India Rainbow organized a picnic for their Day Program participants on Thursday, August 25 for which they had chosen a beautiful site, Heart Lake conservatory in Brampton. We were 28 members all above the age of 60 years. It was a beautiful day for picnic. The weather was a mix of sunshine, clouds and sudden showers. The staff got a complete charge of the numerous activities and programs that started with serving breakfast and a hot cup of tea/coffee, followed by a walking tour of the lake park. Some of them were walking with the canes, walkers, rolators and some pulled on wheel chairs by staff. The participants later wrote in a prompt to account their expressions and experiences about the trip to Heart Lake Park, which was described as a place in heaven with manicure lawns, tall pine trees and a beautiful lake. The main event of the day was a sumptuous lunch served by the staff with a smile who deserves our heart felt thanks and appreciation for organizing such a wonderful event. The last item of the program was a spontaneous competition of Indian songs and music called Antakshri.
Written by one of our Day Program participant of Brampton site
More than 40 youth and their family members participated in the family picnic organized by the Youth Leadership Development project by India Rainbow. The purpose of the picnic was to engage the families of the youth mentors and mentees in an informal gathering with lots of games, songs, activities and of course South Asian food.
The aim of the project is to meet the unique needs of South Asian youth who are experiencing lack of motivation for education, or are forced to leave school by fearful parents, or youth who are at risk or have already abandoned their career and vocational goals. Issues arising when dealing with duality of cultures or a developmental disability are also addressed. The program focuses on empowering youth to make crucial links between western and eastern perceptions of interpersonal relationships, education, social norms and cultural identities; and the impact these perceptions will have on their future as adults. Swati Shah, Project Coordinator, says that the purpose of the picnic was to bring the mentors and mentees together with their families, so the parents could meet the mentors. Most importantly, the parents must know and trust the mentors – with whom their kids will be spending a lot of time during this 8 week project.
Arsheen Sangha, a two time Youth Mentor is passionate about this issue as she can relate to the experiences of these youngsters. She says that she faced
racism, bullying and teasing when she came here as a 10 year old with her family from Oman. Based on her personal experience, Arsheen wants to help these youngsters develop self-esteem and hopes to take this experience with her when she gets into teaching as a career. On the other side, 13 years old
Ayaz, who came with his parents and younger brother to their first picnic in Canada, hails from Jammu and Kashmir. Ayaz has been here only 3 months. At the picnic he learnt football from Shaun, another program participant. Ayaz and his parents actively participated in the games, winning a few prizes too. He also got a taste of Canada when he and his younger brother went bowling with the mentors. Ayaz plays the guitar, will be starting grade 8 in September, and is being acclimatized by the mentors.
The hot sunny day in Chingacousy Park in Brampton was thus a perfect setting for this project being funded by the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration. The project hopes to empower these youth to live with a blend of Canadian and South Asian cultures so that they are not torn between the aspirations of their parents and the pressures from their peers.