The Social Justice Committee is happy to report that we’ve found an apartment that will be a permanent home for the Syrian newcomer family we are sponsoring. Things have been busy but going well for the family in what will certainly be a gradual and long term adjustment to life here in Toronto!

We are especially excited that the apartment is in the same North York neighbourhood as many of the family’s relatives — and this was our goal. A very special thanks to: Eve-Lynn Stein, Amy Steele and Orev Katz, who did the leg work in searching for apartments; to the Board (and Kathy Miller) who mobilized so quickly and efficiently to facilitate the application; and to Sharron Kusiar and Deborah Shore who finalized the deal.

As a committee, we can now move into full “move-in” mode. Making this phase operational is move team lead, Liat Ross, who is coordinating the group of volunteers who will clean the furniture and household items that have been in storage for over a year and then move those items to the apartment in early May.

We have mentioned some of the names of the volunteers on our Social Justice Committee so you can ask them about their experiences working on this project when you see them. This has been an incredible learning experience for everyone and we are happy to share many of its hilarious, victorious, heart-warming and also more challenging moments. We continue to not list family names or post pictures of the family for their safety and protection — and especially for their family members still in Syria or other parts of the Middle East.

Some things the family has done so far:

  • received two used cell phones donated by Ipsos, with cell plans arranged by DJC volunteer Allen Flaming;
  • opened a bank account with the help of their cousin;
  • visited the Toronto Zoo along with their temporary housing hosts (who have been really wonderful in making the family feel welcome in their home);
  • visited with heath and dental care coordination volunteers, JoAnne Hunter and Margot Dawson who sat down with the family to discuss upcoming medical and dental visits;
  • participated in an orientation session at Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS Toronto), the settlement agency we are working with;
  • received a selection of new board books donated by Annick Press;
  • submitted a summer day camp application, with the help of volunteer Kathy Glazier;
  • gone shopping for clothes and shoes the kids still need with the help of volunteer, Deborah Shore.

We’ve even set up a shared Google calendar  for our team that the family and their temporary hosts all have access to. Once they are settled in their new home we will be able to turn our minds to more social and recreational activities which will support some informal English language practice and the chance for everyone to start to get to know each other a little bit better.

Overall, we are “on track” with the settlement plan and looking ahead to school registration, orienting the family to their new neighbourhood, signing the parents up for ESL classes and helping them move into their new home in Canada.