Our youth group (YAC) at the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) put together our biggest project of the year in December 2019, with the event, “A Cultural Tour Around The World.”
The event in Victoria, B.C. brought together families, including grandparents, for an afternoon of performances, including dancing, reading poetry, introducing cultures through small presentations, and the highlight of the evening: holding a fashion show of traditional attires from around the world. To add to this experience was a variety of food prepared by our international staff at VIRCS. It was also a chance to meet people in the community, especially those who are new to Canada.
This event demonstrated what YAC is about and how it brings people from around the world to come and sit together. The program, designed for youth from 13 to 19 years old, holds meetings twice a month to organize events for the youth. We’ve had summer camps, bike skills sessions, money talk workshops, movie nights, art and game nights, museum visits, and even attended ballet!
The YAC participants also provide advice to VIRCS, to make the centre a better place for youth newcomers. We offer suggestions about how to make the place a more welcoming place for people to gather and have fun, at the same time encourage the staff to provide spaces for playing sports and to purchase games for kids to play with. This would help make VIRCS an active hub where youth can gather.
The group is also a way for us to improve our communication skills and build our confidence. It allows members the chance to act as ambassadors for other newcomers. Being part of the YAC has helped me develop the ability to share ideas with other people and to overcome my shyness and be more social. I have enjoyed being a part of the YAC, a truly rewarding experience!
Photos by Avie Olarte and Fiona Bramble
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