Building Welcoming Communities for Newcomer Families to Nova Scotia

While living in Prague, Czech Republic, Matthew Ritchie learned firsthand how difficult it can be to be a newcomer. He faced language and cultural barriers and didn’t have the social support network he was used to growing up in Nova Scotia. When he returned to Canada, he decided it was time to help new immigrants in his home country.   As Community Integration Coordinator at the YMCA Centre for Immigrant programs, he is able to help newcomers overcome those same barriers he faced. For over 25 years, the YMCA has worked with newcomer communities to support their settlement and integration in community. Central to its approach is to recognize that each newcomer experience to Canada is unique.  Differences in culture, language, religion, ethnic background, and identity can intersect to create barriers and unique challenges often difficult to understand by those experiencing it. For many newcomers arriving in Canada, fitting in can be a difficult balance between cultural norms and experiences in one’s home country and in Canada. The YMCA recognizes this balance and the choices that newcomer families face as they settle in new communities. 

“The YMCA uses a strengths-based approach