Volunteer Update – June 2017

From Linda Van Sickle, WRSG Secretary

Just in time for summer, here’s an update for our WRSG volunteers:

The Festive Evening event at Church of the Advent on Saturday, May 13th, was a wonderful success in every way. There was lots of fun and socializing as well as generous bidding on an amazing array of auction items. The Church of the Advent has turned over $2,000 to WRSG from the net proceeds for the evening. This means that we have now gone “over the top” of our goal of raising $30,000 to support our family for the first year after their arrival in Canada, expected sometime in the fall.  (They will also receive about $18,000 from the federal government in Canada Child Benefits.) Thanks to all of you who helped and/or came to enjoy the evening! The fundraising aspect of this WRSG undertaking has called upon a lot of effort, imagination and generosity on the part of many people during the past year, and we want to thank you all for every part you have played in this success.

In our last update of April 10th, I told you about the online sale of original paintings by Rebecca Barnard that she donated to WRSG.  Nine of the ten paintings are now sold (8 sold at the auctions during A Festive Evening), and at Rebecca’s suggestion, the remaining painting will be given to the family after they arrive to hang in their new home. Thank you again, Rebecca, for your generous donation of your artistic gifts.

On May 22nd, the WRSG core committee met at the home of the brother of the husband of the family we are sponsoring, as he’d arranged for us to “meet” the family by video phone call that day. What a wonderful, exciting time it was for all of us to be able to greet the parents and their three lovely young daughters. They are very excited to come to Canada, especially the oldest girl, who is 7. Her father sent a text to his brother after the phone call to say that she wants to come to Canada NOW!

There is much to celebrate and still much to do to prepare for their arrival, for the core committee as well as for all the volunteers. To that end, there will be a meeting/social time for all volunteers on Monday, July 17th, at 7 pm at Westside Bible Church, 3307 Wishart Road. At this gathering, we will enjoy some refreshments together, meet some of our new volunteers, and go over some important guidelines and information as we anticipate what is required to help the new family settle in Victoria. We will have a checklist to indicate which tasks/roles you wish to undertake, which day(s) and times you are available, whether you are available to help on short notice, and so on. Some of the roles/tasks will include driving, shopping assistance, bus buddy (help them get used to the bus system), visits with the family, supplementary language support, use of local community centre, going to community events, playdates, child care,  etc. Please note that drivers are required to have at least $3,000,000 liability coverage in their insurance. Please also note that WRSG is not able to reimburse car mileage for drivers and bus fares for bus buddies.

Please remember, if you intend to have direct contact with the family as a WRSG representative (i.e.: shopping, driving to appointments, child care), you must have a criminal record check and a completed volunteer application on file with the Diocese, and you are required to take their Sensitivity Training workshop. Contact Susan Davis for upcoming training dates, or for the volunteer application form.

We know that you may not be in town or otherwise not be available to come to the meeting on July 17th. If that is the case, can you please let Susan know, and she’ll make sure that you have the checklist to complete by email?

You may be interested in reading the document Refugees from Syria, found by using the link below. It provides a wealth of good information about all aspects of Syrian culture, history, and current situation. The core committee has been reading through it together at our meetings and are finding it to be very helpful. Open culturalorientation.net/library/publications/refugees-from-syria, then click on the link below the title Refugees from Syria to download a PDF.

We are getting closer to actually welcoming this family and beginning to help them settle, thanks in no small part to your ongoing interest, help and support. Enjoy the summer, and we hope to see you on July 17th!