Young P.E.I. newcomers address stereotypes that affect all teens

A group of teen newcomers have produced a video on stereotypes faced by not just them, but all young people.

'We doubt ourselves because we're told we're young and it holds us back'

One of the teens interviewed in the #youngbut video. The teens spoke about stereotypes facing people their age. (YouTube/PEIANC)

Newcomers to P.E.I. may have to face their own set of stereotypes. But one group of teenagers is tackling stereotypes that can affect anyone their age.

"Teenagers have a lot to offer but then we get held back because we believe all the stereotypes," said 19-year-old Melissa Trinh, who moved to P.E.I. from Vietnam.

"Some adults feel like all teenagers hang out on the phone all the time and are lazy. We doubt ourselves because we're told we're young and it holds us back."

Trinh is one of a group of teens who met through the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada and Colonel Gray High have produced a video about stereotypes called #youngbut.

The group worked for months researching and conducting interviews. The project is one of 15 created across Canada as part of the Montreal-based human rights organization Equitas, which provided $2,500 in funding.

The group of teens and adults who produced the #youngbut video for PEIANC.

"I was amazed by their commitment, intelligence and the fun side of the kids," said Rocio McCallum, the youth settlement services co-ordinator with PEIANC.

"This is a diverse group of teens. I thought they would be focusing on being  newcomer teenagers. But they all said the stereotypes around being a teenager was bothering them more than the newcomer stereotypes."

The students say they gained many skills and confidence making the video.

"First of all I learned about human rights, and how important they are," Trinh said. "Plus team management, time management and money management. We got involved in our community and the friendships are priceless."

The video, which can be found on the PEIANC YouTube channel, is made up of clips of teens and adults expressing what they hear as stereotypes.

PEIANC youth settlement services co-ordinator Rocio McCallum and teen leader Melissa Trinh celebrate the screening of the video #youngbut (Karen Mair )

There was also a revelation of their own about how they see adults. 

"We also found out that adults also believe in us and have faith in us," Trinh said. "I don't want to stereotype!"