July-August 2016 Newsletter
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Kanar Youssif
Work Study Student

In this newsletter, we'd like to introduce a member of our team! Kanar is a work/study student at the CEC, and she has a keen interest in serving and assisting others.  She was born in Iraq, and her background is Armenian.  Prior to becoming a Canadian citizen, Kanar and her family lived in Syria for eight years where she obtained her high school diploma.  She developed a passion for writing, especially Arabic short stories and poems.  Her work has been featured in Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese newspapers. Ambitiously, she published her first book, 'Yes to Surrender' in 2011.

In 2014, Kanar was well on her way to achieving academic success when she received her diploma at Emery Adult Learning Centre. She pursued her academic career by successfully completing the Women's Bridging Program at the CEC.  Now, she is a York University undergrad student at the Glendon Campus. Kanar is double majoring in International Studies and Sociology. She's a vibrant and kind member of our team at the Community Engagement Center.

Arab Conversation Circle

Kanar has been a helpful member in assisting the Arabic Conservation Circle, which is organized by the ***Working Women community centre. The circle is an English learning session for new comers from Syria. 

***Conversation circle is organized by Working Women and not Jane Finch Community & Family Centre as previously stated.

Catalyst Grant Deadline Extended to: Wednesday, August 31st

The York-TD Community Engagement Centre is pleased to announce our “call out” for our 2016-2017 Catalyst Grants.

This grant is intended to build bridges between community residents and York University. Funding applicants are encouraged to develop a project strengthening and building capacity on community based initiatives.

Please refer to the catalyst grant criteria 2016-2017. For further questions, please contact us at, or visit our website.
First Year Network Dinner, June 2016

First Year Student Network

Year Two: Support Program

On June 24th, the York-TD CEC hosted its 2nd Annual Jane Finch First Year Network Celebration Dinner. The dinner serves as opportunity to launch the coming  year’s installment of the First Year Network (FYN) program as well as honor the achievements of graduating high school students from local the community who will be attending York University in the fall.
FYN is a program that consists of first year students from the local Jane Finch/Black Creek community attending York University and was created to nurture a peer network among first year students. The network invests in developing skills that first year students will need to succeed in university, as well as builds upon leadership skills that are developed in local high schools.
At the dinner,  attendees met students from different high schools and shared their learning with each other.  Students engaged in various team building activities and discussed their fear and anticipation of attending university. Andrew Newsome, local community member and student at York University, was the evening’s guest speaker. He stressed the importance of communication and making meaningful connections with resources available to students on campus as key pillars to their academic success.  Newsome also spoke about dealing with stigma of being from Jane and Finch and encouraged students to use their difference as an asset.

“We are listening and we are responding" says Nathan Stern, Community Projects Coordinator at the CEC.  Students provided feedback on a new component of FYN, the First Generation Student Support Pilot Program, which builds upon the work of FYN. It will provide more individualized supports to 10 local first year/first gen students at York.
Stern, in his second year overseeing this program,  says that the community wanted to see more intentional efforts made to support Jane-Finch/Black Creek students through the process of leaving high school and entering post-secondary education.

“Through listening and being responsive, we have created an additional component to the FYN program, which is our First Generation Student Support Program. It was designed to provide individualized supports to identified students from the area entering York University", Stern explains.

Stern continues: "We spent a lot of time this year working with over 250 high school students in the community through workshops, one-on-one consultations, and supporting school initiatives. This gave us an opportunity to find out what the CEC’s fit and role in the community could be, in terms of post-secondary attainment.  With over 40 students signed up for FYN this year, they will all receive post-secondary transition support with the option of signing up for the First Generation Support Program".

For more information on the First Year Network, contact Nathan Stern, Community Projects Coordinator, at 416-736-2100 ext. 20318, or by email:

Women who are interested in going to York

Check out our Bridging Course for Women

York University Offers

Academic Bridging Course for Women

Sponsored by the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
in cooperation with the York University – TD Community Engagement Centre

Learn … in a supportive group environment
Improve … reading, writing and speaking skills
Explore … your education options and potential
Prepare … for future university study

Course participants must be 20 years of age or over, permanent residents of Ontario, and comfortable in both spoken and written English. A grade of 'B' or better offers admission to mature students to the Faculties of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Glendon College, in addition to some programs in other Faculties.

The Bridging course is not appropriate if you require ESL instruction. If you have completed one full year or more of university or academic college studies, you may not need a Bridging course as an admissions credential.


YORKGATE MALL (located on the 2nd floor beside Dollarama)
1 York Gate Boulevard (Jane & Finch)
North York, ON M3N 3A1

Wednesdays: 12:30pm - 3:30pm
Start Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
End Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 12:30pm
YorkU-CEC, Yorkgate Mall,

Fee: $150.00 + Books (Limited Enrollment)

For further information:
Call the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, 416-736-2100 ext. 77818
or visit This program is subsidized by York University as part of its community outreach program.
Copyright © 2016 York University - TD Community Engagement Centre, All rights reserved.

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