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Newcomer youth builds skills, connections, and confidence

28 June 2019 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
At 17, Nada Albarada has faced more than her fair share of challenges. The first was leaving the ongoing conflict in Syria behind with her family in 2016.

When she first arrived in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park community, Nada conquered another challenge: learning English. It helped her connect with students at her high school, who told her about the local YMCA’s Newcomer Youth Leadership Development (NYLD) program. Here, newcomer and refugee youth settle, connect, engage, give back, and discover their skills and abilities.

New friends, skills, and experiences

At the Y, Nada has made new friends, learned more about her new culture, and started giving back, logging hundreds of volunteer hours. Thanks to the support and encouragement of Y staff, Nada has also discovered a love of writing, which has been an outlet for coping with the experiences she’s had. Nada’s writing has allowed her to connect with other youth and discover her leadership abilities. For example, she organized a “kindness project,” where she gave letters of gratitude to staff at a local shopping centre. It was a way for Nada to spread good in her community and let others know they matter.

Developing leadership abilities

Next, Nada applied for the NYLD internship program, and landed the role as the first East York NYLD Mentor — a role that allows her to make a difference in the lives of other newcomer youth. Nada explains: “I want to show the world how the Y has helped me become who I am today.”

Today, Nada knows she can tackle any challenge—including her dream of becoming a lawyer or doctor.

Help more young people reach their full potential

If it’s not already obvious, Nada is no ordinary teenager. And she’s becoming an extraordinary young leader with support from just a few of the YMCA’s many life-changing programs.

To run these programs, we rely on the generosity of donors. With your support, the YMCA can help more young people like Nada feel part of their community, build new skills, and reach their full potential.

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