| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Civic Impact

Local sponsors prepare for Syrian refugee families

Syrian refugee sponsors connect with community partners and agencies at an information night at City Hall.

Just before the first wave of Syrian refugee families landed in Toronto earlier this month, The Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership, the Arab Community Centre of Toronto, the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Office, and local partners joined together. As part of a series of information nights across the city, event organizers invited the families and individuals sponsoring refugees to meet the agencies and organizations who can provide help; their last session, on December 17, sought to connect refugees with Scarborough sponsors about who they can rely on.

“It’s to reassure sponsors that there is support across Toronto. It’s also for them to be prepared when families arrive, so they’re sort of a settlement process in place,” said Vera Dodic, Project Manager at the Toronto Newcomer Office, in advance of the occasion. Agencies like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross were on-hand to provide general information; other agencies offering health, education, housing and employment resources were also available. In addition to the chance to connect directly with agencies and community partners, the Scarborough event also featured a presentation by the Arab Community Centre of Toronto about Syrian culture, and an introduction to the city’s existing Syrian community.

Dodic says the aim of the events, which will continue across the city for “as long as there’s a need,” also remind sponsors of lesser-known resources, such as the library and local community centres. “It’s also a chance for them to ask questions. It’s a community-building opportunity, because the agencies and the sponsors can build their support networks,” she says. “Information is power, and we want to empower them. We want these sponsorships to be successful.”

“For most of these people, this the first time they’ve sponsored, so they’re not as familiar with services that can help with the settlement,” Dodic explains. “It’s an overwhelming task, sponsoring a family, but there are many services available.”
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts