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Refugee Sponsorship Initiative Update: February 2017
February 4, 2017 marked one year since our newcomer family came to Canada. It also marked the end of the congregations’ official sponsorship responsibilities and financial commitment. However, as was communicated late last year, the sponsorship committee will continue to provide some level of support to the family until at least June 2017. The family is now set to remain in their rental home in the Southeast until the end of June. This allows committee members (who are primarily located in the South of the City) to continue assisting the family with language lessons, transportation, logistics related to health and education, and job searches.
Overall, the family continues to do well! The children are learning English as quickly as only children can, and the parents also continue to make progress with their language learning. The eldest boy, Ahmad is in grade 4 ESL at Penbrooke Meadows School. Kholoud, the only girl, is in grade 1 and Abdullah is in kindergarten in regular programs at Andrew Sibbald School. All the children seem content in their schools and are doing well. Amer, the youngest boy, is at home with his mother, and is watched three times a week by volunteers who practice English with him. Nesreen is busy at home with the children, and participates in community groups and events where she can practice English. She is also tutored at home by volunteers. Ayoub, the father is taking language lessons at the YMCA and continues looking for work. He also spent a number of months over winter period working specifically on job-related vocabulary with volunteers.
At this point, the sponsorship committee’s (and the family’s) primary concern is aiding Ayoub in finding employment. We consider this to be a critical step in ensuring that the family can thrive in Calgary. To that end, we ask the congregations first for their prayers, and second to keep Ayoub in mind if they are aware of any solid employment opportunities. Given Ayoub’s current English language abilities, he is looking for a manual labour position. Ayoub is intelligent and resourceful, and has experience with painting and general handyman work, as well care of livestock. If you know of a position that Ayoub could apply for (likely one that is not already publicly advertised) or have questions about the type of work Ayoub is looking for please contact Jim Adamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sponsorship committee appreciates that members may have helpful employment ideas, or potential contacts, but we do ask that you ensure the position is still open in advance of contacting the sponsorship committee. As ever, your support and encouragement for the newcomer family is so appreciated.
Finally, with the congregation’s sponsorship journey coming to an end, one feels compelled to reflect upon the process of sponsoring a newcomer family, and to try, somehow, to measure its success. However, given the number of people affected and the diversity of experiences involved, that would be a difficult task. Perhaps it is enough to consider that at the most basic level, the goal of the congregations was to provide refuge for a family in need, and in that most critical way we have been successful.
The sponsorship committee would like once more to express their heartfelt thanks to the congregations for their generosity, prayers and support over the past year.
The Refugee Sponsorship Committee currently has openings on the following groups:
1) Communications Working Group – to plan information meetings and updates for the supporting churches;
2) What’s Next Group - to do research on financial support for our Syrian family after the first year is complete and to determine what other needs there are of the refugees already in Calgary or are waiting to come to Canada;
3) Employment Working Group - under the Team Leadership of Jim Adamson - to seek out employment opportunities and to provide practical help and emotional support;
4) Recording Secretary - if you like taking notes we have need of a recording secretary for the Coordinating Committee meetings – who meet about once per month.
If interested in any of these please see Bryon Delarue (email - email@example.com), Jeanette Petrie or Richard Betts or Pamela Scott. Thanks for all your support.