Diocesan Archdeaconry of Fredericton Refugee Sponsorship Meeting
Held at Cathedral Hall
Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
The third meeting of the Diocesan Archdeaconry of Fredericton Refugee Sponsorship Project was held at the Cathedral Hall in Fredericton, NB on March 10th beginning at 1:00 p.m. The meeting was chaired by Archdeacon Pat Drummond. Numerous handouts were distributed to the attendees. Specifically:
- Guidebook for Sponsoring Syrian Refugees Through the BVOR Program
- Settlement Preparation
- Furniture and Equipment “Wish List” for Sponsored Family
- A copy of the Bishop’s letter in last week’s Diocesan e-news requesting volunteers
- Application for Criminal Record Check
The various areas of need were outlined with a view to designating specific people who would be responsible for assisting our refugee family in each area of need.
Generally speaking, the family will need basic life-skills training re:
- apartment regulations
- use of appliances
- use of a telephone, including 911 and an emergency contact number
- use of public transit: bus stops, transit routes, bus schedules, etc.
- small-group orientation
Chair and liaison with all parishes involved in the project – Pat Drummond
Application/Liaison with ABC – Kelly Humber Kelly
Treasurer: Dave Blacklock, Christ Church Parish Church, 457-2894
Kelly agreed to compile an Orientation Binder including:
- photos of the contact people
- Tele-Help services at 811
- bus schedules
- immigration documents that need to be completed
Accommodations: Sonya Solven of Considerate Property Management will find the accommodations for the family. Contact Info.: <[email protected]>
Cell Phone: 260-0442. Pat Drummond and Kelly Humber Kelly will assist if need be.
Furniture: Doug and Ann Deveau will oversee the acquisition and storage of furniture. Doug also volunteered to help with moving. E-mail: <amdrm at nbnet.nb.ca>
Medical/Dental: The Fredericton Downtown Clinic has been designated to serve the incoming refugees. Kelly has the list of dentists that may be willing to offer their services. In the meantime, the refugees are covered under an Interim Federal Health Program. Nancy Wiggins will be asked to oversee this area. Sally Grace offered to help. <sgrace68 at gmail.com>
Household Items: Nancy will e-mail an updated list of the Furniture and Equipment “Wish List” to reflect what items have already been acquired or offered.
Clothing: Value Village coupons are available and they are currently offering one free outfit for each family member. Pat explained the family will have to understand second-hand clothing is not an issue in Canada. Gail MacGillivray and Sasha Fetter agreed to oversee this.
Paperwork: Ann Buckland has agreed to oversee setting up a bank account for the family. They will require a direct deposit form, a debit card, a child-tax credit form, and a GST refund form. They will need an address in order to proceed. They will have already been issued S.I.N. numbers, but the paperwork they arrive with must be checked to make sure it is accurate. The Multi-Cultural Association has contact information. James McCarthy is able to speak Arabic and has volunteered to help with budgeting. Sasha Fetter and Anne Hewson will assist.
Translation Possibly James McCarthy. [email protected]
Contract for Phone/TV/Internet: Peter Jacobs has agreed to locate a computer and printer for the family and negotiate the hook-up contract for them. [email protected]
School Enrollment: Multi-Cultural Association will assess their current level of functioning for placement. They also do bridging with family and school. Anne Hunt and Anne Hewson will assist with this.
Language Training: There is an Arabic-English Bilingual Dictionary available at Westminster Books. They are currently on back-order but you can call and add your name to the list. Shipments come every two weeks. Language training sessions are being offered through the Multi-Cultural Association. The family will also require drivers to get to language classes. Anne Hunt and Sherry Pope will assist with this.
Bus System: Sally Grace and Kelly Humber Kelly will assist with this.
Orientation: The city is offering free recreation passes. It would be nice to take the family on a tour of the city. Kelly and Ellery Furlong volunteered to help with this.
Transportation: Gladys Lacey House volunteered to oversee this. We will require a driver schedule and a list of volunteers and phone numbers. Deanna McG. , Gladys L.H., Doug M., and Chris Fetter may help with this. A schedule will need to be developed.
Pat explained that a Criminal Record Check is required for all people who want to volunteer to work with children and vulnerable people. The completed application form should be returned to City Hall or the police station. You will require two pieces of I.D. including a photo I.D. Your passport and/or your driver’s licence along with your Medicare or S.I.N. card will do. It takes 2 to 3 weeks to process and they will call you when it’s ready for pick-up at the police station. Ask your parish minister to write a covering letter for your application. As you are a volunteer, the cost is $11.30.
Pat further explained that Muslim is pronounced Mu-slim rather than Maw-slem. The second pronunciation is offensive to them. Also, for religious and cultural reasons, please make sure to always have a woman from your sponsor group present when visiting the home and have the wife present whenever a female volunteer is interacting directly with the husband.
While we do not need all of our sponsorship monies up front, we are in need of funding to begin the settlement process. To that end, please let your parish know that they may make monetary donations through their Church Treasurer. Just mark the envelope “Refugee Sponsorship Fund” and your treasurer will issue you a receipt and forward the donation to the Treasurer at Christ Church Parish Church for deposit to the Refugee Sponsorship Account.
The meeting adjourned with The Grace at 2:10 p.m.
31 March Update
- Committee of 11 parishes from the archdeaconry met again March 30th with six parishes in attendance.
- Some have contributed money to the trust account, and others are currently doing fund-raising. Pat Drummond will contact others for status reports.
- Criminal record checks are ongoing for volunteers.
- Members have portfolios such as medical/dental; accommodations; education; language training; budgeting; food; furnishings; transportation; orientation. Some cannot accomplish much until the composition of the family is known and/or the timing of the family’s arrival, but are researching what to do. Donations of household goods are being collected.
- For decision-making purposes between meetings, the executive committee comprises Archdeacon Patricia Drummond; The Rev. Rick Robinson; Kelly Humber-Kelly; Ann Deveau.
- As a recent example of the need for rapid decisions, the Atlantic Baptist Convention asked if we would accept a Somali family on very short notice. The man is in his 70s, blind, in a wheelchair, illiterate and considered unemployable. His wife is younger and in better health but also illiterate with poor employment prospects. They wondered if we would take this family with high medical needs and do hands-on support for two years, not one as anticipated with a Syrian family. Furthermore, it would be in addition to a Syrian family to be chosen later! As unfortunate as the situation is for these Somalis, the committee discussed it, considered what we have ready for money, preparations and a team, and concluded we did not feel ready to handle such a heavy responsibility well beyond the scope of anything the vestries had agreed to do originally. The larger committee agreed that it was best to decline.
- The committee continues to want to sponsor a Syrian family of four or five people. However, the Atlantic Baptist Convention reported to us last week that the whole process has slowed down considerably at the federal government level which has pulled back hundreds of temporary staff from overseas to their regular jobs in Canada. Also, they have several churches ahead of us waiting to choose families from the lists of refugees released periodically by the government. They say, realistically, it may be four to seven months before “our” family arrives in person.