Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth


When my mom first told me that we are going to move to Canada, I was just so scared that I’m going to a different school system and speaking a different language. How am I going to talk to those people? How am I going to adapt to them? Kind of the unknown, fear of the unknown. New language, new friends. I didn’t make any friends at all because I looked different than them. We felt isolated from the world even though we were there, you know? It’s like we were right there around
people though we felt really apart. It was hard at the beginning to make friends without nobody knowing who you are, they don’t know your background… He started talking about me with his friends in Arabic. They were really saying bad words, but I didn’t really want to let him know that I also speak Arabic until I knew what else he was going to say about me. I often find that with kids when they first start the program everything is so new to them and there not quite sure where they fit in. The really cool thing I
get to witness is a lot of student’s get to come out of their shell and they
get to really be confident in the person they are. This day he was with his friends sitting
together they were talking about me too, then I went to him and asked him a question in
Arabic. He was really shocked I can see his eye he was like stuck staring at me. I can
tell you he would, he would faint I mean they were talking about me for this whole week they thought I don’t understand it and he started saying sorry “I didn’t
really mean it” and okay I just accept his apology. After that we became really
good friends. I used to cry every single morning because, I was like, I have to go to school
but I have to put my, like in junior high you have to put your bag in in your locker,
in, in high school you don’t have to so, so I was like now what do I do? I have to open the locker and I cannot and I cannot ask anyone for help as well because I don’t know how
to ask. So I used to go a half an hour before school starts because I used to share my locker with someone so I thought when the girl will come when she will open her locker for herself I will put my stuff in. There is that. So that was the biggest struggle. We predominantly help with building students social emotional skills and social skills relevant to living in Canada. So a lot of students might be born in Canada and their parents might have immigrated from another country or some kids might immigrate themselves from a different country. We really help with that transition, with kind of understanding
Canadian culture and how things work in Canada and we give kids opportunity to do different Canadian things that they might not have done in a different country. In the first week of our arrival we wanted to register my youngest son in school so there is a CBE placement test and there we met a few settlement agents. One of them was working with the Calgary Bridge Foundation basically she was the first friendly face we’ve seen in Calgary when we arrived here we didn’t have any connections to our community or we didn’t know anyone, we didn’t have friends. So it was very helpful to have her and she was very encouraging. At Bridge we give them the opportunity to be who they are and accept who they are and once they know that we are happy with who they are, no matter where they came from or what they do they flourish in that role and they jump at opportunities to showcase that to everyone else that they can and so as a result you see them stepping up in school more often stepping into leadership roles, being more active in their schools, being more active
in their communities and so it’s really cool to see students kind of once they figure out like who they want to be or they are confident in knowing that they are who they are and
that people will love them for that no matter what they just be who they are and they excel in tremendous ways. To help them settle and understand the culture this is something Calgary Bridge Foundation can do easily for them and linking them to positive role models and positive engagement. Because most of the young people who engage in negative especially engagement. Negatively in the community they are, this is a result of isolation, lack of integration
so basically good integration is what we need for our kids and this is a place where can
help with integrating the right way. If you don’t have a friend or you have struggle
to fit in to a Canadian community, Calgary Bridge Foundation is the place where you should go to. I have been to places that I’ve never thought I would be, I mean without this program, I wouldn’t even be right here now, I wouldn’t be a peer mentor, I wouldn’t be knowing
all this. It impacted my life a lot, you get lots of help, and you get help with everything, not for just like kids, immigrants, like for parents, kids and everyone. It’s like family, you know, they are my family, because I’ve been with them for a really long time and
I feel like I can rely on them to catch me when I fall. Seeing things practiced this way gives me a lot of motivation to do the same to others.

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