India Rainbow’s Youth Leadership Picnic
More than 40 youth and their family members participated in the family picnic organized by the Youth Leadership Development project by India Rainbow. The purpose of the picnic was to engage the families of the youth mentors and mentees in an informal gathering with lots of games, songs, activities and of course South Asian food.
The aim of the project is to meet the unique needs of South Asian youth who are experiencing lack of motivation for education, or are forced to leave school by fearful parents, or youth who are at risk or have already abandoned their career and vocational goals. Issues arising when dealing with duality of cultures or a developmental disability are also addressed. The program focuses on empowering youth to make crucial links between western and eastern perceptions of interpersonal relationships, education, social norms and cultural identities; and the impact these
perceptions will have on their future as adults. Swati Shah, Project Coordinator, says that the purpose of the picnic was to bring the mentors and mentees together with their families, so the parents could meet the mentors. Most importantly, the parents must know and trust the mentors – with whom their kids will be spending a lot of time during this 8 week project.
Arsheen Sangha, a two time Youth Mentor is passionate about this issue as she can relate to the experiences of these youngsters. She says that she faced racism, bullying and teasing when she came here as a 10 year old with her family from Oman. Based on her personal experience, Arsheen wants to help these youngsters develop self-esteem and hopes to take this experience with her when she gets into teaching as a career. On the other side, 13 years old
Ayaz, who came with his parents and younger brother to their first picnic in Canada, hails from Jammu and Kashmir. Ayaz has been here only 3 months. At the picnic he learnt football from Shaun, another program participant. Ayaz and his parents actively participated in the games, winning a few prizes too. He also got a taste of Canada when he and his younger brother went bowling with the mentors. Ayaz plays the guitar, will be starting grade 8 in September, and is being acclimatized by the mentors.
The hot sunny day in Chingacousy Park in Brampton was thus a perfect setting for this project being funded by the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration. The project hopes to empower these youth to live with a blend of Canadian and South Asian cultures so that they are not torn between the aspirations of their parents and the pressures from their peers.
Rainbow Community Services of Peel
3038 Hurontario St., Suite 206
Mississauga, Ontario, L5B 3B9
Website: http://www.indiarainbow.org" rel="nofollow">LINK
Other Locations: 415 Matheson Boulevard. East, Mississauga, ON, L4Z 2H2 Phone:905-507-6099 21 Regan Road, Unit H & I, Brampton, ON, L7A 1C5 Phone:905-459-4776
245 Queen Street East, Unit 2, Brampton, ON, L6W 2B5 Phone:905-595-1669