As an already active student in Mississauga with leadership roles on MYAC, Red Cross YAC and as a Student Trustee for the Peel School Board, Kaustav Chaudhuri identified an emerging need and decided to create his own initiative to address it.
“My inspiration behind starting this program was based around the fact that many newcomers are not aware of the level of opportunities that can be found in their community when they first come to Canada,” Kaustav shares. “Now, in secondary school, having these opportunities at your fingertips is crucial in order to stand out on college/university applications — this is where I saw clear disparity between newcomers and the other youth.”
Kaustav explains that often, newcomer students applying to postsecondary institutions “have brilliant marks, but when it comes to extracurricular activities, their profiles are often lacking”. So his organization Newcomers without Borders aims to eliminate this disparity by providing the newcomer students with a clear platform to get out into the community and immerse themselves in leadership and volunteering opportunities that are relevant to their interests and future aspirations.
The main goal of Newcomers without Borders is to pair youth who are new to the community with experienced mentors to help build extracurricular profiles, increasing their level of success in various future endeavours. The youth-led organization welcomes newcomers with open arms into the youth community of Mississauga in a simple, non-intimidating manner, providing a strong sense of community throughout the mentorship program.
“ACCESS Innovation was instrumental in helping get this idea off of the ground — it was Daniel Francavilla who had helped me decide how condensed this program would be during the period of inception. The entire concept of using a system through which mentees with specific needs would be paired with exclusive mentors was guided by ACCESS.”
Beyond support with Program Development, a visual identity design was developed to represent the program. “ACCESS was also very gracious in designing both my logo and also linking me to another youth-led grassroots group, Cipher, who had helped me design my website,” Kaustav explains.
“Overall, it has been an extraordinary experience working with ACCESS on this project so far, and I am very excited to see what the future holds for Newcomers without Borders.”
To apply for support for your own initiative or to learn more about the ACCESS Innovation program, visit accessinnovation.ca.