NEW TO COUNTRY
WE are every newcomer in search of a new beginning
As we saw the adversity newcomers face in our school and community, we grew to become more conscious of the language and cultural barriers prevalent in not just our nation but the world. We developed an innovative approach to ease the transition of newcomer families into Canadian society, through robotics.
The New to Country Program (NTC) is created to assist newcomers with their integration into schools, communities, and in our society by providing information, showcasing opportunities, and inspiring them into the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Encouraging everyone to be part of their community is crucial. New immigrant students and parents have the opportunity to see how they can directly contribute to their communities while engaging in activities that will integrate them and build confidence and leadership skills. By embracing diversity and inclusivity, we are bridging cultural gaps and ensuring new immigrants understand our society and education system while bringing awareness of FIRST and inspiring cultural shift. We are pioneering innovative approaches to engage newcomers with STEM. We are extending our welcome to newcomers all over our country, and proving to them that Canada is a country of potential and STEM is the key to opportunity.
PEER TO PEER VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
The Peer to Peer Volunteer Program aims to build relationships improves peer association and minimizes barriers for these immigrants. Through peer mentorship, newcomer students are paired with team members who they can shadow for outreach events such as the FLL and VEX Tournaments we hold in our school. Trainings are provided for each event. Event tours, facility tours and program tours can also be organized for the New to Country volunteers where they can see how they can be engaged in activities in and around their schools and their communities. This allows us to create an inclusive and diverse environment where everyone is welcome, both within our team and within the community.
PARENT INFORMATION HANDBOOKS
Partnered with the Welcome Centre of Peel Settlement Workers, our parent handbooks in multi-language were created to assist parents to better understand our role in helping their children. Our parent handbooks in Arabic and Mandarin help new immigrants get a better understanding of the FIRST Robotics Program and the structure of our team. This not only benefits students but also bridges the cultural gap in understanding the program and school system.
WORKSHOP GROWTH AND PARTNERSHIPS
For years prior to rolling our our New to Country Program, we had been searching for an avenue to provide newcomer children with engaging workshops and activities with other children their age so that they can come together, build a passion for STEM, and build experiences that they will carry for the rest of their lives. In 2016 our sponsor, Pratt & Whitney Canada was able to mobilize us and our passion by connecting us with the international organization United Way and their partner, Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services. This allowed us to hold a series of robotics workshops for newcomer youth. Beginning as a Robotics Day at the Comfort Inn in a place called The Reception Centre. This Reception Centre provides temporary housing for government sponsored refugees to Canada. The event was to showcase to the children at the centre, the creative and fun aspect of STEM which then grew to a week-long winter camp and expanded into two sets of 10-week workshops at Polycultural. These free workshops provide youth aged 5-14 with the learning tools needed to build and program LEGO robots, with a curriculum designed to accelerate individual growth. We partnered with Peel Settlement Workers once again to translate the newcomers and better understand how we can support them.
To create awareness and ignite a passion for change in others, we recruited 5 FRC teams (771, 1285, 4001, 4939, 6070) across 4 cities across Ontario to run the 20 week-long workshops with us. By introducing FRC teams to this demographic and bringing our program’s information to immigration offices, we are pioneering innovative approaches to engage newcomers with STEM.
To get more information on how to implement such a program at your school, communities, or to be engaged with our New to Country Program please feel free to reach out to