We left Syria because of the war. It was horrible and we were scared for the safety of our kids.

We fled to Jordan and stayed six months, until the UN picked us to come to Canada last April. When we got the news, we were so happy.

At first, I was nervous the kids would not fit in here, but our sponsor, Sharon, made us feel so welcome. It was Sharon who suggested that we come to the Y, so the kids would have something to do.

Being new to the community, we didn’t have much money, but the Y helped us with financial assistance for summer camp and membership. Both boys went to Sports Camp and they loved playing soccer! They had never been to camp before, and despite the language barrier, they felt included.

The YMCA staff were so supportive. Now, all three of my kids come here every week. My boys play basketball with their friends and my daughter, Zain takes swim lessons. She used to fear the water, and wouldn’t even touch it, but now she can’t wait to come. She always asks me, “Is it Friday yet?”.

We’re so thankful for the support we have found at the Y.

My kids don’t feel any different than the other kids. They belong. And because of the Y, they are now involved in their community. That was important to us.

The difference between then and now is huge. Having to leave our home was horrible, but now, it’s like a dream come true. The kids are so happy and we have a very different life.

The Y is part of us already. Every week we walk through the front door and feel like we belong.

– Rabea

Did you know?

In 2016 Halton Region welcomed 20,500 newcomers from around the world. Almost half of them chose Oakville as their destination of resettlement. While newcomers face significant resettlement barriers, youth must battle double obstacles of being young and navigating a new language, culture and lifestyle.

The YMCA helps bridge this gap.

With financial assistance for programs like camp and membership, newcomer families find friendly, safe, spaces that welcome them into their community and create a strong sense of belonging.