Newcomer Youth -- Welcome to the library!

December 24, 2014 | Suzanne

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Toronto Youth
   [Source: City of Toronto Youth Services]

Are you a youth who is new to Toronto? Maybe even new to Canada? There can be a lot to adjust to in your new home. Not only are you in a brand new place, but you might be starting at a new school, trying to make new friends, and of course, trying to have some fun too!  The Toronto Public Library is here to help you! Not only can we find that textbook or novel you need for an assignment, we also have free programs, homework help, computer classes, and so much more!

Do you want to learn more about your new home? Or perhaps you are preparing for the Citizenship Test. Why not try using the My Canada database from our online databases? This helpful resource has lessons and practice tests on Canadian history, geography, government & culture. Give it a try!

My Canada Database
Outside of the library, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a great website called NewYouth.ca. NewYouth is an online community for newcomer youth, offering information on any questions you might have about school, work, immigration, law, health or daily life.

NewYouth Website
I got the chance to speak to Jai Sahak, Content Coordinator for the site, who told us a bit about himself, his involvement with the site and his tips for newcomer youth. 

What is your involvement with the site and youth?

Jai: I am the Content Coordinator for NewYouth.ca and its French counter-part NouveauxJeunes.ca. It’s my responsibility to identify issues relevant to newcomer youth in Ontario and present those issues using new media outlets. The site contains articles which address key issues every newcomer to Ontario faces. The site also has a large collection of videos from other newcomer youth sharing their experiences and challenges with starting a new school, making friends and life in Ontario in general. 

What is the most common inquiry you get from youth?

 Jai: From the discussion forum on our site, the most common inquiry we get from youth is in regards to access to better and more effective services in their city. Youth find it problematic to apply for Ontario Works, find a shelter, food bank or community health centre in their cities. More needs to be done at the school level to inform youth about what services are available to them and how they can benefit from their local library branch.  

What are some of the best ways newcomer youth can get involved in Toronto?

Jai: Newcomer youth in Toronto can do a number of things to get involved in their city. The most valuable way is to volunteer at their school, a community centre or a local library. Volunteering can provide youth with Canadian job experience which will be important once they start applying for work. It also allows them to learn the language and make new friends. Not to mention, it will count towards their community service hours required to graduate secondary school.

Thank you Jai for the great advice!  Just as Jai said, newcomer youth can do a number of things to get involved in their city. Volunteering at the library is a great way to get involved, and a Youth Advisory Group is great way to get involved!  Youth Advisory Group members can help with programs, services, and give feedback on youth collections.

Volunteer-YAGs[Youth Advisory Group Members]

The Toronto Public Library also has a lot of programs for youth.  Check out all of our Upcoming Programs for Teens or the TPL Teens blog for more info!

TEENSFor newcomer youth, the library has a program called Afterschool Newcomer Hubs where newcomer students in grades 7-10 can get free tutored homework help, workshops, electronic gaming and other fun activities.

From Homework Help to a Sushi Making Class, to help finding a job there is bound to be something for you. Best of all, programs and services at the library are always FREE!  Visit your local library branch today to find out how you can get involved!

Youth at Toronto Public Library Branch[Teens hanging out at the Cedarbrae Library] 

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