Conversation Club: A Promising Practice in Youth Mentoring of Migrants and Refugees
This paper evaluates Conversation Club, a Canadian after-school group mentoring intervention focusing on the expansion of the program across three separate regions of Ontario. The authors use a multiple methods design, including questionnaires (n=101), post-session process data, and qualitative interviews (n=18), to evaluate how Conversation Club impacts members’ feelings of hope, belonging, sense of ethnic identity, and social support. A focus group (n = 7) with program facilitators was also conducted to explore the process of dissemination of the Club across regions. Findings suggest that Conversation Club holds promise for newcomer youth across settings. Quantitative data showed significant change (p <.01) in levels of hope and sense of belonging. Interviews revealed an increased sense of belonging, possibility, and social support, as well as improved confidence in communicating with others. Insights regarding use of the Club manual suggest the importance of integrating Conversation Club values with flexibility in facilitation to incorporate the strengths and opportunities of context across regions. Study limitations, as well as implications for further social work research and dissemination of best practices in services for migrant and refugee youth, are discussed.
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