre Project (since 2008)

Through a partnership with MT Space, this program offers an opportunity for newcomer youth to learn new skills in the performing arts, build new friendships, practice language skills and develop leadership skills.  The youth work together to share stories on themes of saying goodbye, adapting to a new culture, identity and belonging. 

Performances occur once in the fall, during March Break and in the spring.  The following schools are currently, or have been involved in the delivery of the program - Waterloo CI, Eastwood CI, Galt CI, Forest Heights, and St. Mary's. 

Newcomer Orientation Week, known as the NOW program (since 2009)

Girls smiling

Offered during the last two weeks of summer, this program supports newcomer students that have not yet been in high school in Canada.  NOW provides an orientation to school, tips for success, and an opportunity to make new friends through a Peer Mentorship model.

The following ELL magnet schools are involved in the delivery of the program - Waterloo CI, Eastwood CI, Galt CI, Forest Heights, and St. Mary's.

Newcomer Youth Pathway to Belonging (since 2015)

Through the support of the KW Community Foundation, this two year initiative is designed to empower newcomer youth by creating a strategic, coordinated pathway to grow as individuals and feel a sense of belonging that ultimately allows them to see the value of their contribution to the community.  

We do this by connecting with community organizations, school groups and newcomer communities to create experiences and make connections in the community that help foster a greater sense of belonging for newcomer youth. Do you want to work together on an initiative to create belonging for newcomer youth in our community? Do you think your program/service/community supports newcomer youth?

Contact our Community Development Specialist for more information.