Getting Closer

syref15This is just a short update to let you know we are working hard at moving the process along.  We received a small grant from the United Church of Canada which means we will have a small cushion for our family and the the possible ability to take a couple more family members if needed.

We have also received a generous offer from Neil Phillips of a place to store furniture and household items that we are collecting for our families – THANK YOU Neil!  We just have to figure out how to pick it up and get it there 🙂  If you have household items or furniture to donate, we would love to hear from you.   Duplicates and extras will be shared with the other Committees under the Rosedale Untied Church umbrella that are supporting families.

I am expecting that our application will be submitted by the end of the week.  We are setting up a meeting of the Settlement Workers within the next couple of weeks to assign tasks and make some decisions on the best areas of the city to focus our energies.

Thank you to all of you for your support both financially and emotionally – this is a wonderful journey we are all on!



Meeting with Chairs of Sponsorship Committees

Hi there, we are moving forward, slowly but surely.

On Sunday, Claude, Chair of the Rosedale Refugee Committee, held a meeting of the Refugee Sponsoring Committee Chairs. We came together to identify where we are at and to set-up ways that we can support each other through the sharing of information – 3 of the 14 groups are ready to make application.

Odyssey to Canada has completed all the required training and security background checks. We have the minimum of $40,000 in cheques ready to be deposited as soon as the bank account is set up – Claude feels that it would be nice if we had a bit of a cushion, to cover unforeseen expenses and possibly the airfare expenses that our family will be faced with as soon as they land in Canada, so please don’t hesitate to accept further financial support if you find someone willing to give a donation.

As for when we can expect to submit our application? Claude is meeting with the financial group working to set-up the bank accounts this week. Apparently, all that is needed is a Memorandum of Agreement to be set-up and signed. Once that is done our funds will be deposited and our application will go to AURA – hopefully by the end of this week.

The group discussed some of the challenges that we will be facing us as the families arrive: temporary accommodation, household items, etc.   At the moment, we have had numerous offers of household items but we have no place to collect and store these items. If any of you know of where we might find storage space, I would be happy to hear from you.

I will attempt to keep you posted as we move along – once the application has been submitted we will have another meeting to set up tasks and responsibilities.

Thanks again for all your support and you commitment.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, or suggestions.

Thank you to all!

Thank you to all!

This will be a short blog to let you know that we have achieved our financial goal of $40,000 -THANK YOU to all who have helped us get there. Our fundraising goal continues; we would be more than happy to accept further donations – the $40K is the minimum amount needed. Any surplus will go to help our family with the bill for the airfare they will be given once they arrive or we could agree to take a family of 6 rather than 4 – we promise to keep you posted and updated on how your donations are being used.

I am meeting with Claude Hould and the Chairs of the 9 other Sponsoring Committees on Sunday. We will be meeting to report on our status and talk about the tasks ahead for all of us.

Stage 2 – Odyssey

Things are moving along very quickly!   As you can see from the top of the blog, we have decided on a name Odyssey to Canada Project. We felt this best describes what we are trying to do. The government is fast-tracking applications, so with any luck we may have our family here by Christmas!

On Saturday, Nov 7th the Settlement Workers from Odyssey attended AURA’s training session held by Ian McBride. It was an information-packed two-hour session. Ian has been working together with sponsoring groups to bring refugees to Canada for the past 15 years. He is a great support person with a wealth of resources at his fingertips.

I didn’t mention this in my first posting and it is important. There are several ways one is able to be a part of the Odyssey project. The group consists of Settlement Workers, those who will be directly interacting with the family personally on a continuous basis, and Financial Supporters, those who are the foundation of the project but for various reasons are unable to help with settlement. We need all the help we can get from everyone and would love to your hear from you. We will promise to keep everyone posted on our progress.

Yesterday, Sunday, Nov 8th, Rosedale United Church held a Benefit Concert for their Syrian Refugee Program. Over 15 well-known, professional performers donated their time and talents in support of the Program. It was a beautiful concert and the church was packed. All funds raised will go to Rosedale United Church Refugee Relief Programs.

After the concert, Odyssey Settlement Workers met together to update everyone on where we are at the moment, and to assess our individual strengths. We distributed the list of “Sponsor’s Obligations” and are in the process of dividing up the work to be accomplished.

We have now completed the security checks and accomplished the required training sessions for the Settlement Workers. The only item left holding up our formal application is to reach our financial goal of $40,000.

Thank you to all who are supporting us – we couldn’t do it without you!

Odyssey To Canada Project

Odyssey To Canada Project


September 2015 – The Beginning
Posted on November 6, 2015

This all began after I saw the disturbing photo of little Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey. That photo, featured on news media around the world brought attention to the seriousness of the situation – it was heart wrenching. My search for ways to do something led me to a meeting with Lifeline Syria here in Toronto, a non-profit agency set up to help sponsor groups, like ourselves, welcome and support Syrian refugees immigrating to Canada to resettle in the GTA over the next two years. From Lifeline Syria I met with others who were also reaching out. I met with the Chair of The Ripple Refugee Project Committee, Andrew Fitzgerald, and I attended several meetings with members of the Rosedale United Church Refugee Committee.

After meetings with Claude Hould, Chair of the Rosedale United Church Refugee Committee, I made the decision to work through them; they have been involved with the support and settlement of refugees for the past 15 years and have lots of experience. They have set up an umbrella organization to help individual groups make application and give support for bringing refugee families to Toronto. Our group, The Toronto Eglinton Rotary Resettlement Committee, is set up under the United Church umbrella.

Once I put out a call for help, I received support from Rotarian friends and other members in the Community who were anxious to work together to sponsor a refugee family. With their support, I formed a Committee and we are now on our way – our name is yet to be finalized but for the moment we are calling it The Toronto Eglinton Rotary Resettlement Committee.

There are key requirements for each group interested in submitting an application to sponsor a Syrian family. Before an application can be submitted to the government an effective team of 8-10 core members with diverse skills must be set up. They need to appoint a Chair and each member of that core team needs to submit an application for a Background Security Check; they need to attend an AURA Training Session; and $40,000 must be deposited into a committee specific United Church bank account – all donations over $10.00 are eligible for tax receipts.

At this point in our journey, the present settlement workers have all completed their background security checks; the AURA Training Session for those settlement workers will be completed this Saturday and we have raised $28,000. We still need to bring in another $12,000 and I would like to have a few more people able to help with the settlement work once our family arrives.

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My World

This is my home page – I am struggling to learn how to do all of this.  If you can help me I would be glad to hear from you.

I understand this needs some organization – I am working on it – my goal is to post photos and have different tabs for my different blogs – I will keep working at it – stay posted 🙂