ARCHIVED - Chapter 2 – Conclusion

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This chapter has traced the steps that immigrants take as they integrate into their new Canadian home. But as much as a home is never a finished product but always a work in progress, the arrival of newcomers inevitably changes what Canada means to old and new Canadians. Canada's new Francophone spaces will not be the same as the French-Canadian communities of yesteryear. The French language increasingly becomes a bridge that allows new and established Francophones to build new communities. These new communities will be composed of Francophones with many different identities; they will be heterogeneous groups with a common linguistic thread. As these changes take place neither should established communities disappear nor newcomers need to sacrifice cultural aspects connected to their own Francophone worlds. Both can co-exist and complement each other to bring about new ways of leading one's life in one of Canada's official languages. Yet it is only with such a common linguistic umbrella in place that Francophone newcomers and their children will be able to reach the final yet crucial stage of immigration and be in a position to contribute to the common project of a shared francophonie.

Centre des jeunes francophones de Toronto

Testimony

Located in the heart of Toronto at the corner of Yonge and College, the Centre des jeunes francophones de Toronto (formerly known as the Groupe jeunesse francophone de Toronto and the Regroupement des jeunes filles francophones de Toronto) occupies a couple of second-floor offices. Most of the young people targeted by the Centre's activities come from Francophone visible-minority immigrant families. Creating economic opportunities and promoting social integration are the main issues focused on by the Centre. There are no membership fees and the Centre receives funding from all levels of government and private foundations. As much as possible, the young people are called upon to contribute their skills back to the organization. The extent of the talent pool represented by those young volunteers is evident in the professionally designed leaflets and website. The Centre can be reached at http://www.mounas.com/External site (in French only). The Centre's director, Léonie Tchatat, highlights two programs she is particularly proud of. La Clé du succès: Programme d'excellence pour les jeunes Francophones des minorités raciales et ethnoculturelles is an extracurricular program that was started in January 2001 as a pilot project. It targets mostly black Francophone high school students at three Francophone public schools in Toronto. Successful black Francophone professionals are invited to speak at Francophone high schools where they become both mentors and role models for students. In their presentations, they explain to students what it takes to become successful. Léonie is convinced that the motivational boost has been immeasurable. Among the first group of 71 students, their teachers noted a marked increase in self-confidence. Most of them come from disadvantaged family backgrounds. The program has instilled positive attitudes towards studying and made them more interested in undertaking volunteer work. The mentors continue to act as personal resources in the students' career planning.

The second program targets young women who are beyond high school age and would like to work in the customer service industry. Pas à pas ­ La clé de votre réussite is an integrated work-study program that started in the fall of 2001. Participants will spend 35 hours in the classroom and 45 hours working as cashiers and other service personnel in retail shops with whom the Centre has established partnerships. Training covers basic customer service techniques, business English, simple calculations, basic computing skills and the drawing up of a résumé.

From 1999 until October 2002, the Centre (and its predecessors) more than doubled the annual number of young people reached through its activities from 3,000 to nearly 6,000.

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