CBC Nova Scotia - 'I like hockey now,' says Alaa Alhraki, who came to Canada 6 months ago.

Members of the Cole Harbour White Midget X team spent Saturday night in the gym at Armbrae Academy in Halifax teaching Syrian refugees how to play floor hockey.

One of the newcomers was Alaa Alhraki, 25, who moved to Canada six months ago. He said he appreciated learning the game.

"I like hockey now," Alhraki said. "The community, the communication, anything here with community, that's good hockey."

Ryan MacKenzie, the team's assistant coach, was impressed with the enthusiasm the Syrians displayed.

"Their attitudes are great. Everything is 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,'" he said.

The floor hockey lessons are the latest effort the hockey team, formerly known as the Auburn High Eagles, has made to give back to the community.

There were about 10 newcomers taking part in the game. The youngest player was five and the oldest were in their 20s.

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Posted: 03/07/2017 - 12:03

The Spectator Hamilton - The joy in the YWCA gym was undeniable as about 100 Syrian refugee women and girls laughed, danced, shared a meal and celebrated their new lives in Canada.

The women were part of a group of 200 who participated in the Road to Wellness program run by the YWCA in collaboration with Wesley Urban Ministries, the agency now working with government- assisted refugees.

The free program, which started last September and ended with Thursday's celebration, provided women's health education, exercise and nutrition classes, and surprisingly, taught the women how to swim — a terrifying experience for those who escaped across the Mediterranean into Europe by boat before being accepted to Canada.

"It was terrifying for them and for me," said Kate Stinson, the 17-year-old lifeguard who taught them to swim. "None spoke English. None had been in a pool before.

"They all had lifebelts on and they were all very nervous. But by the last week, 10 of them were diving," Stinson added.

The program also gave the new arrivals a social network as they got to know each other — and a sense of belonging in their new country.

YWCA health and wellness co-ordinator Rana Aldibs said the transformation has been amazing. The women have higher self-esteem, are more comfortable dealing with others, and understand the importance of being physically active, she said.

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Posted: 03/06/2017 - 11:59

This summer, the Ontario Camps Association (OCA) is proud to offer 350 free spots to refugee children in Canadian summer camps across the country. Accredited Camps are providing hundreds of free spaces at their camps for children ages 4-15 who have come to Canada as refugees in the last three years.

Thanks to the generous donations from Accredited Camps across Ontario, we are offering free spots to a variety of camps, including:

  • Day or overnight camps
  • Specialty camps
  • Religious or non-religious camps
  • All boy, all girl, or co-ed camps
  • One week or multi-week camps

Agencies, Organizations, Sponsors and Families must first complete an application form for the family.

For more information or to apply please click here

Posted: 02/21/2017 - 15:51

Family reunification - How to Sponsor Syrian Refugees (conducted in Arabic).

This session will cover:

  • Who can be sponsored?
  • Who can sponsor?
  • How to to sponsor?
  • Family reunification under One Year Window and proof of refugee status recognition

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
Location: West Neighbourhood House, 248 Ossington Ave. Toronto

To register please contact Siham Abosita at 416-931-7719 or e-mail: sihamab@westnh.org

Posted: 02/08/2017 - 09:51

Ryerson University, Project Welcome, invites newcomer Syrians to a free financial literacy workshop (Conducted in Arabic).

The event is targeted towards newcomer Syrians in Arabic on basic financial literacy.

Topics include:

  • Banks vs. Credit Unions
  • Chequing vs. Savings Account
  • Criteria to Consider when Selecting an Account
  • Tap Banking
  • Bank Interest and Other Incentives
  • Other Bank Services
  • Saving for the Future
  • Mobile Banking Applications
  • Opening a Bank Account
  • Fees and Service Charges
  • Newcomer Banking Packages
  • Line of Credit 
  • Protecting your Bank Account

Date: Tuesday Februrary 21, 2017
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Student Learning Centre, 341 Yonge Street, Toronto.

To register please click here

Posted: 01/30/2017 - 12:11

CBCNews Kitchener Waterloo - 'My life's completely changed,' says Syrian refugee Tareq Ibrahim

One month after sharing his story with CBC News, Tareq Ibrahim has landed a job in his field with Cambridge insurance company Gore Mutual.

Ibrahim arrived in Kitchener in September 2015, but despite being fluent in English and having worked as a finance manager for multi-national corporations, he struggled to find work that matched his skills. 

Companies wanted to see Canadian experience, Ibrahim told CBC's The Morning Edition in December. 

Ibrahim's story resonated with people, in particular because he refused to apply for Ontario Works or accept government support until he exhausted his savings. 

Catherine Leclair heard that interview on her drive to work.

"[I] thought it was very compelling," said Leclair, the vice president of human resources for Gore Mutual. 

"But along with it was that sense of honour he has, and his integrity."

She said she arrived at work that morning to learn the company's chief financial officer had also heard the interview, and together they decided to reach out to Ibrahim. 

Posted: 01/25/2017 - 14:12

The Kingston Wing - The KEYS Job Centre is giving Syrian refugees new to Kingston a shopping experience.

KEYS Kingston is one of 31 centres across Canada that are taking part in the Canadian government’s Refugee Assistance Program and it has so far welcomed 24 Syrian families and one family from Burundi with more to come.

Nationally over the past year, approximately 35,000 Syrian refugees have arrived with the government program, with private programs bringing the total to more than 50,000 new refugees to Canada.

For the past few months, about a dozen KEYS volunteers, led by Emma Jackson, have solicited donations of other necessary household items such as pots, pans, plates, cutlery, coffee cups, glasses, linens and small appliances including toasters, coffee makers and blenders.

By appointment, the families can go there and “shop” for their needed items. They can choose the items they need but do not have to go through the final phase of shopping: paying for the items. They’re free, Jackson said.

“We’re calling it shopping because we’re trying to keep some dignity about the process and [families] being able to approve of they want instead of us just guessing and showing up with some items that might not be appropriate.”

“This whole place is run on volunteer power,” Jackson said.

Posted: 01/24/2017 - 16:00

Project Welcome - Enactus Ryerson invites Newcomer Syrians to a free Financial Literacy Workshop: Budgeting and Goal Setting (Conducted in Arabic).

The event is targeted towards newcomer Syrians in Arabic on basic financial literacy.

The module on January 19th, 2017 introduces the participants on Budgeting and Goal Setting.

Topics include:

  • Imporance of Budgeting
  • Benefits of Budgeting
  • Components of a Budget
  • SMART Goal Setting
  • Storing Financial Records

For those who attend all 5 sessions will receive a financial literacy certificate. Please do not forget to sign in at he registration desk upon arrival.

Please note that this event will be led in Arabic.

Media may be present.

Date: Sunday January 22, 2017
Time: 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m
Location: Student Learning Centre: Launch Zone (3rd Floor) 341 Yonge St. Toronto

To register please click here

If you need more information, please email us at: projectwelcome@enactusryerson.ca

Posted: 01/11/2017 - 11:54

OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital is pleased to offer Intermediate Trauma-Focused Care: A Training for Settlement Workers Serving Refugees.

The training will help you to:

  • Increase knowledge about the specific mechanisms of trauma
  • Improve competency with identification and assessment
  • Use a specialized Tool-Kit to facilitate support
  • Increase your strategies in managing individuals in need
  • Provide structured referrals to reduce waiting-time for specialists

Note: This training is best suited to settlement workers with some pre-existing knowledge of or training in mental health and trauma. Space is limited, and we will endeavour to provide equal opportunity to all agencies in the area.

All participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion from OCASI.

Funded by Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Date: February 6, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre 3650 Dixie Rd, Mississauga

Registration deadline: January 23, 2017 (or once registration fills up).

To register please click here

Posted: 01/11/2017 - 09:56

Canadian Council for Refugees - One year after Syrians began to arrive in Canada as part of a major resettlement movement, newcomer-serving and private sponsorship organizations take the opportunity to salute and thank the countless Canadians who individually and collectively contributed to sponsoring and welcoming refugees.

Canada’s warm response to refugees depends on everyone doing their part: all levels of government, institutions, community organizations and individual citizens.

While sadly in many countries Syrians and others fleeing persecution are increasingly finding doors closed to them, Canadians are expressing gratitude to the Governments of Canada and Quebec, as well as to all provincial governments, for welcoming refugees to our country. In fact, many Canadians are disappointed that the government is not bringing more refugees more quickly, both from Syria and from elsewhere.

A highlight of the past year has been the close collaboration of governments at all levels, settlement sector, and voluntary and business sectors. We hope we can build on that collaboration for the future, so that we offer all newcomers the best possible chance of quick and full integration.

Posted: 12/05/2016 - 14:59