Our Syrian family – Jamal, Hanadi, Ahmad, Yehya and Ghayth, have now been in Canada for about 5 and a half months and it has been a whirlwind for them.
As the children were home from school for the summer, Jamal continued his ESL studies at the Welcome Centre while Hanadi was looking after the kids. Susan Montgomery has graciously been visiting the home weekly to give Hanadi personal ESL attention and one of our translators, Ahmad Kashfi, has been tutoring the children in math.
Ahmad and Yehya finished up their summer soccer league with Ahmad’s team winning the silver medal in their division. Reverend Nicola’s son Noah was also on the team so many thanks to Nicola and Tim for carrying the lion’s share of the soccer shuttling for Ahmad. Val Chatland, with assistance from Anne and Myron Nicholson, also spent two nights a week on soccer shuttle duty. It was a great opportunity for the children to play a sport they clearly love, while at the same time increasing their language skills. Kudos to all for this tremendous effort.
Ahmad and Yehya also participated in the Grace Church summer theatre camp with the final performance occurring on Ahmad’s 12th birthday – a great excuse for cake all around after the tremendously successful re-enactment of the story of David and Goliath, scripted by Reverend Ken.
Our team of volunteer drivers continued throughout the summer in assisting with the continued medical and dental appointments for the family. We have unfortunately discovered that vaccinating everyone at the same time means everyone was also down for the count for the three following days. It’s a journey!
The family travelled by train to Windsor to participate in some EID festivities with Jamal’s cousin who has been in Canada for about 11 months. Now everyone is back to school this September, just like every other Canadian family.
Jamal has just started to work part-time at Pilkey Glass & Mirror. He had experience working in this area in Syria so this fits in well for him. A big thank you to Pilkey for giving him this opportunity. Hanadi is exploring training in a salon where she has some experience. Exciting times for them both.
Please stay tuned for details of a fall-winter fundraising campaign. Any and all donations gratefully received. We are also planning an event this fall for the Raslans to meet both the parishes in a social gathering.
We are looking for people who would like to take the Raslan family to different events or attractions in the Markham, Unionville, Toronto area (e.g. Markham Fair, Toronto zoo, Applefest etc.). We are also looking for opportunities to invite them into our homes to experience Canadian hospitality. Please let us know if you can help with any of this.
On behalf of the Grace St. Philip’s Family Sponsorship Committee
March 23, 2017 – Syrian Family Coming Soon!
The Grace St. Philip’s Family Sponsorship Committee has exciting news to share. Our sponsored Syrian family will be arriving in Toronto on March 30! We will be welcoming the R. family – mom, dad and 3 young sons – to Canada. Please keep them and the many, many other refugees in your thoughts and prayers.
We have rented a nearby semi for the family, and have completely furnished it with your gracious donations of furniture and household items. It has been truly amazing to see our two parish communities come together in this wonderful way. Our experience with Farhad has been incredibly rewarding, and he joins us in looking forward to helping the family integrate into Canada. He will certainly have a unique perspective to offer.
Your generosity has given us the necessary funds to set up the household.
There are still a few things you can do to help:
1) If you have not yet sent in your pledge money to the respective parish, please do so as soon as you are able so that the committee can continue to budget our funds appropriately.
2) Please participate in the St. Philip’s annual Walkathon either by sponsoring a walker or by collecting sponsors and joining us in our 4 to 5 km walk on Sunday, April 30 from St. Philip’s, beginning after the morning service (approximately 11:30 a.m.). All proceeds are again going to the sponsorship fund this year. More information and pledge sheets will be distributed as we get closer to the date.
3) Volunteer your car and driving services as we escort the family to the many initial appointments we know they will have. We already know that we will need more than one car every time the family needs to travel as a group. You can volunteer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or personally advising any committee member. Just tell us how many people you can transport (booster seat available for the 6-year-old) and any time or distance restrictions.
Thank you for your support, generosity and patience! If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com.
On behalf of the Grace St. Philip’s Family Sponsorship Committee
September 11, 2016 – Letter of Thanks
Reverend Stephen, Reverend Nicola, Refugee Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for your kind invitation to St. Philip’s and Grace Church.
My name is Farhad Nik. I was born and raised in Iran. A few years ago, I had to leave my homeland and went to Turkey. I submitted my application as a refugee to the UN and was accepted there.
St Philip’s and Grace Church were kind enough to sponsor me. I arrived at Pearson International Airport about two months ago. I went to Uxbridge for a short period of time to stay with The Kerns. Now I live in Markham.
Since my arrival, I have received much help from both churches.
1) Greeted at Pearson Airport which was a surprise and unexpected
2) Offered hot food
3) Provided with comfortable accommodation
4) Never left alone to get homesick
5) Put in a very good apartment
6) Helped with paying my bills, my cost of living and rent
7) Given furniture, household and kitchen items
8) Taken to the Immigration Office for completion of my paper work
9) Registered in an ESL Class to improve my English.
10) Invited to Persian Restaurants for tasting of traditional Iranian food
The list is long and the time is short.
I am grateful and thankful for all the above mentioned help and work you have done for me. I will never forget this.
July 13, 2016 – UPDATE
The Grace St. Philip’s Sponsorship committee is delighted to welcome Farhad Nik to Canada and our community. Farhad arrived late Monday afternoon and has settled into temporary housing with Reverend Kern and his wife Anne who graciously offered their spare room to him.
We have rented an apartment on Main Street Markham effective later this month and will be busy setting it up and furnishing it with all of your generous donations and with Farhad’s input. He is a delightful young man who is relieved and happy to be safely in Canada, albeit sad to leave behind his family and girlfriend in Iran.
Once Farhad is settled into a routine, we will look for an opportunity to introduce him to the parish communities. Again, thank you for your support in helping us offer a warm welcome to Farhad.
Download PDF of April 2016 update here
Latest Update from Information Session – Jan. 26, 2016 (download as PDF)