Stouffville Cares, Whitchurch-Stouffville’s community refugee adoption organization, marked its first birthday this fall.
While there was much to celebrate, there also remains plenty of new work to be done. Thankfully.
The Fandi family arrived in Stouffville from Syria, via Jordan, seven months ago. The summer flew by with the children involved in many typically Canadian activities: soccer, swimming, and camps were all new to them but they enjoyed them immensely.
Mr. & Mrs. Fandi carried on with their ESL lessons and continue to improve every day. Mr. Fandi is taking driving lessons and will soon be able to drive unescorted; the purchase of a car is a dream they are hoping to realize. Mr. Fandi is also working full time in Stouffville and is grateful for the opportunity. He continues to learn English on the job.
All family members are healthy and eager to move forward in their lives in Canada. This fall, they are playing indoor soccer, taking skating lessons and attending cake-decorating and pottery classes. They attended their first hockey game and met members of the Stouffville Spirit Jr. A team after the big win.
The Fandis have wonderful dreams about how they can contribute to Canadian society, right here in Stouffville.
Early in the summer of 2016, Stouffville Cares applied once again through our Sponsorship Agreement Holder to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, to sponsor a second family. This time we have chosen a different path; this is a private sponsorship with a specific family identified by us, in this case, relatives of the Fandi family.
We are working to reunite three brothers of Mr. Fandi and their families, 11 people in total, six in Jordan and five in Lebanon. Our goal is to build community within community. Early in September, our application was approved by the government, and shortly thereafter, we learned that those in Jordan were interviewed by Canadian Consulate staff and are now proceeding with medical checks.
We do not think the family in Lebanon has yet been interviewed, but we are hopeful that this will occur soon. The Fandis were so excited to think that reunification of at least some of their family members might be possible. We do not yet have a date of arrival for the newcomers, but it could be as early as January 2017.
And so Stouffville Cares is back in action, focused on preparing for more newcomers! We need your help! We are looking for new members of several committees; which one(s) would you like to explore?
Driving: We have a room for more volunteers in our driving pool. Each week a list of driving needs is posted; you can sign up for whatever day and time is convenient to you. It is a great way to get to know the Fandis. A police check is required.
Fundraising: We have “crunched the numbers” and now know how much money we need for our second sponsorship: our goal is $37,500! Join a great committee with people full of brilliant ideas for fun ways to work together and invite the community at large to contribute to our goal.
English Teachers: One of the reasons our children are doing so well in absorbing English is because we have ESL teachers going into the schools to work with the Fandi children during the day to help them with their homework, to ensure they are understanding the concepts being taught by their regular teachers, and to expand their vocabulary. We also have people working directly with the parents, reviewing their homework for the ESL programs in which they are engaged, and to focus on language that is most relevant to them right now as they function in Stouffville (shopping, banks etc.). Would you like to join this team? A police check is required.
Household Effects: We already have some furniture in storage, ready for the next family to arrive, but we will need more, and so we will need people to work with our household effects team to determine what is required, check out what is offered by the public, and deliver it to our storage facility.
Business Committee: We are looking into the possibility of helping the Fandis (and their relatives, when they arrive) set up their own business right here in Stouffville. In that regard, we have formed a Business Committee to start work on a business plan, identify market potential, determine costs, establish a budget, find investors etc. Do you have business acumen? Is your work experience related to start-ups? Join us!
If you have an interest in taking an active role of any kind with Stouffville Cares, please let us know; we’d love to welcome you!
Stouffville Cares has been greatly encouraged by the interest and generosity shared by caring, compassionate and fun-loving people (including you!) in Stouffville and beyond. The experience of doing what we do has changed us, and we are so grateful. We invite you into this experience as well.
We will keep you apprised of the status of both our present and future families. Thank you for being part of a welcoming community.
If you are interested in helping or would simply like more information about Stouffville Cares, please reach out to us.
or phone 905-640-3151