At YMCA, all people, regardless of race, age, gender, background or financial circumstance are welcome. Part of our commitment to helping strengthen foundation of community and providing equal access to all is working with newcomers to Canada—ensuring people have the tools and support systems in place to help them succeed.
The best way for a newcomer to succeed and positively integrate into a new, and sometimes overwhelming, culture is to have support in key areas:
- acquiring skills for entering the job market and financial literacy
- establishing social networks and connecting with community resources
- adapting to aspects of lifestyle and redefining cultural identity
- engaging in philanthropy and global initiatives
YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP)
YMAP works with over 320 high school youth and young adults each year who are new to Canada. These youth are refugees, immigrants, international students and second generation Canadians from over 50 different countries.
We engage these youth through weekly after-school sessions and special events. YMAP youth have the opportunity to develop in all areas essential to a positive and healthy integration into Canada while maintaining and celebrating their culture of origin. They also are engaged in community work through volunteer and fundraising projects throughout the city.
If you are, or know of, a young person new to Canadian culture connect with Jill Harbour, YMAP Director at 403-241-4605
YMCA Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)
YMCA Calgary offers English language classes for newcomers to Canada at our Shawnessy, Saddletowne and South Health Campus branches.
LINC focuses on improving communication by developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. We offer a variety levels in full-time and part-time classes during the day and in the evenings. Classes focus on themes relevant to newcomers such as Canadian culture, banking, community services, education, family, and getting around the city. Participants also take field trips, learn computer skills, volunteer, and participate in health and wellness activities as offered by YMCA Calgary.
The goal of the LINC program is to help newcomers gain confidence and integrate into a healthy life in Canada, while still celebrating their country of origin.
LINC is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and therefore free of charge for those who qualify. Those 18 years of age and over with permanent resident, convention refugee, or protected person status are eligible for the LINC program. Prior to starting LINC classes, students must complete a language assessment through Immigrant Services Calgary’s Immigrant Language and Vocational Assessment – Referral Centre (ILVARC).
To find out more about LINC contact the Priscilla Lee at 403-537-2714.
View other Community YMCA programs