Summary of Recommendations and Findings

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                         IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE YOUTH


The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) is pleased to provide a progress report on the
two-year OCASI research on Inclusive Recreation Model for Immigrant and Refugee Youth.

The research on Inclusive Recreation Model for Immigrant and Refugee Youth was initiated after the
observation by OCASI that, in the face of the numerous recommendations made in various studies that relate to
youth in general and to immigrant youth in particular, there has been a gap in availing the wide pool of
recommendations to immigrant serving organizations that work with youth.

While a variety of studies have been undertaken and recommendations reached with respect to sport and
recreational programs, and in particular programs for immigrant youth, there has been no follow-up to ensure
that identified models are being implemented in community agencies that serve newcomer immigrants. OCASI
saw the need to draw together the recommendations from the various studies and to disseminate a model
developed from these findings among organizations that serve immigrant youth. There was also need for a
feasibility study to establish the extent to which the given model was perceived by service providers as
implementable in the immigrant communities that they serve. It was planned that OCASI would utilize its
research capacity to document the research findings/proposed models and to share the research outcomes
through its information dissemination channels that include the and

The long-term goals were:
       To increase participation of newcomer/immigrant youth in recreation activities, as a consequence of
        strengthened capacity of organizations that provide youth recreation programs.

       To facilitate participation of immigrant and refugee youth in recreation activities.

The objective of the project was:
      To enhance take-up of recreation by immigrant and refugee youth aged 18 and below through
       identification and dissemination of information to sport/recreation stakeholder communities in Ontario
       on recommendations from past research and on recreational models that are currently being effectively
       implemented in the province.

The 40 page report summarizes findings from a literature review on the subject of participation of immigrant and
refugee youth in recreation, sport, and leisure. It details, more comprehensively than has been done in the past,
the myriad challenges faced by service providers and prospective youth recreation participants. In addition, the
report analyzes the benefits of, and gives recommendations for sport, recreation, and leisure programs.

Balancing the needs and requests of a diverse group of service providers throughout Ontario, we have created a
PROVISIONAL model for implementing a structured sport program, designed to increase immigrant and
refugee participation. The proposed model takes into account the suggestions made in the various studies, in the
focus groups that were held in Toronto, Peel, Kingston and Hamilton, and in a meeting in Belleville.
The second year of the project, April 2005 – March 2006, will be focused on a Feasibility Study to establish the
extent to which service providers perceive the given Model as implementable in the immigrant communities that
they serve.


The main project activities in the first year involved:

               Establishing an Advisory Group and organizing Advisory Group meetings

               Carrying out an extensive Literature Review to identify past findings/ recommendations/ models,
                with a view to establishing the key elements that contribute to the development of an effective sport
                and recreation program for immigrant youth

               Holding Focus Groups with key stakeholders (e.g. agencies that have youth program, community
                members etc.).

Focus groups were held in Hamilton (organized and hosted by Settlement and Integration Services Organization
– SISO), Toronto (Hosted by OCASI), Peel (organized and hosted by the Catholic Cross Cultural Services –
CCCS of Peel) and Kingston (organized and hosted by Kingston and District Immigrant Services –KDIS).

Observational visits were made to, among others, Belleville, with assistance from Quinte United Immigrant
Services. In Belleville, this enabled project staff to sit in on a joint meeting of youth serving agencies in
Belleville to observe potential youth networks that could be developed to enhance take up of sport and recreation
by immigrant youth.

Observation was also made of a recreation event organized by the Afghan Association of Ontario. The event
gave insight into a successful ethno-focused recreation program. It highlighted potential challenges that include:

               Distant location across the city that could create a barrier to youth, with respect to transportation to
                night events

               Limited funding and other resources, faced by many immigrant service organizations.

The event also gave insight into opportunities arising out of:

                Strong parental and community support with regard to recreation programs for immigrant youth
                An experienced recreation event facilitator and committed outreach staff
                Well planned and structured recreation activities that combine educational learning with other
                 elements, such as drama
                Provision of opportunity for each youth to participate in a language of their choice. Some kids
                 selected to communicate in English and could switch to communicating in their ethnic language as
                 they wished.

The Afghan recreation program was an example of a program that inspires the confidence of parents and the
community with regard to youth safety. This is particularly because the program occurs in a venue (a hall) that is
large enough to accommodate youth as well as their parents and other youth recreation supporters, while leaving
room for the participating youth to independently recreate and mix with other youth without intimidation from
parents. The elements ingrained in the Afghan Association recreation programming are common to those
outlined in the literature as contributors to an effective program.


Findings from the above research activities and meetings assisted in the compilation of the Youth project
PROVISIONAL Model that contains proposed features that assist in the development of an effective sport and
recreation program for immigrant youth.

Among others, the report lists the following as some of the benefits of sport and recreation:

            Peer group identity
            Cognitive development
            Social development
            Physical development/Personal health
            Emotional development
            Moral development and community connectedness
            Economic health

The following are listed as some of the challenges faced by youth:

            Socioeconomic status and participatory cost
            Time constraints and changes in lifestyle
            Location of activity or community or lack of transportation
            Disapproval from peers or parents or parent's unwillingness to participate
            Unsuitable sport or recreational activities or services and unsuitable organizational structures or
            Age and gender of the child
            Racism and discrimination

Challenges faced by youth service providers are said to include the following:

            Lack of resources
            Underwhelming community and participant support
            Lack of viable recreation and leisure models
            Lack of knowledge among mainstream organizations about issues facing immigrants (settlement or
             appropriate activities respectful of beliefs and culture), potential initiatives and collaborations
            Lack of information (how to properly train staff to instruct sport and recreation, volunteers or
             coaches, methods and means to conduct proper outreach), what information is available is
            Lack of awareness among settlement staff, parents and youth concerning the need for sport and
            Lack of human resources (capable volunteers or coaches, dedicated program planning staff to
             implement models)

The report suggests the following as some of the solutions to the challenges faced by youth and service providers

            Increase collaboration and cooperation between mainstream sport and recreation providers and
             immigrant serving agencies to share information including best practices, resources, and funding
             possibilities through informal and formal networking
            Advocate for increased youth recreation, leisure and sport funding
            Increase outreach to parents, children and the community to garner support

The following attributes were seen as key elements in the process of developing an effective and sustainable
sport and recreation program:

            Brainstorming  - focusing on how the sport or recreational activity will affect the community
            Research       - investigating community needs and wants
            Planning       - seeking partnerships and exploring the best ways to share resources among
            Action     - implementing the plan including appropriate activities for youth leadership
            Evaluation     - quantifying the successes and challenges and sharing these among the staff,
                                  community, and prospective funders

How do we more effectively engage newcomer youth?

         The following were listed as some of the important ways of ensuring that newcomer youth are engaged
         in the activities:

            Utilize effective outreach strategies for community, parent, and participant support
            Create a program which is inclusive (discrimination free and culturally sensitive), inexpensive,
             conveniently located, and age and gender appropriate
            Integrate leadership activities into program and organizational activities
            Involve the community and support grass roots programs
            Clearly delineate program mission and goals for youth and colleagues


The second year of the project (April 2005-March 2006) entails undertaking a study to test the Feasibility of the
PROVISIONAL Immigrant Youth Sports and Recreation Program Model. The Feasibility Study will be carried
out in collaborating agencies in three regions.

The collaborating agencies will be selected, after consultations with stakeholders, from agencies that currently
have a youth program, and that serve communities identified as having need for increased response to sport and
recreation programs due to the current multiple barriers faced by immigrant children and youth. The Feasibility
Study will include:

-   Looking into challenges likely to be faced in the implementation of the Model

-   Identifying what needs to be developed as part of the suggested Model

-   Determining the cost effectiveness of the Model and identifying ways of resourcing for the model to work

-   Finalizing the check list for essential attributes of a sport and recreation program for immigrant youth

-   Interviewing selected researchers of past studies

-   Consulting with youth to get their input into the final model.

Request for Youth Involvement
In this respect, OCASI is requesting immigrant serving organizations to encourage and to support youth to
participate in focus group discussion to make input in the development of the Immigrant Youth Sports and

Recreation Program Model and in the discussions relating to immigrant youth leadership development and
training in the area of sport and recreation.


The role of the collaborating agencies will be to test the developed Provisional Model. The selected agency will:

       Participate in discussion as part of the Advisory Group which will be comprised from the larger
        stakeholder community
       Participate in the analysis of project outcomes and provide input in the development of the Final
        Immigrant Youth Sports and Recreation Program Model
       Participate in the Study to test the Feasibility of the Provisional Immigrant Youth Sports and Recreation
        Program Model
       Develop outreach and other strategies to ensure youth interest and participation
       Seek financial/in-kind contributions and commit to pilot the model.

    Agencies’ time will be considered as in-kind contribution to the project.


Representatives from agencies that serve youth from immigrant communities are encouraged to join the
Advisory Group for this project, which OCASI views as an important initiative to enhance recreational services
to immigrant youth.
The role of the Advisory Group is to:
    -   Provide overall direction to the project to ensure the accomplishment of project goals and objectives
    -   Ensure that the project outcomes enhance accessibility to and quality of immigrant youth sport and
        recreation services
    -   Provide advice on participating communities/organizations
    -   Meet regularly to review progress and provide direction on various aspects of the study. Meetings will
        be mainly by teleconference.


       Better information on past research outcomes, recommendations and recreation models
       Better knowledge about current best practice
       Better knowledge and understanding of features that make for successful recreation programs
       Better knowledge and understanding of effective outreach strategies
       A Tested Model in three selected locations in Ontario
       Increased participation of youth community recreation
       Increased parental involvement
       Sector support for the participating agencies
       More wide dissemination of information and improved resources relating to the implementation of
        Recreation Model for immigrant and refugee youth.


OCASI wishes to express appreciation to all the organizations and individuals that have contributed to this
project so far and that continue to serve on the Advisory Group. OCASI welcomes additional contributors to
make input and to participate in phase II of this project through any of the following:
    -   Indicate if your agency serves immigrant youth and if you wish to propose a member of staff from your
        agency to participate as an additional member of the Project Advisory Group for phase II of the project
    -   Indicate if your agency would like to work collaboratively with OCASI to test the Feasibility of the
        proposed Model
    -   Identify youth that you serve to participate on the Advisory Group and/or to participate in the
        development of the Immigrant Youth Sports and Recreation Program Model
    -   Provide relevant information on studies that have been carried out with respect to immigrant youth to
        facilitate this study

To indicate interest in joining the Youth Project Advisory Group, to express interest in being one of the
collaborating agencies for the Feasibility Study, or to indicate interest in proposing youth to participate in the
project, please complete the supplied form and fax or E-mail it to project staff as soon as possible.

Special thanks to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation for their financial contribution for
this project.

Please address all responses and inquiries to:

Lily Mumbana
Bilingual Project Assistant
110 Eglinton Ave. West Suite 200
Toronto M4R 1A3
Tel: (416) 322-4950 Ext. 237
Fax: (416) 322-8084


Immaculate Tumwine
Project Coordinator
110 Eglinton Ave. West Suite 200
Toronto M4R 1A3
Tel: (416) 322-4950 Ext. 285
Fax: (416) 322-8084

Current Members of the Advisory Group

      Wali Farah      Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), Ottawa
      Qaseem Ludin        Afghan Association of Ontario, Toronto
      Joe Boateng     Jamaican Canadian Association, Toronto
      Loly Rico       FCJ Hamilton House Refugee Project, Toronto
      Joyce David     Kingston & District Immigrant Services, Kingston
      Loyd Kibaara        Settlement & Integration Services Organization (SISO), Hamilton
      Bianca Di Nardo     The Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCC), Windsor
      Brenda Parris       Catholic Cross Cultural Services – Peel Region
      Aislinn Clancy      Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA - CrossCultural and Community Services
      Penny Ross      Ysan Grow (YMCA of Hamilton Burlington)
      Jahan Zeb       Immigrant Culture Art Association, Hamilton
      Anna Lee Boschetto University Settlement, Toronto
      Seevgul Topkara- Sarsu Wood Green Community Services, Immigrant Services
      Orlando Ferro       Quinte United Immigrant Services, Belleville

Staff Members

      Paulina Maciulis – Project Manager
      Kelven Goodridge
      Lily Mumbana
      Immaculate Tumwine

                              See follow this link for the Participation Form