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Newcomer Services - Welcoming Communities

Structured mentorship for kids and youth new to Canada in TDSB elementary, middle, secondary and alternative schools

Due to COVID-19, our staff are currently offering both in-person and virtual programming for newcomer kids and youth. In-person sessions are provided in strict adherence to health and safety procedures, as directed by Toronto Public Health and TDSB.

Transitioning to a new country be challenging for kids and youth. The Welcoming Communities program helps elementary, middle, and secondary school students feel engaged and at ease as they integrate into their new communities in Canada.

Welcoming Communities is a structured mentorship program that operates within TDSB schools – at no cost to students or the school.

Read about the impact that the Welcoming Communities program has had on students and school staff in Toronto. Or, watch the video below for a peek!


What schools and students can expect from Welcoming Communities

Here are a few examples of mentorship programming and activities that we provide schools – at no cost:

  • Homework clubs
  • English conversation circles
  • Sports and recreational activities
  • Table tennis lessons
  • A Reading Buddy program
  • Music instruction (Steel pan drum lessons, pan African drums, ukulele)
  • Field trips
  • Culturally based culinary program

“I learned leadership skills and confidence. I made many new friends, learned about others, and had a fun time. This program taught me life skills which I can use in many ways at home and at school and even when I grow up.” – Arna, an elementary school student who participated in Welcoming Communities

“Thank you so much Ms. Charlotte and Ms. Sofia for inspiring us to write these books... I am so grateful to have you in my life and you made my dreams come true cause I always wanted to write a book. Thank you for spending hours on us. You guys brought happiness to our lives." – Somia, who participated in the Welcoming Communities Creative Writing program


Bring Welcoming Communities to your school

We have witnessed amazing results and received positive feedback from students and school staff alike about our program. Please read about the impact of our programming on program participants and schools.

Interested in bringing Welcoming Communities to your school? Contact us or fill in the form below to get started.

Please see the Notice of Information Collection at the bottom of this page.

“In the Fall of 2020, the Welcoming Communities program staff introduced a lunch-time dance club for newcomer students…. The hope was to entice students to remain at school for lunch and increase their likelihood of classroom attendance for the afternoon. With a parent volunteer, a guest dancer, guitar player and some costumes the club grew from three girls to more than twenty girls and boys. Staff noticed students feeling an increase connection to the school and students from who were fighting over cultural differences had become friends.” – Welcoming Communities Program Staff

Discover more about Welcoming Communities:

Contact Us

If you are a student new to Canada (5 years or less), parent or guardian, community partner, or TDSB staff interested in learning more about our program, please contact us:
Call us at 416-393-0288
Email us at

Notice of Information Collection:
Notice of Collection and Use of Personal Information: Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of sections 58(5), 169.1-173  and 189 of the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.2 and will be used to plan, administer, deliver and promote the Toronto District School Board (“TDSB”) Community Services programs and initiatives, as well as for statistical purposes. This information is retained in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M56 and will be shared with authorized TDSB staff and the TDSB authorized service provider(s) in order to administer the above purposes. Questions about this collection should be directed to Cristina Graida, TDSB Community Services Coordinator at , or at 5050 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M2N 5N8.