Community Development

Community Engagement and Training

Community engagement and development strategies and projects support the social integration and belonging of children, youth, adults, and families in our communities. MRCSSI facilitates programs and projects that enhance the well-being and resiliency of individuals and families.

MRCSSI’s work in the community encompasses:

  • Outreach, relationship building, and engagement
  • Adult and parent workshops
  • Youth programs and community leadership
  • Programs for upper elementary aged children
  • Special projects with community partners


Special Project: Forward Together - Family Visits

This is one of our favourite projects of 2018! MRCSSI partnered with Eagle Heights Public School/Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) to pilot a Family Visits process as part of the Forward Together project. This project focused on supporting newcomer students in JK and SK in their learning and belonging and highlighted the value of partnership and collaboration.

Eagle Heights Public School has 8 JK and SK classrooms with a high number of newcomer students in each class. The Family Visit process was modeled after best practice guidelines put forth by family engagement expert Dr. Debbie Pushor. Throughout October 2018, teachers and Early Childhood Educators from each of the 8 JK and SK classrooms visited 3 students and their parents. In total, 18 JK/SK educators visited 24 families at home together with staff of MRCSSI, who served as cultural brokers and interpreters.

The Family Visit process positively impacted everyone involved. The Family Visits opened up opportunities for parents and educators to interact with one another outside of the classroom setting in an informal manner, inviting new conversations and pathways for relationship building. The positive relationship dynamics that were seeded within the family visit strengthened educator/student and educator/parent relationships and interactions at school. This project demonstrates how educators/schools, families and community agencies can, and need to, work together in order to support newcomer children in their resilience and success.

Our Work in the Community: 2018

Children & Youth

Children & Youth Throughout 2018, MRCSSI engaged and built relationships with 71 high-school aged newcomer youth, 49 unique high-school aged female and male youth were actively engaged participants or leaders within programs and projects. During this same time, MRCSSI carried out programs for elementary aged girls both in school and after-school and in community with 64 elementary-aged newcomer children.In addition, MRCSSI was part of Thames Valley District School Board’s (TVDSB) Newcomer Summer School program July 2018. A team of 14 young people facilitated spoken word and creative writing activities with approximately 110 elementary-aged newcomer students. MRCSSI also facilitated two Leadership groups at London Islamic School with 21 students grades 4 to 8.

Parent Workshops

Parent Workshops MRCSSI developed and facilitated 18 workshops for newcomer adults and parents engaging a total of 79 unique individuals. These interactive workshops were facilitated in Arabic and in collaboration with Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and/or community partners, including London Cross Cultural Learner’s Center and LUSO Community Services. Workshops created a space for exploring parenting in a new country, integration experiences and stressors, as well as parent self-care. Parent feedback identified that workshops addressed topics relevant to their lives, helped them to feel more connected to the school and staff, community agencies and peers, supported their sense of wellbeing, and provided them with helpful information and strategies.

Project: Young Men Leading Change

MRCSSI is excited to be a partner on this 3-year collaborative provincial project led by Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW). In London, Young Men Leading Change is carried out in partnership with Anova.

Men Leading Change is a 12-week youth leadership program that connects racialized and newcomer men (ages 15-25) with community leaders working to prevent gender-based violence (GBV). This project fits into MRCSSI’s community education strategy addressing gender-based violence and promoting healthy relationships by facilitating opportunities leadership and action.

This leadership program creates opportunities for young men to learn about gender-based violence and it’s impacts on girls and women, as well as develop strategies to further raise awareness with peers. This project started in the fall of 2018. Anova and MRCSSI reached out to the YMCA YMAP program to host a cohort. In October 2018, the first cohort reached 23 high-school aged newcomer male youth, with 13 participants actively attending each week.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide culturally integrative services that build capacity to help individuals, families and communities to overcome challenges, manage conflict and ensure safety and wellbeing.