Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW) at Jarvis C.I. with the Canadian



Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW) at Jarvis C.I. with the Canadian
Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW)
at Jarvis C.I. with the Canadian Minister of Immigration the Honourable
Chris Alexander
Inside this issue:
Newcomer Orientation Week
at Jarvis with the Canadian
Minister of Immigration the
Honorable Chris Alexander
Poem for the Canadian Minis- 2
Jarvis Collegiate held a successful NOW program ter of Immigration the Honorable Chris Alexander
during the last week of August with the help of school
peer leaders and settlement workers Barbora Gomezova, Summer Camp Amici
Maria Guiao and Alasis Mohamed. Newcomer students
I Love Wenonah (Camp Amici)
Newcomer Orientation Week
who were beginning high school at Jarvis had the oppor- Celebrating Seven Years and
tunity to learn about the school and about completing
high school in Ontario. Students went on a timed scaven-
Bike to School
ger hunt to locate the gymnasiums, cafeteria and other The Value of Culturelink to our 6
school facilities, with the team coming in first receiving a
sweet surprise. On the second day of the program students had the privilege of meeting the Canadian
Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, the Honourable Chris Alexander. Alexander was welcomed
by the students with a card and a poem written and
delivered by one of the peer leaders. On the last
day of the program the students were given a certificate for their participation and were acknowledged
by the Jarvis school principal, Mr. Michael Harvey
and the program manager Lisa Randall at the graduation ceremony. The program ended on a joyous
note with an abundance of smiles, dancing and
Ibrahim Absiye, Executive Director of CultureLink and
Honourable Chris Alexander
Poem for the Canadian Minister of Immigration
the Honourable Chris Alexander
By Priya Saha, Jarvis
C.I. grade 11
We come from many nations,
We speak many languages,
We dress in many different styles & we have different values
But we come together as one in this bright nation,
Where our cultures unite together as one, forming the bonds of the
nation we call home, Canada.
Amazing Summer Camp
Experiences with Amici
Lisa Randall
Last year, Settlement Workers in School
began a new partnership with Amici Charities.
Amici provides two weeks of supported summer
camp opportunities to newcomer youth. This
partnership aims to get young teens involved in summer camp at around 11 years old and
continue supporting them in this terrific outdoor experience until they become leaders in training themselves and graduate from high school. Those youth who are really keen could go on
to become camp counsellors or pursue a future with outdoor education. Our partnership began as a way to provide summer camp to newcomer youth who would love to try out summer
camp and experience what it has to offer: swimming, team-building games, bunk-style lodgings, making new friends from all over Ontario, shared meals, outdoor land and water sports
such as canoeing and kayaking, Leadership in Training and much more. Initially, CultureLink
was provided 10 camp spots but this number rose to 17 when the youth expressed such a
strong interest from five of our regular service SWIS schools! Please see the testimonial below about some memory-making experiences at camp this summer!!
I Love Wenonah (Camp Amici)
Tenzin Woeser
Grade 7, Queen Victoria Public School
Since the day I came to Wenonah I knew I was going to
have a good time, and I did. I can’t thank the people there
enough, they helped me through all the obstacles I had and I am
grateful because of that. If I had to rate Wenonah I would rate it
100 our of 10 in other words unimaginably awesome!
I also made friends there that I will remember for the rest
of my life, at first I was actually scared that others in my cabin
might not be friendly, but after the first day I found out that they
were some of the nicest people I have ever met. I really enjoyed
the outdoor activities like kayaking. I thought I would never do that sport in my life but I did it
and got a level 2 while doing it. I can’t express how much I love Wenonah, the two week
there actually felt like a year that that is how much Wenonah grew on me. I can’t stress
enough how thankful I am for Wenonah being so amazing. I love Wenonah and I would love
to come back next year.
Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW)
Celebrating seven Years and Counting
Constance Kendall
What began seven years ago as a pilot program at Central Technical School, is now a well-acclaimed
program funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW) helps newcomer
students adjust to their new life in Canada, their school and community.
A key feature of the NOW program is the role Peer Leaders play in the lives of other newcomer youth. As newcomers themselves in recent years the Peer Leaders are able to share their experiences and leadership skills learnt
through the intensive NOW Peer Leader training program that takes place one week before the NOW Program.
In seven years this program has involved 11 high schools from the TDSB and the TCDSB in the south west area
of Toronto and impacted over 200 students who have participated in the Peer Leader training program. Another
100 students have gained valuable volunteer experience and were able to attain their 40 hours of community service required for high school graduation. Along with the participants and volunteers, a total of about 600 newcomer students have benefitted from this important partnership program.
Graduate Peer Leaders have gained valuable experiences in leadership which has led to their social and academic
success. Peer leaders have been elected to roles such as president and vice president of the school council, leaders in Spirit Week activities, YMCA exchange participants and Duke of Edinburgh Gold level Leaders. Many
have been successful in their studies and have moved on to post secondary institutions and professional careers.
Through the NOW program Settlement Workers in Schools are able to impact the lives of many newcomer students in our schools, but the impact is far reaching. Some benefits of this program can be seen in the here and
now but none of us could envision the far reaching impact of NOW. We could only imagine!!!
NOW schools have included : Archbishop Romero, Bishop Allen, St. Mary’s
, Bishop Marrocco /
Thomas Merton,
Harbord CI, Jarvis CI, Central Technical School
Toronto Academy (Central Commerce), George Harvey, Parkdale CI, St Joseph's College
St Mary’s NOW Peer Leaders
Bike to School Day
Kristin Schwartz
Newcomer students were active participants in CultureLink’s cycling programs throughout
this summer and fall. Ten students and one parent at Greenwood Secondary School, Toronto’s allESL high school, registered for our summer Bike Host program. In Bike Host, volunteer cycling mentors are matched up with newcomers in small groups, to practice their communication skills, learn
about civic engagement, and explore Toronto by bike. Participants who don’t own a bike of their own
can borrow one from the program, along with a helmet and lock, making the program accessible.
Many used their bikes daily for travelling to work or summer school. “Before joining Bike Host, I wasn’t really passionate about bicycles. I wanted to meet new people, see new places, and learn more
English,” one student told us. “It wasn’t until I started riding a bicycle to get places that I realized how
much it helps. I saw how much quicker it was to get to work with a bicycle instead of the TTC. It
would take 30 to 40 minutes by TTC, and only 15 minutes by bike. My way to work is really nice because there’s a trail for most of the trip. Now that I know how much time and money I save by biking, I want to buy one myself.”
With the new school year, our focus shifted to supporting after-school bike clubs and delivering in-class cycling education, beginning with a workshop at the NOW program at Central Toronto
Academy (CTA – recently renamed from Central Commerce Collegiate). The school’s bike club is coled by an ESL teacher, ensuring good participant from newcomer students. SWIS team members
have also been referring students to the clubs at Harbord Collegiate and Jarvis Collegiate, and
Greenwood has established a new club this year. Additionally, we’ve been welcomed to ESL and PE
classrooms, enabling us to reach 370 students with cycling education programs, indoor and outdoor,
since school began. For most students, this was the first time that they have had any instruction
about rules of the road and safety tips. We expect that increased knowledge and improved skills will
make them more confident, safe and respectful of other road users – whether they are walking, riding
or driving.
Central Technical Academy Bike Club – First Ride of the School Year
The Value of CultureLink to our Communities
Peace and Hope,
Steve De Quintal
As I enter into my 17th year of teaching, I have seen a lot of partnerships come and
go. One that I’m very pleased to see still going strong is our school’s partnership with CultureLink. Since the program first came to the school some years ago, I was in awe of the
support that they were able to provide to our newcomers. It was of great comfort to know
that there would be an extra caring adult in the building whose purpose was to look after and
support those new to Canada. Right from the start the program made a significant difference
to students as they had someone they could talk to and who had the time to help them. Our
schools can be very, very busy places so the blessing of having someone strictly designated
to support newcomers made a big difference.
Today, the program continues to flourish and continues to meet the needs of our newcomers. I hope and pray that the partnership will continue for many years to come as we will
always have newcomers and again, it is wonderful to have someone with the skills and the
commitment to help our new students as they make the transition to their new lives in Canada.
Thank you CultureLink for the difference you continue to make to so many.
Newsletter Editor: Lisa Randall , Program Manager SWIS
Design & layout: Rubina Afsar, Marianella Quintana
Contributor: Barbora Gomezova, Priya Saha, Tenzin Woeser, Constance Kendall, Steve
de Quintal, Lisa Randall
Contribution to the SWIS newsletter, are always welcome. Please send to:
[email protected]
[email protected]
CultureLink Settlement Services, SWIS
2340 Dundas Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, ON M6P 4A9
Phone: 416-588-6288