Healthy Families, Healthy Communities (HFHC) is a program for newcomer families supported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The program supports newcomers to recognize and address abuse and violence within their family and community. Newcomers have the opportunity to participate in initiatives that prevent family and community violence and create space for sharing and learning about life in Canada.

How does it work?

Canadians and long-standing immigrants from the Iranian, Afghan, Somali and Tamil communities are trained to become peer leaders and community facilitators. Peer leaders and facilitators create a welcoming environment within their communities for newcomer parents, women, seniors and youth and help them understand how to integrate their cultural practices, behaviours and expectations into a Canadian context.

HFHC program provides workshops and peer-support groups which offer newcomers the opportunity to connect with people who speak their language and understand their culture, support each other, identify issues they feel are of concern, share stories, practise speaking English, discuss strategies for solving problems and reflect on their experience.

HFHC for parents

Community facilitators lead workshops for parents on a variety of topics including:

  • Canadian rights and laws
  • Parenting issues
  • Communication skills
  • Navigating the Canadian education system,
  • Stress and anger management
  • Community resources
  • Inter-generational issues and prevent family violence.

HFHC for youth

Community facilitators and peer leaders also lead workshops for youth on a variety of topics including:

  • Self-awareness, self-identity and self-esteem
  • The rights of youth
  • Culture shock
  • Peer pressure
  • Healthy and unhealthy family dynamics
  • Leadership skills
  • How to navigate the educational system, and
  • Other topics of interest

About youth peer support groups and leaders

Peer support groups take place in a youth-friendly and culturally-appropriate space, which may be in an agency, a community centre or within a high school.

When appropriate, there are separate female and male peer support groups. The groups are led by trained young adult, peer leaders who understand the culture and speak the language of the participants. They facilitate the group and provide support and resources.

The peer leaders have received intensive training and education in anti-violence work, human rights and Canadian law, conflict mediation and stress management. They all work within an anti-racist, anti-oppression framework. Conversation circles led by a peer leader are used to facilitate discussions and sharing in the support groups.

For more information about the Healthy Families Healthy Communities project, please contact Janet Wilson, VAW Program Manager at 416-755-5565 ext. 422.

Resources

Abuse and abuse prevention for:

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