I want to tell you a story about some wonderful people like you, who changed the life of a newcomer.
My name is Abeer Al-Salihi and I work with newcomer youth in schools in Peterborough and Northumberland.
When I met 19-year-old Raid Hajhasan in 2016, he was living alone. He didn’t know anyone.
Raid left Syria to escape the war. A war where 11 million people were displaced. He was all by himself. Without any family.
He spoke very little English and he was very quiet. Except for when he spoke about cars. Raid loved working on them. And he wanted to start his own business.
Refugee youth between the ages of 19 and 24 like Raid have a hard time fitting in. Many were forced to leave school because of war and worked to support their families. They have skills and are very capable.
But in Canada, they do not feel like they belong. Unable to relate to their peers in high school or in adult education who understand what they have witnessed.
Without improving their English, it is difficult for them to find work.
You can help refugee youth like Raid. Your gift to the New Canadians Centre helps to encourage, support and provide the necessary tools youth like Raid need to be successful.
In Arabic we have an expression, ‘Individually we are one drop, and together we form the ocean.’ It is similar to something you say in Canada, ‘It takes a village.’
At the New Canadians Centre, we work with newcomer youth like Raid to build and enhance their skills. We form partnerships in our community to help develop their talents, improve their English, and make connections to increase their chances of finding and securing employment.
Connections to people like John Hayden who works with entrepreneurs at Community Futures Development Corporation in Northumberland. This summer, John helped Raid write a plan for an auto detailing business. John’s wife Gabrielle Magro volunteered her time, going door-to-door asking detailing businesses in Cobourg if they would give Raid a chance.
Tom Carette, the owner of Carstead Motor Trends, opened the door for Raid. He told me he wanted to give Raid a chance because someone gave him a chance when he was Raid’s age.
You are Raid’s village.
Because of a community of people like you who understand the important role new Canadians play in growing our community, Raid is the proud owner of Rapid Raid Car Detailing and contributing to a community that helped him.
Because of you, he is learning English while he works. He is continuing his studies and one day, he hopes to attend college.
Your compassion, kindness and continued support can help other newcomers like Raid realise their potential.
We hope you will be generous once again and match or exceed your donation today! Your gift will help the New Canadians Centre support newcomer youth and their families with what they need most - skills and language training, community connections and social support – all year round.
It takes a village. Together, we can do so much more.
We hope that you will continue to give generously to the New Canadians Centre. We are counting on you to be the village that encourages, inspires and commits to newcomers like Raid as they build a new life in our community.
Yours in supporting newcomer youth like Raid and all newcomer families,
Settlement Worker in Schools
New Canadians Centre
P.S. When I lived in Syria and the United Arab Emirates I worked as a teacher. I came to Cobourg with my family to start a new life here. I didn’t know anyone else. I didn’t feel like I belonged. Not until I went to the New Canadians Centre in Northumberland. There I found connection, friendship and developed the confidence to pursue employment opportunities.
Because of you, I got the support I needed to move forward and achieve my goals. Now I am proud to help others realize their potential.
P.P.S. Last year, Settlement Workers in Schools supported 226 new clients (a 25% increase over the previous year) and 414 returning clients. They also hosted 210 programs and activities for newcomer youth. Your gift today supports these programs that helps them to realise their potential.