Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth Afterschool Program

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Program Description

The Afterschool program provides immigrant and newcomer youth with skills and confidence to overcome language, cultural and social barriers to succeed in school, in relationships and in the community. Youth are educated on various topics: travelling via transit, dressing for winter, practicing English and understanding Canadian phrases, shopping for groceries, etc. Problem solving, conflict resolution, decision making, self-control and self-esteem are also taught and modeled through weekly lessons, group activities and field trips. Programs operate during critical after school hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. when youth may be unsupervised due to working parents. Research indicates that youth are most likely to engage in unsafe activities during this time. By hosting programs during this time, youth stay off the streets and spend time building skills to become community leaders. We deliver support right in schools, community libraries and housing complexes in neighbourhoods with the greatest need. 

Sponsor:

Calgary Bridge Foundation

Strategies for sustainability

CBFY is a non-profit agency that helps over 10,000 immigrant youth and families successfully integrate into Calgary each year.

Impact of program

Adolescence tends to be a vulnerable time for youth but newcomers face additional challenges as they try to settle into a new city, a new school and a community with new values. Some experience fear, sadness, loneliness, aggression and even depression. At CBFY, we empower children by teaching them valuable social, emotional, academic and life skills. Youth are exposed to local culture and norms as they make friends and get matched with mentors along the way. Our proactive approach integrates youth into Canada and Calgary so they can become contributing, caring members of society.

Key elements towards success

Our inclusive programs focus on familiarizing immigrants with Canadian culture and supporting their journey to becoming Canadians. We emphasize building knowledge of Canada and Calgary’s culture; active participation and integration within the local community; improved English language skills; development of personal, social and leadership skills; academic support and successful graduation from school. We host interactive class room discussions, team building activities and even field trips. We teach youth and families the basic of Canadian life – how to dress for Calgary’s winters, how to use public transportation, how to open a bank account, where to shop. Support is provided in a one-on-one and group setting. All our programs empower immigrants so they can succeed and give back to their new home—Canada

Challenges to meet them

Calgary continues to attract immigrants from around the world but once newcomers arrive, it’s easy to feel like a fish out of water. Many encounter numerous barriers that can significantly impact the rest of their lives. At CBFY, we help newcomers and permanent residents who struggle with integration years after moving to Canada.  Some struggle with language and culture. For many, simple tasks like shopping, travelling, driving and house hunting can become overwhelming. Research indicates that stresses associated with integrating into a new country often affect youth more than adults. Adolescence is known to be a vulnerable time and young newcomers can face additional challenges as they try to accommodate their parents, their own culture and Canada’s culture. Fitting into school, making friends, understanding school curriculum are hard to focus on  if children don’t feel like they belong. Our programs help kids from elementary to high school and from varying economic backgrounds. For over 20 years, we have watched young people and adults transform their lives with support from our programs. The road to building the next generation of Canadians starts with a small step and we are that first step for thousands in our city.

Length & stage of project

1990