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Invitation to Belonging

"Invitation to Belonging is a youth-led program offering a safe and meaningful space for newcomer youth and parents to explore community engagement and available resources. Guest speakers and mentors provide seminars, career advice, mental health awareness, and youth-friendly community engagement insights. Embracing one's culture and self-discovery are encouraged through group discussions and sharing community resources to address local barriers. The program's youth-led component, 'Youth in Action,' empowers participants to lead and expand on guest speakers' knowledge. Additionally, intergenerational activities foster engagement with parents. After a successful run, the program is expanding to the City of Waterloo, ensuring more newcomer youth can participate and benefit."

This group first reached out to the Youth Creativity Fund in 2022 after partnering with Volunteer Waterloo Region to bring a newcomer program for youth to life.

"Our idea is to create a safe space for newcomers youth and parents. We want to create a place that gives them opportunities to succeed in well as have a space for newcomers to embrace their culture through activities. Mental health is also an important topic we want to address through learning from guest speakers." - Eyshah

After their first sessions, they shared that they are most proud of seeing the connections being built, the participants working on their skills such as communication, and seeing the participants actually enjoying the program.

Another group has since applied and received funding for Invitation for Belonging to continue in the fall of 2023.