Promoting mental-health wellness through sport and recreational activities in Ottawa lower and middle-income neighbourhoods.
We are determined to eliminate the sports participation gap so that we improve mental well-being and reduce social isolation for children and youth from lower and middle-income newcomers, refugees and immigrant families in Ottawa.
We implement our programs aligning with core values of inclusivity, affordability, fun and fair and social development which lead away to a quality experience for all our participants.
ANYO will always implement practices and policies that promote equal access to opportunities and resources for all our participants. All our participants are encouraged to freely share their ideas and thoughts, help others and make the environment welcoming for everyone.
To increase accessibility and reduce/eliminate barriers to participation in our soccer programs, we eliminated all the financial costs associated with our soccer program.
Both participants and volunteers of our soccer programs are able to participate free of charge without the need to prove their income, so as to eliminate complicated paperwork and requirements criteria.
Fun and Fair:
Our program improves the frequency rates and retention of participation in our soccer programs by making them fun, participant-centred, and welcoming.
Despite the soccer tournament programs’ competitive nature, our program refocuses the attention to social development so that all participants feel to be gaining value by participating in the tournament.
To promote social development goals through the intentional use of sport as well as promoting physical literacy, the program maintains the focus on teaching basic movement skills, creating a positive environment and having fun to develop physical literacy.
Our program implements a community-wide approach to improve the quality of our soccer program based on bringing the components of mental health wellness through the support of our Community Mental Health Peer Support volunteers that will involve both the participants and parents/guardians.
The links between school success and healthy participation in activities outside of school hours are clear. Research has demonstrated that the more access a child or youth has to positive activities during these “critical hours” outside of school hours, the higher their chance of success in school and life.
The Active Newcomer Youth Ottawa (ANYO) came as a result of the PhotoVoice project organized by the Social Planning Council of Ottawa (SPCO). The PhotoVoice project made us realize the lack of accessible social-based programs especially to immigrant and newcomer youth and the impact it possesses to the mental health wellbeing of the youth.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the ONSCF/CDF mental health planning process identified a demand from vulnerable residents for more alternatives, particularly social-based and peer mental health support. Then COVID-19 hit, significantly increasing levels of stress and mental health issues, particularly among black and racialized newcomer communities in Ottawa. The levels of stress have been further pushed to the breaking point for Black and racialized newcomer youth who are faced with difficulties to socialize, find employment, and social isolation policies.
Active Newcomer Youth Ottawa (ANYO) has identified soccer to be the best social-based and peer-led mutual support group to help their communities grapple with growing anxiety, depression and anger and despair. That is why the organization was created so that we can provide a safe space that allows us to promote positive mental health wellness through sports and recreational activities.