Sponsorship Memories

“On many of our special occasions, such as our Spring Welcome, the first Thanksgiving Dinner or the dinner at Arabesque to celebrate M’s new job, I have looked around the room and felt, we are family now.”

“Watching M playing the oud and singing with his (4 yr old) daughter, the kids from different families playing with balloons, the wonderful food and the feeling of warmth in the room as interpreters, sponsors and family members gathered to welcome the new family.”

“Enjoying the Canada Day parade with the new family and members of our group… thinking….we live in the best country in the world.”

While driving the mother of the family to do grocery shopping, she started a conversation about the different provinces in Canada, and was telling me about the main industries in each province, as learned in her ESL class. I was so impressed by her correcting me on the capital of Alberta. She was right, and I was wrong! ...and after such a short time in Canada. 😊 I love moments like that when you see newcomers valuing the country that those of us who were born here too often take for granted.

“Sitting around the kitchen after a family meal, talking about everything and nothing, and laughing, laughing, laughing.”

When a woman I had been teaching to drive finally got her G2, the people waiting in the office for their tests broke out into applause. She said that she would never have been able to get her license in the country she had just left.”

“Enjoying a picnic at Upper Queens together while the children played.  No one wanted to go home, even though it was dark.”

Pulling out of the driveway from the house after bringing the family home from the airport and seeing them through the big front window... the smile on the father's face, standing inside their new home after the journey they'd been on, and at the start of the new journey they had ahead... in this new home that was all theirs, was indescribable and an image that I'll never forget.

“Watching a chain of very young Syrian children from different families dressed in their party best join hands and skip down the sidewalk to come into a big Thanksgiving dinner.”

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Refugee sponsorship has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in my life! There are so many wonderful memories: the day of the family’s arrival six years ago, a new child born after they arrived, good food and friendship around the dinner table, the day one of the parents found a job, watching the children growing and thriving in Stratford. But a memory that somehow stands out for me is the day a few weeks after their arrival when the sponsorship group took the family on a picnic at Wildwood. The peace of the place, the warmth of the fellowship, the plentiful food and the carefree playing and laughter of the kids seemed such a contrast with the struggles they’d been through so recently. It really felt like one big loving family.