welcome-refugees-croppedAt our Orientation Meeting on July 7, 2016 we reviewed our readiness to welcome the Karen family we are expecting at the end of August, 2016.  Mie Tha Lah, a Karen Canadian who came to Toronto as a refugee in 2008 and is now working as a settlement worker, graciously joined us.  Mie Tha gave us some great insights from his own experience and we developed a list of priorities to ensure our readiness.

Number one of these, was housing.  We are looking for a minimum two-bedroom rental unit in, or very close to, the Wilkinson school catchment area, for September 1, 2016.  If you know of anyone who is renting a property that fits these specs, please send an e-mail to info@wilkinson-sponsors.ca.

Secondly, we need to grow the number of volunteers able to assist with settlement support.  While we have a strong base of individuals who have the required prerequisites, we are anticipating that we will need a bigger roster of folks we can call upon as time goes on to, for example, assist with a grocery shop, a dental appointment or an outing to the park.

As per AURA protocols, anyone working directly with the family must obtain a police clearance letter and complete a two-hour AURA resettlement training. The police clearance letter is easy to apply for. Simply notify us at info@wilkinson-sponsors.ca when you receive yours.

The next scheduled AURA resettlement training is in September (date TBA). If there is enough interest in a training, we can ask AURA to schedule one for our group. Please notify us at info@wilkinson-sponsors.ca if you would like to participate in a two-hour AURA resettlement training.

Our next meeting is scheduled for July 28, 2016 at 7pm, 51 Donlands Avenue, St. David’s Towers.  All are welcome.  Please RSVP to info@wilkinson-sponsors.ca.


We are excitedly preparing for the arrival of the Karen family with whom we have been matched.  They will likely arrive late August, give or take a couple of weeks.  There is much to be done.  Find out more about Karen refugees from Burma on our resources page.

Our core group met with AURA’s Ian McBride on June 27, 2016.  At this meeting, Ian relayed that our group was matched with this family because we have shown patience, perseverance and we have the backing of both the school and Church communities.  Our assignment to help this family settle well here in Toronto will be no small task.  We will need your help.


When: July 7, 2016, 7pm
Where: 51 Donlands Avenue – St. David’s Tower

If you are unable to attend in person, but would still like to help out, please contact us.


TRAINWRECK_banner_141122.001You are invited to dance the night away with Trainwreck, East End Toronto’s hot new party band, while supporting a good cause. All proceeds go to Wilkinson-St. David’s Refugee Sponsorship Group.

Saturday, 18 June 2016 at 8:30 PM
Eton House – ETON HOUSE, 710 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L1

Book your ticket to the Trainwreck Night Out! in advance and you are guaranteed entry to this special event at a reduced rate.

Join us for a wrecking good time!


The Wilkinson-St. David’s Refugee Sponsorship Group is having an

THURSDAY MAY 19th 2016 – 7:30 pm-9pm
St. David’s Anglican Church, 49 Donlands Ave, Toronto.

Our agenda includes updates on:

  • The impact of recent policy changes on private sponsor groups – Ian McBride, AURA
  • Wilkinson-St. David’s Refugee Sponsorship Group fundraising campaign
  • The Khalaf family’s adjustment to life in Canada with support from Wilkinson-St.David’s via the Welcome Project

It will be a great meeting. It will inspire you, answer your questions, and highlight what you can do now, through your advocacy efforts and direct support, to help Syrian and Iraqi families displaced by the war.

We are proud to announce that the Wilkinson-St. David’s Community Sponsorship group has been actively helping a Syrian Refugee family through the Welcome Project.

KhalafsThousands of Syrian Refugees arrived in Canada at the beginning of this year. Many of those families need help with basic needs and settling into their new home. We were lucky enough to have been matched with a government sponsored Syrian Refugee family of six on Tuesday, April 12th. The  Khalaf family consists of two parents and their four kids ranging in age from 15 to 21.

Though they are government sponsored, they have needed our help to settle in here in Toronto. They arrived in Canada the end of Feb., but had no permanent place of residence until April 12th. So, the members of our group started a volunteer schedule to help them adjust to life in Canada. As is the case with most Syrian Refugees, they lost their home and all of their possessions. We’ve been coordinating lists of items needed for people to donate their lightly used things.  The enthusiasm and response of our community has been wonderful.

To-date, we have helped them to enroll in ESL classes, locate a local doctor to help them with medical issues, find translators, make dental appointments through public health, and visit local food banks and settlement services in the area. We’ve been accompanying them to the library to access Arabic and Kurdish reading material and we have been bringing them food and household donations from our community on a daily basis. Their house is finally starting to look and feel like a home due in part to all of our members’ generous donations.

We have been sending out weekly updates to all of our volunteers and members of our sponsorship group to keep everyone in the loop. Since it may be quite some time before our own Syrian family arrives here in Canada, it’s been a great learning experience to find out what our family may need once they come.

The Khalaf’s are such a lovely family and are thankful for all of our support.

We continue to visit them daily with our Wilkinson-St. David’s Sponsorship group volunteers to help them with their basic needs as well as to extend our friendship.  The family speaks Kurdish and Arabic, but fortunately for us, their youngest daughter speaks enough English that she can translate for us.

If you would like to volunteer, donate, or be part of our distribution list for updates on the family, please email Lisa Munro at: lisa.munro@tdsb.on.ca.

For more information about The Welcome Project, visit their website at: http://www.welcomeproject.ca/.

syrian-refugee-crisis2.jpgThe Canadian Government has ended the special initiative that designated Syrian refugees as a priority. Now, it is business as usual for Immigration and Citizenship Canada handling refugee cases and all programs are operating with normal quotas.

Yet tens of thousands of people have raised millions of dollars to welcome refugees and help them resettle in Canada. The people are ready. The money is set aside. The need for help is extreme.

We encourage you to join us in supporting AURA’s Letter Campaign to increase the number of Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) cases available so that we can continue welcoming Syrian and Iraqi families displaced by the war to Canada.

The link above includes templates for writing to the:

  • Prime Minister
  • Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Your local MP

Simply download the templates, personalize the letters, and mail them off to show your readiness to help refugees in need!

Our Bake Sale raised just over $1,200, bringing overall funds raised to date to more than $12,000.

bake saleOn behalf of Bake Sale organizer Raihana Ingar and the entire Wilkinson Community Refugee Sponsorship group, thank you to everyone who supported the sale. Whether you sent baked goods, volunteered, or sent an email of support, without you, the bake sale would not have been as successful.

The Wilkinson community was well represented by the volunteers that included members of our refugee sponsorship group, parents, council members, and staff. Together, we made a great team!

It was particularly nice to see parents and kids bringing in goodies in such abundance and variety that the volunteer crew had to keep adding tables!

Many of the children refused to take their change back, saying: “I don’t want my change, you can use it for sponsoring the refugees”.

The excitement, happiness, and support from our next generation was possibly the sweetest part of our success.