Y Pride Stories | Coming Out: A Journey of Loss & Triumph

Y Pride Stories | Coming Out: A Journey of Loss & Triumph

Saint John Pride Week is happening from August 3 – 8. It’s a time to celebrate the progress we’ve made and to raise awareness of what more needs to be done. In observance of Pride, we invited a member of our team to discuss their experiences with culture and religion in coming out and immigrating to Canada.

Living in Lebanon, a westernized, Middle Eastern country, my coming out journey had mixed repercussions. Before I came out, I had been leading Lebanese sports as a high-achieving athlete. But that did not matter when my Taekwondo teammates outed me to my head coach. The result was my removal from the national squad and the loss of decades-old friendships with others.

In ironic contrast, I was out and felt safe at the Catholic school where I had been a student and, […]

August 3rd, 2021|

Y Blog | Getting More Out of Your Day

Y Blog | Five Steps to Getting More Out of Your Day

Author | Giscard El Khouri, Language Program Supervisor with YMCA Newcomer Connections

In a world where we are always rushing to get things done, we most of the time find ourselves have accomplished nothing. We feel that neither the fight nor the flight mechanism is functioning, but more like frozen. 

How can we change that?

Time is a concept, and we are not all set up biologically the same way. We have to adjust to what fits our cycle. Studies show that there are early risers and night owls. Which one are you? Don’t get carried away by what you see or hear in the media- “early risers get the worm”; but night owls get to grab late opportunities. Opportunities, whatever they were, do not have a schedule. Did it ever cross your mind […]

June 1st, 2021|

May Flowers – Blooming Ideas for a Potential ‘Stay Home Summer’

By Laura Greer, Supervisor of Quispamsis & Rothesay Child Care sites

Well folks, it’s been more than a year since COVID-19 graced us with its presence… note the sarcasm. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’m ready to have a semi-normal summer if possible! I’ve been craving travelling to somewhere hot, but I know that won’t happen for a while, so day trips and local areas will have to do! Luckily for us, the Atlantic Bubble has some pretty wonderful locations, but if we can’t include Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, there’s still plenty to do here in New Brunswick! Below are some options for you and the family to enjoy!

Day Trip/Weekend Trip Ideas:

May 28th, 2021|

Y Blog: Volunteers with Newcomer Connections Arrival Team plays many roles


(Editor’s Note: Volunteers at the YMCA of Greater Saint John are changing lives every day and this is especially true for those helping at Newcomer Connections. The following Y Blog is told by several Arrivals Team volunteers at the YMCA of Greater Saint John’s Newcomer Connections.)

Airport meetings are heartwarming and emotional

My journey as a volunteer with our newcomers was, and still is, very rewarding.

I began in January 2016 as a welcome team leader, with our church, to help with the influx of newcomers from Syria and other countries who came to Canada.

I spent, along with others, many interesting days and nights finding living accommodations, driving people to information sessions, grocery shopping, helping set up banking, making beds, cleaning, hanging curtains, playing with the children, serving food and so on.

The most rewarding […]

April 16th, 2021|

Y Blog | March Madness – A short note on your wellbeing

By Laura Greer, Supervisor of Quispamsis & Rothesay Child Care sites

While the weather has been back and forth, thankfully, spring is near! March Break has just finished, but for many of us, there was no break at all. Whether you’re working, studying, or at home, things can get overwhelming, and fast. How are you feeling? What are you doing to look after yourself?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to reflect and step back for a moment. What is it that’s making things difficult? Is it something you can ask for help with? Have you taken a break in a while?

March may only be the 3rd month of the year, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a difficult one. Sometimes, if we get too caught up in our own thoughts, worries, and fears, we miss the positive moments that are happening around us. Watch the movie […]

March 10th, 2021|

Y Blog | My First Seven Days in Canada

Y Blog | My First Seven Days in Canada

My name is Anna Morneault and I’m a Language Instructor at YMCA Newcomer Connections. Not so long ago, I was a newcomer myself, when I came to Canada from Jerusalem with my 10-year-old son. Since my arrival, I have found my calling: helping others who have undertaken the journey of immigration in transitioning to life and culture in their new homes through the Y.

Click the toggles below to read my first-person, day-by-day account of the beginning of my life here in Canada.

When My Journey to Canada Began

When we first landed in Toronto, we were held by customs. We rushed through the terminal train while pieces of the unfamiliar cold white wonder caressed my cheek. I felt as though I was on a roller coaster, both physically and emotionally, as I was running and pushing the luggage […]

February 10th, 2021|

Y Blog | New Year, Now What? Setting SMART Goals for 2021

Y Blog | New Year, Now What? Setting SMART Goals for 2021

New Year, New You: Start Now!

Why is it so difficult to stick with resolutions? A new year rolls around and you have all of these ideas, dreams, and goals you want to tackle during the next 12 months. January flies by and you say, “The New Year is still fresh – I’ll start in February,” but it gets pushed off again, and again, and unfortunately, again. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we stick with it? Why aren’t we working towards what we really want?

Everyone’s answers will be different but one of the common threads is that our goals aren’t SMART. Setting SMART goals is a way of staying on track and a way of setting yourself up for success in accomplishing your goals, big or small. Thinking SMART can help us […]

January 26th, 2021|

Y Blog | Family Activities to Combat the Winter Blues

Y Blog | Family Activities to Combat the Winter Blues

by Mika Edison, Child Care Supervisor

You’ve read it everywhere this year: these are unprecedented times. Throughout 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, families have been experiencing heightened stress around changes in their routines, such as breaks in the continuity of learning, changes at work, the loss of security and safety, and so much more. 

Now that the weather is turning cold, families are facing a December holiday season unlike any other in the past. We won’t be able to have our big celebrations, extra family time, or build on long-standing traditions to keep our families and communities safe — and it’s okay to feel stressed, or anxious, or overwhelmed (or all of the above). It is, however, important — now more than ever — to focus on the mental health and wellness of yourself and your family. 

December 21st, 2020|

Y Blog | The Power of Reading

The Power of Reading: Setting Your Kids Up for Success with Literacy

I have always loved reading, and seven years ago, I got the opportunity to join the publishing world back in my hometown: Mexico City. I was excited and, although I didn’t have much experience in the sector, I took on the challenge and learned the ropes of the magnificent publishing world.

Since then, I have been collaborating with educational publishers. In 2015, I participated in a project to distribute products from Highlights for Children in Latin America. At that point, I learned hard data about the power of reading on children’s development and how little changes have large effects.

The love of reading is one of the best skills we can teach our kids to set them up for success. Reading has proven to increase standardized test scores, be an indicator of future success, strengthen academic performance, and […]

November 17th, 2020|

Hygge – Simple Ways to Stay Cozy and Happy this Season

Written by Laura Greer | Quispamsis Education Supervisor

Hygge – Simple Ways to Stay Cozy and Happy this Season

Grab your coziest blanket, your favorite hot drink, and snuggle up to read some of the easiest ways to enjoy life a little more this season.

September and October are a few of my favorite months. The air is crisp and cool in the mornings, the smell of fall is winding through the trees, and landscapes start to transform into beautiful, picturesque scenes of color. Unfortunately, this season can also bring a feeling of uneasiness, so my goal is to share a few tips on how to find happiness in the small, simple moments throughout these uncertain times!

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a word used to describe coziness and contentment in our everyday life. Hygge, a noun, is a quality of coziness and comfortable pleasantness that brings a feeling of contentment or well-being […]

October 20th, 2020|
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