Initiative: Weekend School for Newcomer Turkish Learners

Project Coordinator: Ayse Yigit

Objective: To support the confidence, belonging, and mental health of Turkish
students by continuing the Youth Academy that operated in the 2019-2020 school year.
This initiative created a culturally responsive, community-based space for learning and
cultural gathering led by members of the community, in partnership with community

The Youth Academy:

● began in September of 2019 in 3 locations (Maple-Woodbridge, North York,
Markham) and moved online in March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions
● Supported close to 275 students
● Was supported by approximately:
● 35 volunteer teachers
● 45 student volunteers (secondary and university students)
● Provided a variety of classes and activities including Tae-Kwon-Do, home-
language learning, guidance, arts (e.g., calligraphy, water marbling, etc.),
mindfulness, literacy (including traditional folklore)

This project will use an asset-based approach in which the values and knowledge of the
Turkish community will be celebrated while meaningful newcomer support is provided
and social and cultural community needs are met. Students will know they, their
languages, their cultures, and their well-being are valued and cared for.

Operated, led and supported by volunteers from within the Turkish community, the
Youth Academy will operate out of three locations. These serve the Woodbridge-Maple,
North York, and Richmond Hill-Markham areas. Community partners are providing
space for the Woodbridge-Maple and North York areas. Space for Richmond Hill-
Markham is being sought. This project is being led by Ayse Yigit, Community
Partnership Developer supporting the Turkish community in the York Region District
School Board, who is volunteering her time for the purpose of meeting the community’s

Contact Information;
1- For Vaughan location, Mrs Ceyda, Phone # (437) 986-2339
2- For Markham/Richmond Hill location, Mrs Gulbahar, Phone # (647) 542-9696
3- For North York/Etobicoke location, Mrs Derya, Phone # (514) 652-6584