Submitted by Claire Kelly, Settlement Youth Worker
In early October, the Vancouver Foundation and Canadian Council for Refugees hosted a Youth Action Gathering in Vancouver, BC. During the weekend event, approximately 150 newcomer youth gathered to share experiences and discuss issues they face as newcomer youth. They also had an evening gala to recognize and celebrate achievements of these young people. There were four prizes of $1000 given to four youth that have bridged gaps in their community. Among the four awarded, was Zhiqi Jiang, a newcomer youth participant and volunteer at ICA.
Zhiqi Jiang moved to Canada from China in 2013, and began attending ICA programs in the fall of 2014. In November 2014, she had the opportunity to attend the Fresh Voices youth conference and was so inspired, that she took the initiative to create a new group to support newcomers at her school.
“In Canada, I realized my situation as a new immigrant and was lucky to be helped by the Inter-Cultural Association. Even luckier, I was able to become a volunteer at ICA and gain many opportunities. That is how I got the chance to attend Fresh Voices and learned so much more about the newcomers in this country. I was inspired and founded the Welcomer’s Club and held the Immigrant and Refugee Awareness week in my school to raise awareness and provide more help. I am very grateful for this learning experience and will continue my passion of supporting newcomers.”
Zhiqi is currently 18 years old, a senior at Claremont Secondary School, and plans to attend university next year, which is where she will use her $1000. Congratulations, Zhiqi!