When Ming Yi arrived from Beijing, China, at the age of 14, she was anxious to fit in. Then she learned about Newcomer Youth Leadership Development (NYLD) when she accompanied her parents for their English Assessment Test at a YMCA Newcomer Centre.
"I was hesitant to join at first because I was uncertain of what to expect,” she admits. “But, I decided to challenge myself and joined a month after arriving in Canada. It was one of the decisions I’ll never regret in my life.”
The weekly meetings of Newcomer youth were inclusive and welcoming. The group bonded quickly, and gave Ming Yi the sense of belonging she was looking for, during a difficult period of adjustment for her in a new country.
“Toronto’s pace is slower than that of Beijing, which made me somewhat anxious,” she explains, adding that it was new to have to book things like dental appointments ahead of time. “NYLD exposed me to more occasions where I learned to plan ahead, such as scheduling my activities.”
Additionally, Ming Yi had the chance to refine her English, and make new friends who were in similar situations, many of which she is still close with today – five years later. Now in her second year of Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, Ming Yi credits NYLD with helping her reach her goals.
“NYLD gave me to the opportunity to explore my interests by offering workshops from various organizations. I am determined to pursue a career in environmental advocacy because of the first workshop I attended at NYLD. The impact NYLD had on me was tremendous, and the experience was truly priceless.”
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