The Josie Stern Team is always happy to support a cause that is close to the hearts of members of our community. In the spirit of giving we urge you to support this selfless cause. We want to thank Jim MacDougall, a parent at Rawlinson Public School, who matched our donation of $1,000. Read about this initiative and help if you can:
WHO ARE WE?
We are a group of parents, teachers, students and community members at Regal Road Junior Public School in Toronto’s downtown west end. We have come together to privately sponsor a refugee family to come to Canada. Our goal is to raise $35,000 by March 2016 and we plan to welcome a family to our community as soon as possible after that.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
We are facing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates that there are 60 million displaced people worldwide right now. A school near us, Dewson Street Junior Public School, started the 1000 Schools Challenge with the goal of inspiring school communities across Canada to take on refugee sponsorship. We heeded the call! We think our school is an ideal community hub through which to offer resettlement support to a family. It is large and diverse and members of our community can offer a wide range of support and social networks to the family once they arrive. We also believe that sponsoring a family will prove an enriching educational experience for both children and adults at our school. We will all learn a lot about the causes of displacement and the process of resettlement.
WHAT IS OUR FUNDRAISING GOAL?
We hope to raise at least $35,000 by the end of March 2016. With this amount we would be able to support a family of four for their first year in our community.
WHO ARE WE WORKING WITH?
Our Sponsorship Agreement Holder is the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). The MCC has over 30 years of experience supporting refugee resettlement. They will hold our funds until we are ready to sponsor a family and will issue charitable tax receipts on our behalf. Five percent of what we fundraise will go towards the MCC’s administrative infrastructure, which is supporting us as we move through the sponsorship process. We are confident that we will meet our fundraising goal but if we are unable to do so the money we raise will go towards the MCC’s broader efforts to resettle families in Canada. We are also working with the Government of Canada, as we are sponsoring a family through the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) system. When families are sponsored through BVOR the federal Government contributes to the cost of resettlement. Families on the BVOR list are considered high priority. They have already been screened to come to Canada and are waiting for private sponsors. Once they have a private sponsor they usually arrive in Canada within one to four months.
WHO WILL WE BRING TO OUR COMMUNITY?
We don’t yet know the country of origin of the family we’ll sponsor. We have agreed that we will sponsor the first family with young children on the BVOR list. There are many families from Syria and Iraq on the list right now, but also families from other parts of the world.