In September 2013 Alex’s father encouraged him to sign up at Poly Cultural Immigrant Community Services for the Youth Achievers (YA) program. At 18, Alex was very shy, so adjusting to life in Canada after immigrating was difficult for him. “We want him to become more social with others,” Alex’s father explained to the Youth Achievers Staff. “His mother and I hope that this program will help.”

On the first night, the Youth Achievers staff engaged Alex in team discussions and games, watching him slowly open up to his team members. As the weeks went on, Alex thrived. He became active online by commenting in the YA Facebook group, and distributing YA materials offline. By the end of the six week program, Alex developed into a YA leader.

In the YA staff’s words “Youth Achievers changed Alex for the better. Where there were issues concerning social inclusion and not fitting in as a newcomer, he found a sense of belonging with a group of immigrants and citizens alike.”

When you give to United Way, you give more than an afterschool program to an at-risk youth. You give them the possibility to belong, during their most turbulent years.