SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The YMCA of Greater Saint John, in partnership with the provincial government, today introduced the Newcomer Youth On-Ramp Program designed to help young immigrants better transition into the community.

“To grow our economy, we must grow our population,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “To grow our population, we need to keep New Brunswickers here, bring them back here, and welcome new Canadians here. It is not an either-or conversation. We need all three to happen at the same time.”

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will provide $118,116 over three years, under the Immigrant Settlement Support Funding Program, for the development of the program.

“This project means a great deal to the YMCA because it meets an urgent community need,” said Shilo Boucher, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Saint John. “It engages youth and it champions diversity, and leverages and connects two areas in which we work to build healthy communities: youth programming and newcomer services. By supporting youth as they transition into the community, we are building a pathway to the future for all newcomer youth and we are excited that we are able to launch this new initiative in Saint John.”

Once established, it will become a part of the regular programming at the Greater Saint John YMCA. The program will add to the existing Newcomer Connections Centre by assisting youth make community connections with others and fully integrate in the community through participation in leadership programs.