Tag Archives: high school

YMAP Starts Next Week!

YMAP is starting next week where hundreds of immigrant youth will be involved in a year-round program to learn new skills and make friends.

Immigrant youth in Calgary are at greater risk of not finishing high school than other youth. YMAP is a life skills, career exploration and leadership program for high school youth with an immigrant background.

Participants receive the skills they need to succeed at school, work and in their communities. YMAP participants are 20% more likely to graduate from high school than other youth in Alberta. There is no fee to participate in this program.

Find out more about other Immigrant Services at YMCA Calgary.

 


What’s up with YMAP Summer Explorer’s you ask!? Volunteering, volunteering, volunteering!

The YMAP Summer Explorer’s program of 18 immigrant high school youth has struck a balance of keeping students busy throughout the summer with valuable life experience. In July the students received financial assistance to complete a Summer School course.

Mustard Seed Street Clean-Up

In August the students are out and about all over the city volunteering and are learning in an experiential way about the City of Calgary and it’s many resources.

It is hard to believe that it is already mid-August, until I start looking back on the summer and remember the many places our group has been. In just 2 weeks we have cleaned lockers and floors at the Mustard Seed, sorted through donations and clothing at the Drop-In and Rehabilitation Center, served dinner for 80 at Inn from the Cold society, helped drop off bags for an Inter-Faith Food drive with the 3-6 year old kids at YMCA day camps in Saddletowne. . . . it has been a full 2 weeks indeed!

We still have more to come with the Mustard Seed, Inter-faith Food Drive, as well as a full week volunteering our time with Global Fest – a spectacular exhibition and festival of fireworks.

Some of the students in this program will be completing up to 50 hours volunteering over the course of 4 weeks! That old stereotype that high school youth may not care and sleep the summer away has been blown out of the water as this group of students is beyond committed to getting out of the house and contributing towards the greater community of Calgary in small ways. They learned from a staff member at the Drop-In Center how their organization would need to hire quite a few more full-time staff if they didn’t have the volunteers that they do every day. This caught the students by surprise and has set the tone for their attitude towards volunteering and its integral role for many organizations.

All in all this summer has been jam packed for the students with good laughs, lots of public transit, an expanded view of the City of Calgary and most importantly a deeper understanding of the important role volunteering plays in our communities. Way to go YMAP!


What’s up with YMAP Summer Explorer’s you ask!? Volunteering, volunteering, volunteering!

The YMAP Summer Explorer’s program of 18 immigrant high school youth has struck a balance of keeping students busy throughout the summer with valuable life experience. In July the students received financial assistance to complete a Summer School course.

Mustard Seed Street Clean-Up

In August the students are out and about all over the city volunteering and are learning in an experiential way about the City of Calgary and it’s many resources.

It is hard to believe that it is already mid-August, until I start looking back on the summer and remember the many places our group has been. In just 2 weeks we have cleaned lockers and floors at the Mustard Seed, sorted through donations and clothing at the Drop-In and Rehabilitation Center, served dinner for 80 at Inn from the Cold society, helped drop off bags for an Inter-Faith Food drive with the 3-6 year old kids at YMCA day camps in Saddletowne. . . . it has been a full 2 weeks indeed!

We still have more to come with the Mustard Seed, Inter-faith Food Drive, as well as a full week volunteering our time with Global Fest – a spectacular exhibition and festival of fireworks.

Some of the students in this program will be completing up to 50 hours volunteering over the course of 4 weeks! That old stereotype that high school youth may not care and sleep the summer away has been blown out of the water as this group of students is beyond committed to getting out of the house and contributing towards the greater community of Calgary in small ways. They learned from a staff member at the Drop-In Center how their organization would need to hire quite a few more full-time staff if they didn’t have the volunteers that they do every day. This caught the students by surprise and has set the tone for their attitude towards volunteering and its integral role for many organizations.

All in all this summer has been jam packed for the students with good laughs, lots of public transit, an expanded view of the City of Calgary and most importantly a deeper understanding of the important role volunteering plays in our communities. Way to go YMAP!


YMAP Youth show their “Never Stop Learning!” attitude as summer begins

YMAP Volunteers

YMAP Volunteers

Did you know!?

That school is not out entirely for the summer? There are many high school students who have chosen to complete another full course during the month of July through either the Calgary Catholic School District, or the partnership between Chinook Learning Services and the Calgary Board of Education.

For newcomer youth to Canada, Summer School provides an opportunity for students to continue growing in their English Language abilities as well as to fulfill the pre-requisites for upcoming courses in the Fall. The YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP; an after-school community program for developing skills and leadership in newcomer youth) ends its fall/winter programs at the end of the school year. What’s unique is that YMAP continues to make an impact on our youth by offering YMAP students to apply for the Summer Explorer’s program.

The program breaks down into 2 parts:

1)    By providing financial assistance as well as weekly support for the duration of their school course, students are able to complete courses that they may not have been able to complete otherwise due to constraints on time during the school year.

2)     For the month of August, students are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of volunteering throughout Calgary, with various not-for-profit organizations and with community festivals. These hours will be building blocks for youth getting connected to the city, their communities, and other youth who desire to volunteer.

The next 2 months will be filled with accomplishment, growth, and loads of fun as we set out to read textbooks and give back to this city!


YMCA staff awarded Scholarship

I am very excited to announce that Carolina Hernandez, former YMAP participant and current YMCA staff, has been awarded the C.A.R.E. for Youth Scholarship in the amount of $1000. This will go a long way in helping her complete her high school education through Chinook Learning.

Carolina was chosen out of 19 applicants because of her immigration experience, commitment to her education and her family, her involvement with YMCA and the Canadian Council of Refugees and her ongoing efforts towards enhancing the well-being of children and youth of immigrant families.

Carolina came to Canada from Colombia with her parents and younger sister about 3 1/2 years ago, first to Brandon Manitoba, and then to Calgary. Her father was a natural gas specialist in Colombia and her mother was a kindergarten teacher; however, due to language barriers and having different systems, neither are working in those fields here in Canada. Carolina works very hard to do well in school and take care of her family, she works at the YMCA to help support her family and is very organised and adapts very well to new situations.

She has a passion for the arts as well as for helping the immigrant community. She is a Youth Ambassador for the Canadian Council of Refugees and even planned and held an event called “(my) voice” where other immigrant youth were able to get together and discuss issues they face, talk about their stories and share their talents.

When Carolina came to Canada she had already completed her high school diploma in Colombia, but found out she had to redo high school here in Canada. She has had an amazingly positive attitude through this even saying: “it wasn’t a problem with me because I knew it will help me to improve my learning”. Carolina will be attending Chinook Learning to complete the remainder of her high school courses and then she plans to study art at university.

Carolina has been working but is now able to go back to school because of this scholarship. I spoke with Carolina right after she got the news about being selected as the scholarship recipient and she was so excited she even told me she cried when she read the letter! She also asked if she could take more classes than she had planned on as she is very anxious to complete her studies.

We couldn’t be more proud, congratulations Carolina!

Carolina at YMAP Camp (at Camp Chief Hector) April 2012


Newcomer finds community through YMCA Achievement Program

I met John (name has been changed) about 2 weeks after he arrived here from Eritrea, a little known country in the horn of Africa. It did not take long for me to conclude that he would be an excellent fit for the YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP)

I can only begin to imagine what it would feel like as a teenage boy, in a brand new high school, in a totally different country, knowing almost nobody. I try to think of what my priorities might be; making a couple of friends, learning the language, and simply surviving! When asked the question, ‘Why do you want to be in YMAP?’, John told me that he realizes this program will help provide him with the tools to succeed in Canada, to find a job in the future, and to attend university. Of course, he also would like to make friends and improve his English, but John is really focusing on the future and how YMAP will benefit him.

Since the first week of programs, John has stood out amongst the group as somebody who consistently participates and voices his opinion, while respecting his fellow participants. He often approaches me asking for a further challenge beyond what we are doing, and asking for advice while he actively looks for a part-time job.

One of the highlights of my entire experience working with YMAP occurred while talking to John at our Kickoff Celebration. He approached me to say thank you for the service we are providing, told me that he had been feeling so lonely in Canada and wanted to go home more than anything, until he joined YMAP. John had just met some fellow Eritreans from another quadrant during the Kickoff, and was feeling particularly happy while getting to know them. He told me that he now feels like he has a true community and family in Canada, and feels much more positive about being here. To know that YMAP has made such a difference in his life reaffirmed that all of the work we do is truly worth it. I can’t wait to see what this coming year will bring for him, and will continue to be inspired by his attitude and motivation.


YMAP Kick-Off a Success!

Holiday Crafts!Eau Claire YMCA was buzzing with over 100 high school students this past Friday night as YMAP programs celebrated an awesome start to the year! YMAP (aka YMCA Achievement Program) is an after-school program for immigrant high school students to explore a wide variety of topics from financial literacy, to resume building, to how we can become global citizens working for social justice.

So now with just over a month of programs under our belt, what a better way to start the year off right than with a party?

The annual kick-off event provides a space to hang out, play games, and meet YMAP students from other high schools and quadrants of the city. Students were open to join activities of their interest, such as basketball, badminton, a hip-hop dance class, or making Holiday decorations for a local non-profit organization.

It was a blast to see some unlikely candidates tearing up the dance floor or to witness a heated 3-on-3 on the courts between good friends. Most exciting to see was the number of students who were so eager to be making gifts to give away for Charity. Students were overwhelmingly positive throughout the evening stating how they feel accepted and welcomed by the YMAP community.

It is truly remarkable to see young people collaborating together, forming new friendships, and choosing to spend a Friday night in a safe and positive environment. All in all, if this is just the beginning, brace yourselves for a jam-packed year of growth, learning and laughter.

A big thank-you to everyone who participated to put on such a fantastic event, to all of our volunteers, staff, and to our students who continue to be an inspiration as they learn what it means to be a leader in one’s community!


YMCA Program to Help Youth Succeed

We are super excited to have YMAP starting soon! YMAP is a life skills, career exploration and leadership program for high school youth with an immigrant background. It is a YMCA stay-in-school initiative for participants ages 15 to 20. Participants receive the skills they need to succeed at school, work and in their communities.

There is no fee to participate in this program.

  • YMAP is starting October 30 for Explorers.
  • October 31 for Achievers.
  • November 1 for Leaders.

Some schools might have a slight adjustment to these dates because of PD days. Check with your coordinator for details.

Check out some of the fun things YMAP has in store for the upcoming year:

  • YMAP kick off party
  • Volunteer opportunities (build up your resume!)
  • Adventure Journey at Camp Chief Hector YMCA
  • Graduation
  • Summer picnic
  • And more!

Which Club for HS Students?

Have you checked out the Youth Are Awesome website? It’s a place where youth write for other youth on a plethera of incredible topics.

Here’s a great posting about the best three school clubs for youth to join. It’s a well thought out piece by young writer ‘richie’:

“The quest for extracurriculars is one that many high school students are familiar with.

  • “What would look good on my university application or resume?”
  • “Which clubs do I have time for?”
  • “Which ones will I actually like?”

In the desperate race to try every extracurricular activity there is, they often miss out on the best ones. In an attempt to ameliorate the anguish on deciding what school clubs you ought to join, I’ve compiled a short list of three school clubs I’m involved with. I’ll tell you why they are great, and hopefully to encourage you to join in your school’s rendition of these amazing extracurriculars!”

Click here to read the full blog posting on the Youth Are Awesome website.


Success: YMCA Outreach Programs

YMCA talks about building healthy communities, but do you ever wonder what we really do? YMCA Calgary offers many programs in and around Calgary at outreach sites that help children, youth and adults belong, grow, thrive and lead.

Take a look at some photos taken last week at the YMCA YMAP program at Forest Lawn High School. Immigrant youth in Calgary are at greater risk of not finishing high school than other youth. YMAP is a life skills, career exploration and leadership program for high school youth with an immigrant background. It is a YMCA stay-in-school initiative for participants ages 15 to 20.

Participants receive the skills they need to succeed at school, work and in their communities. YMAP participants are 20% more likely to graduate from high school than other youth in Alberta. There is no fee to participate in this program. For more information, contact the YMAP Director at 403-241-4605.

 


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