Canada World Youth seeks host families

Canada World Youth is looking for nine families to host one Canadian and one Mozambican youth for their stay in Whitehorse from Oct. 2 to Dec. 17.

Canada World Youth is looking for nine families to host one Canadian and one Mozambican youth for their stay in Whitehorse from Oct. 2 to Dec. 17.

Nine youth from P.E.I., Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and B.C. and nine youth from Mozambique will be volunteering for the two and a half months in various local non-profits as part of the group’s program. They will be helping with recycling, feeding the needy, maintaining homeless shelters and performing tasks within the non-profits they are assigned to.

There are two parts to the program: first, the Canadian youth are partnered with a young person from abroad and volunteer in that country. Then, they are sent together to a Canadian city to help out and learn about Canadian culture.

The youth, who are 17-23 years old, will be flying in after they have volunteered in an orphanage and helped clean up the city of Inhambane in Mozambique.

The program has yielded tangible results. A former Canadian participant fundraised $12,000 after seeing the orphanage’s conditions and observing that its cribs, unchanged since the 1960s, were unsafe, said the program’s co-ordinator Simon Schachner.

This year, the volunteers will install new cribs, which were purchased from the fundraising, he said. They might also be teaching Mozambicans how to compost this year, which is an improvement from last year’s waste management program.

Youth tend not to know what they want to do after high school or university and the program helps guide them in the right direction, said Schachner.

That’s precisely what happened with Devon Graham, 20-year Yukon resident, who volunteered in the Ukraine when he was 18.

Graham thought that having a job and paying for his own place after high school was an “unconquerable obstacle.”

“Canada World Youth was the perfect segue because it brought me somewhere that I’ve never seen before and would never have seen myself otherwise,” Graham said.

After volunteering with Raven Recycling for the Canadian portion of the program, Graham moved from his hometown of Chilliwack, B.C., to Whitehorse after the non-profit enterprise offered him a job.

Making youth from two different cultures live together for a few months forces them to understand each other and see the global impact of their actions, said Graham. “It’s really big on personal growth training.”

Graham now works at a group home in Whitehorse. The program gave him the “confidence and experience” that led him to eventually work with youth, he said.

A stipend of $168 per week is offered to host families to cover food and groceries for the pair of youth.

“We hope they integrate, take part in a lot of discussions,” Schachner said of the potential hosts.

He encourages people who are interested in hosting to call as soon possible, as he leaves for Mozambique on July 10. Schachner may be reached at 334-3293.

Since the non-profit’s establishment, approximately 36,000 youth have volunteered in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Contact Krystle Alarcon at