Sense of Belonging

In trying to better understand the data in this snapshot, we hosted a sense-making session with newcomer youth and our partners at Let’s Talk. Their thoughts and perspectives are scattered throughout this report to help provide additional context.


We wanted to know what youth not born in Canada think about their sense of belonging to their community, and what community means to them. Here’s what we heard:


Community means Belonging somewhere, Feeling attachment, Family, Friendship, Feeling welcome, Emilio, Church, My team, different clubs, Home, School, Neighbours, Volunteering, Similar culture, Being included, School, Different opportunities, Feeling comfortable, Connection with others, A good place, Respect, Being included, School clubs, and YMCA.


Support from Family and Friends

To understand relationships, we asked the sense making group how and where they were making friends. Some of the responses we received (in no particular order) included: schools, churches, community events, workplaces, clubs (school and community), volunteering, community programs and organizations (like KWMC and YMCA), neighbours, libraries, and their cultural/grassroots organizations



Mental Health

The understanding and perception of mental health vary from culture to culture. We wanted to understand the cultural context around how youth NBiC may have approached this question, so we asked in our sense-making session, “What does mental health mean to you and your family?” Below was what our youths shared with us.


Stability, Taking breaks, Self-care, Resting, being physically and spiritually well, Taboo topics to discuss, not committing suicide, Peace, Talking together, Making goals, Eating healthy, Playing Fortnite, Time alone, Being off social media, Spending time with Nature, Being yourself, Feeling free, Resiliency, Being there for each other, and not playing Fortnite.


Heard at Sense Making: Some Youth not born in Canada may have better mental health because their home country was not safe for them physically and mentally. Canada may seem like a much better place to live


Heard at Sense Making: “I feel that people not born in Canada need to have a certain level of mental health, like higher because they have lived through tough situations that those born in a stable country.”



The Environment Around Us


We asked the youth ” How can we make Recreation and Cultural facilities better for Newcomers”
Here are the responses we received;


Multicultural settings, Provide services in multiple languages, Translators, Have people who speak the same language or culture at the facilities, Acknowledging people’s information, Be respectful to people’s language and culture, Providing people with helpful information.




Housing (In)Security

During our sense-making session, some of the youths attested to having experienced some form of homelessness. When we asked the question “Why do you think youths from the survey NBiC have more experiences of housing insecurity” Here are some of the feedback we received.


New to the environment, not enough housing information, financial instability, unemployment, transportation, need more time to adapt, pressures from family back home, not having connections, lack of trust towards their parents.


Heard at Sense Making: “Coming from another country might be hard adapting to this new country. Maybe they came in with nothing, and are trying to adjust to the new culture.”


Heard at Sense Making: “There are companies that do not accept some minorities. Making it hard for people NBiC to get jobs.”