In our previous bi-weekly report we celebrated the fact that the ABC Welcome Team had secured a family for sponsorship.

This week we overjoyed to learn that the St. Paul’s /Almonte United Church (SPAUC) Group has also initiated a family sponsorship application. As we have been finding out, the expected arrival dates of these families are highly unpredictable, but our community continues to focus on being ready and each group’s settlement plans are being honed.

Thanks to the HNM Group’s experiences post-arrival (see below), we are gaining valuable insight into aspects such as housing, health support (thanks to the Ottawa Valley Family Health Team), dental health planning, and employment.

In addition we are updating expectations on the need for volunteer drivers and the delivery of timely and convenient ESL training. We must not forget the many unsung heroes in our community, like the six year old gifting her birthday money, the businesses who stretch their discounts to help with key purchases, the many volunteer Arabic speakers and translators and the MM Public Library bringing in Arabic books for the kids.

Remember to support the Civitans’ Valentine’s Dinner at Dance on February 13. Tickets ($35) are available at Mill Street Books, Nicholson’s in Pakenham or call 613-256-6234.
With gratitude and hope.

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Arnie Francis, Chair, Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills (SRCMM)

Holy Name of Mary (HNM) Group

Two weeks after their arrival in Almonte, the Jarous family are beginning to settle in. This has been a busy time for them. They have been introduced to Almonte’s top notch medical and dental facilities through the generosity of our local physicians and dentists. In particular, the HNM Committee wishes to acknowledge the generosity of time and spirit of doctors McKillop and Louis.

The family is meeting more of our residents as time goes on. Arabic speaking residents in Almonte, Carleton Place and Pakenham have reached out to the family to help them become familiar with our community as well. The two children have been introduced to the Holy Name of Mary School and will begin classes shortly. The school principal and teachers have made a special effort to welcome the children.

Volunteer retired teachers with expertise in English as a second language are working with local education authorities and the Jarous parents to begin language training as soon as possible. They wish to be as independent as possible in a reasonable period of time. The father is actively seeking employment in his chosen profession as a chef and will balance language training with work once a job is secured.

The Jarous family continues to express their gratitude to our community and its people for the generosity that has been extended to them.

Jim Moore, HNM Group.

Next biweekly update from St. Paul’s /Almonte United Church (SPAUC) Group