Speak Up! Winners, Spring 2011

The Newcomer Youth Narrative: a Digital Storytelling Project by the Parkdale Collegiate Institute (Toronto)


The project envisions the creation of an interactive, multimedia website that gives communities access to the digital narratives of newcomer youth. Youth will participate in workshops on digital storytelling and will then be supported in recording their pear’s stories. The stories will be recorded in the student subjects’ first languages, and will then be translated by youth themselves. Some students have not been able to share their stories because of language barriers, an experience common to many newcomers across Canada. This site will be multilingual to facilitate responses to myths and build understanding of the lives of youth from a range of groups.  As many youth in the school community are refugees, the use of audio storytelling will maintain the relative anonymity of participants. Imagery such as photographs, artwork etc. will be used to build on narratives. The concept of working together and producing the site itself will act to remove barriers and unveil falsehoods. We hope that the process will have as much impact as the product.


The Parkdale Collegiate Institute:

The group is made up of a collective of teachers, refugee and immigrant youth students and community advocates. The group is well positioned to Speak Up! about newcomer youth experiences as a school in the centre of one of Canada’s primary settlement neighbourhoods – Parkdale, Toronto. The daily experiences of newcomer youth at Parkdale Collegiate Institute are often poignant, untold stories.





Video to Debunk Myths about Newcomer Youth by the Action Team (Vancouver)


The Action Team will create a video debunking the myths that newcomer youth are stupid/uneducated/illiterate and that immigrants and refugees take jobs away from “Canadians.” This video will be translated into French with the use of subtitles. Once the video is finished, Action Team will hold a video launch party bringing together community organizations in Vancouver. They will then show the video at various community events, high schools, post secondary institutes, etc, to raise awareness and educate the public on myths associated with immigrant and refugee youth.

The Action Team:

The Action Team is made of immigrant and refugee youths, between the ages of 14 and 24 years old. The members of this group are committed to and passionate about creating a welcoming environment for other newcomer youths to help them adapt to Canadian society. Action Team consists of youth from many different parts of this world, and they consider their cultural diversity as one of the strongest aspects of the group. Their vision is to be advocates for immigrant and refugee youths by providing continuous support.


Art and Poetry Battles to Debunk Myths about Newcomer Youth by Global Effects (Edmonton)


Global Effects will hold a community discussion on the myths and stereotypes that newcomer youth face in Edmonton in order to identify powerful messages and images that could help to debunk these myths, bringing together approximately 20-30 newcomer youth. Local artists will then offer an art workshop to discussion participants, inspiring and encouraging them to express visually their own ideas about the CCR Youth Network’s Debunking Myths about Newcomer Youth Campaign. Global Effects will use the best designs to produce T-Shirts, posters and flyers which will be distributed amongst community organizations in Edmonton and make them easily accessible to newcomer youth advocates across Canada. These resources will not only have served to develop new skills and new connections between newcomer youth in Edmonton, they will also serve to educate the public about newcomer youth realities in local communities across the country.

Global Effects:

Global Effects is a youth community group that brings together youth leaders from different parts of the world to educate other youth about the global effects of using drugs. They do this through dramatization, documentary video presentations and conversations. Thousands of people get killed in many countries in order to get drugs to their destinations, others lose their families, others their hopes and dreams, and the people who try to address this problem often forget about how many youth get caught in this cycle. This is where Global Effects plans on becoming one with the youth and showing them that there are people in the world who care about the issue beyond the health problems. Furthermore, they want to address and debunk the stereotypes that have been imposed on peoples from drug-producing countries, and show that youth, no matter where they come from, can make both positive and negative choices in their lives.