Our Second Family has arrived!
In mid- August, Mohammad and Nadeen, with their children Sedra (three years old) and Khaled (two), arrived at the Ottawa airport to a welcoming group of volunteers. Several members of our first family joined the celebration as well. Our second family’s long journey went via Amman, Cairo and Toronto to a warm summer rain in Ottawa.
They have now settled into their furnished two-bedroom apartment and have acquainted themselves with their neighbourhood, visiting banks, supermarkets, drugstores and the library, guided by volunteers and a team of interpreters. Both parents have started ESL at Algonquin last week and have secured daycare for their two children close to home.
The volunteer support team has done a fabulous job attending to all of the many tasks required to ensure that the family settles comfortably into their new life in Ottawa.
Our First Family is doing well...
Sabah and Zuhir and their five children Mohammed, Ahmed, Yazan, Jana and Sham arrived six months ago and have since made huge strides in settling into their new community. Over the summer, Zuhir, Sabah and the kids have been meeting neighbours and enjoying the many nearby pools and parks. In addition, they have been helping their cousins, who arrived in July as Government Assisted Refugees, and are now living just a few doors away from them.
Zuhir is now taking a more challenging English program at Algonquin which he is working hard at and he is learning to drive. The three boys are back at school where they are learning English with ease. Sabah is hoping to start formal ESL on a part-time basis soon, but meanwhile is still receiving in-home ESL, supplemented by visits from a very committed team of volunteers.
Our Third Family is yet to come...
The sponsorship application has now been submitted for our third family which was found through the Ottawa Syrian community. Like our first two families, we will be responsible for their financial support and settlement for one year. We expect it will take at least a year before the family arrives given the estimated processing time by the Canadian government.
The Board of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa (FUCO) agreed to allow its Refugee Working Group to raise funds both within and outside the congregation to support a Syrian refugee family. Below are the answers to some questions you may have.
If you have any questions or would like more information on our work, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions and Answers
Can I still make a donation to the FUCO fund to sponsor a Syrian refugee family?
Through the amazing generosity of many people from within and outside our congregation, we now have sufficient funds to sponsor our three families.
Other local organizations who would welcome your donations include:
United for Refugees
and settlement agencies such as:
Catholic Centre for Immigrants
Jewish Family Services.
What else is needed?
We may still need more people to give volunteer time over the course of at least a year to help settle the family in Ottawa. Tasks range from finding housing, to getting the children registered at school, to getting the family to medical appointments, to helping ease adaptation to our culture, and more. In-kind donations would also be appreciated.
Why is the FUCO doing this?
Syrian refugees desperately need help and supporting Syrian refugees is consistent with the principles of our congregation. The principles that particularly apply in our case are:
How much money is needed to sponsor a family and what does this money cover?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires at least $27,000 be raised, including “in kind” donations, for a family of four – but the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), the umbrella organization for Canadian Unitarian congregations, says that $40,000 is more realistic. The CUC also suggests that another $3,000 is needed for every additional family member.
What is the FUCO’s responsibility?
Submitting the sponsorship undertaking means the congregation is legally responsible for the financial and moral support of the refugee family for one year as the congregation helps the family integrate into Canadian society.
The congregation is not responsible for any debts the family may incur in Canada or before coming to Canada (e.g. travel loans).
There are several mechanisms by which a refugee family can be sponsored in Canada. What one will we use?
We will be applying under the Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAH) mechanism. In our case, the holder of the Sponsorship Agreement is the CUC. Approval of sponsorship applications is faster when a SAH is involved. Our family will be identified from a government list of approved Syrian refugees under what is called the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program (BVOR). Choosing a refugee family from this list entitles the congregation to some financial help for the family from the federal government.
When will the family arrive in Ottawa?
Families sponsored from the approved list take about 2 – 4 months to arrive from the time the government approves our sponsorship application. This application includes information on how costs will be covered, a settlement plan and the role of volunteers.
-We currently have one family that has arrived and are settling in.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!
SPIRITUAL HOME CAMPAIGN 2018
To the casual observer, our church building may look to be in good shape, but a careful look shows a need for a few updates. The Spiritual Home Campaign seeks to address this need. You can download the campaign brochure in PDF format here.
Details About the Campaign
One project, installation of a monitor in Fellowship Hall, has already been completed, thanks to the generous support of Rev. Len. If you also would like to take on responsibility for an entire project, please contact the campaign team at email@example.com.
Donors are encouraged to direct their gift to whatever campaign project motivates them, but can also have their contribution used for whichever project needs it most.
Once donations have fully accumulated towards a project’s estimated cost, the project item and its funding are added to the operating budget, to trigger the start of that project. If a project doesn’t receive its full funding during the campaign this year, its donations will be rolled forward to next year’s Spiritual Home campaign. Conversely, a project may receive more donations than it requires; surplus donations would be redirected to other appropriate projects. Details about the identified campaign projects:
All first two tiers fully funded!
Install a security system ($7000)
A camera-equipped security system would help to protect those in the building (staff, volunteers and renters) during off-peak usage.
Fix several windows in Worship Hall ($5,000)
Some of the “openable” windows no longer open, preventing natural ventilation. Replacing each window will cost about $1000 each.
Refurbish front doors ($2,000)
The front doors need resurfacing, and also some refurbishment for ease of opening/closing.
Air conditioning for Fellowship Hall ($5,000)
Fellowship Hall can become uncomfortably warm in the summer or during crowded gatherings. Appropriately-sized wall units are anticipated.
Refinish floors in Worship Hall, Fellowship Hall and the Volunteer Room ($6,000)
This project has been delayed for many years. Our Congregation and our renters should expect a venue that reflects our care and pride.
Install efficient lighting ($6,000)
More efficient lighting for Worship Hall, offices, and the exterior.
Exterior painting 1/4 building ($9,000)
Paint or stain as appropriate. Any window caulking that is needed is also done at the same time.
Install Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) ($2,000)
One never knows when an emergency will occur. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even those with no prior symptoms. In such an emergency, an on-site AED can start helping before the ambulance arrives.
Sound system upgrade ($6,000)
Our sound and light technician will advise us on the best system that meets our needs.
Replace toilets ($4,000)
Nine toilets have been identified by the Property and Grounds team as due for replacement.