An extremely important component of the work of the Ottawa South Committee for Refugee Support (OSCRS) is to assist in the successful social and economic integration of refugees. Our efforts have been concentrated both on adults and youth. Last month’s OSCAR article included a feature on two refugee adults pursuing training and employment as Personal Support Workers. This month’s feature looks at what is available for youth. Two partners we have in the community are the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (Youth Internship Program), and the YMCA/YWCA (Youth Employment Support Program).
The Youth Internship Program (YIP) is focused on youth ages 17-21 and is run by the Anglican Diocese in partnership with community organizations. This program includes five parts, an important one being a work placement with community organizations such as day care centres, long-term care facilities, Habitat for Humanity and the Ottawa Police Services. Interns gain work skills in a safe work environment and receive a stipend.
An example of a successful placement is the employment of three grade 12 refugees at a long-term care facility. The students were contemplating a career option working with older adults. As a result of this placement, one student applied for nursing, another to a social work program specializing in gerontology while another pursued studies in restorative care for older adults. Other elements of the YIP include leadership skill development, mentorship, coaching and faith formation. The program runs from September to June. The Program Director and primary contact is Donna Rourke (donna-rourke@ ottawa.anglican.ca) and applications are being solicited for this program. It is open to all youth.
The YMCA/ YWCA youth employment program, although focused on marginalized youth, is very helpful for new arrivals 15 to 30 years of age. The 10-week program provides four weeks of in-class training on life skills, employment readiness, career guidance and career exploration. There is also a 6-week paid work placement under the guidance of a youth mentor. Some of the OSCRS’ refugees have accessed online employment workshops but given the COVID-19 restrictions, on-site employment opportunities have been limited. For further details about the youth employment program visit the website: www.ymcaywca and search for “Your Job Story - Youth Employment Program.”
As the Ottawa South Committee for Refugee Support awaits the arrival of our next family, we continue to look for community partners, volunteers and financial donations. We can be reached at: email@example.com. Donations by cheque can be made to Trinity Anglican Church (mark it for OSCRS) and sent to 1230 Bank St, Ottawa, K1S 3Y3. We can also be found on Canada Helps at: www. canadahelps.org/en/charities/trinity- anglican-church
Bev Davis and Kevin Mills are co- chairs of the OSCRS and live in OOS