Learning to live in a strange new country is a challenge. And it can be even more challenging if you’re trying to navigate school, teenage friends, finding your first job and more.

Our Youth Program helps young newcomers settle and integrate in Ottawa by offering a variety of workshops, seminars, fun activities and one-on-one support.

Emmanuel recently joined the CCI Ottawa Youth Program. Here’s your opportunity to meet Emmanuel.

Q. What do you do in the Youth Program?

A. I organize and coordinate athletic and recreational events for young newcomers and I offer support counselling to the youths.

Q. What are some of the challenges young newcomers face when they first come to Canada?

A. The challenges faced by newcomer youth vary. There can be culture shock, language barriers if they come from non-speaking English or French countries. They have to adapt sometimes to a change in social behaviours, beliefs and values. Climate change in Canada is also making settlement for newcomer youths a little challenging. Resources for the young LGBTQ2+ immigrant community are limited and they have limited experience with resources or even acceptance in their home country.

Q. How does a recreational activity like the Youth Soccer Program help young newcomers?

A. Soccer improves social interaction and networking in the newcomer community. It is also an opportunity for low-income youth to participate in an organised soccer league free of charge.

One of the things unique about our program is our partnership with the Ottawa Police Service. This is a very important partnership. Many immigrant youths come from societies with high rates of police violence and so they tend to shy away from any police presence or reporting to the police. Through our partnership, we have police officers acting as mentors to the players. This helps foster a positive relationship between the police and the newcomer youth community.

Q. What’s the one thing you would like Canadians to know about newcomers in general?

A. Newcomers are people with skills and families who need help understanding a new culture and way of life.