Reconnect: community-based action research to promote resilience and wellbeing in immigrant, refugee and racialized children and their families during and after the COVID‑19 pandemic
Background. Immigrant and refugee populations have been disproportionately hard hit by the COVID‑19 pandemic as a result of social and economic disadvantages. These inequalities, if unaddressed, can come at the cost of the wellbeing and adaptation of newcomer youth and contribute to the widening of long-lasting health and educational disparities between immigrant and non-immigrant populations. Objective. The Reconnect project adopts a community-based action research approach to investigate the experiences of newcomer youth and their families during and after the pandemic, and to look especially at how school-based interventions can mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Results from our study will contribute to the development of a best practice guide and arts-based dissemination tools for the promotion of wellbeing and resilience in the wake of the pandemic among racialized newcomer communities. Method. Based on the extensive work of our research team in Montreal during the pandemic, in collaboration with knowledge users and youth, we will adapt and implement specialized classroom- and community-based interventions for newcomer youth and their families. A total of 100 youth (ages 10-13) attending 6 classes for newcomers and 75 parents will participate in the Reconnect interventions. Qualitative (focus groups, fieldnotes) and quantitative data will be collected to explore the experiences of youth, parents, facilitators and teachers and changes in wellbeing (reduction in COVID-related stress, psychological distress) and resilience (positive school climate, family cohesion) from before to after the intervention. Results. In the short term we will support and empower migrant youth and their families in the wake of the pandemic, and rapidly disseminate critical insights to schools, teachers, and ministries of education. In the long-term, findings will support policy development to address social and health disparities between migrant and non-migrant communities.