What’s the most frustrating aspect in waiting to find a refugee family to take under our wings in Calgary?
On three occasions NeST, the committee made up of members from the Calgary parishes of St. Stephen’s, St. Paul’s and the Cathedral, have bid for families on Ottawa’s approved list of Syrian refugees and on most occasions we missed the opportunity by minutes.
The good thing is, the competition among refugee sponsor groups across the country is stiff.
The bad thing is, Ottawa met its target and the lists of pre-screened Syrian families under the first federal government/United Nations program we were working under has grown very thin.
NeST team leaders met on April 3rd to consider their options and because our financial situation is healthy, the target shifted from a family of four to a family of six. That will give us a better chance of finally securing a family.
NeST is also exploring another government program where private sponsors like us are matched with Syrian families in Canada who are trying to rescue their own relatives from the ravages of war.
If by June we find we’re still waiting for a family, NeST will reassess the situation.
The plight of Syrians opened our hearts to this ministry but there are other refugee families outside Syria we could consider and we’d appreciate your thoughts on this.
Meanwhile the silent auction in support of NeST that was held at St.
Paul’s on April 9th raised a whopping $5,686.
In other news, the Cathedral and St. Stephen’s are working to ease the transition of refugees already here by offering English conversation support to people on waitlists for more formal English Language Learning (ELL) classes.
a) In June, St. Stephen’s will be running Beginning English
classes for three families on Tues and Thurs mornings, including free childcare and children’s lessons/activities. Contact is Dave Driftmier (firstname.lastname@example.org
b) The Cathedral hopes to offer ELL Café Conversations on
mornings from April 20th through to the end of June, possibly beyond. Contact is Joy Newman (email@example.com
).There are also ongoing volunteer opportunities available through the Centre for Newcomers (www.centrefornewcomers.ca
) in N.E. Calgary.
In the meantime, please remember that old but never-tired line that patience is a virtue and the best things in life are worth waiting for.