Together Project
Blog
Photo: Sarah Bodri

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Newcomers and volunteers working together to build more welcoming communities.

It’s Time for Newcomer School Orientation

In Mississauga, North York, Toronto, and Scarborough, schools are holding orientations for middle school and high school students who have arrived in Canada in the past year!

Facilitated by School Settlement Workers and student peer leaders, these programs are free and registration is happening right now. Students will learn about school routines and timetables, extracurricular activities, graduation requirements, and more.

We’ve compiled a list of programs currently accepting Grades 6-12 students.

For Mississauga, North York, Toronto, and Scarborough newcomer orientation programs for Grades 6-12 students, click here!

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Who Are Settlement Workers in Schools?

Did you know that many schools have Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS Workers) to help newcomer children, youth, and parents?

Their services are free and confidential, and they’re an important bridge between newcomers and school staff.

They often speak the languages of the school’s newcomers or are connected to colleagues who do.

Settlement Workers in Schools provide school orientation and connect newcomers to local after-school programs, employment workshops, language training, and more.

Ask a newcomer family if they need your help connecting to their child’s school’s settlement worker, and reach out to their school or your local settlement agency to receive the SWIS worker’s contact information.

Help newcomer students start their year off right!

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Long-time Welcome Group Volunteer Becomes Our New Steering Committee Member

In the ancient UNESCO World Heritage city of Harar in eastern Ethiopia, Mohammed Ahmed came of age during a volatile time.

“In 1977, during the revolution, the emperor was overthrown, and there was a lot of killing on the streets, so we left as refugees,” he said.

He was grateful to receive a lifeline from the UNHCR: an 8-year scholarship to complete his high school and university education in Egypt. This opportunity sparked his passion for helping others, even today.

“Because I was once a refugee and got assisted by the UNHCR, this is my payback time,” he said.

Mohammed has been a Welcome Group volunteer since 2016, making him one of Together Project’s longest-serving volunteers. As someone who has been helping to deliver and improve the Welcome Group Program over many years, Mohammed is bringing an array of volunteer expertise, community leadership, and a global vision for Together Project.

We couldn’t be more honoured to announce that he is our new steering committee member!

Click the link to read more!

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Arabic TTC Map by Together Project Volunteer Marwa Abboud

We look forward to meeting at High Park Nature Centre tonight with the newcomers and volunteers who registered for our Together Project summer picnic!

A special thanks to Together Project volunteer Marwa Abboud for making this wonderful Toronto TTC map in Arabic to help with wayfinding!

You can find more Tour Your City resources here: https://www.togetherproject.ca/resources/

Introducing Our Newest Steering Committee Member: Syrian-Canadian Changemaker Hanen Nanaa

Only six years after arriving in Canada as a Syrian refugee, Hanen Nanaa has already made her mark on Canadian society.

She co-founded BAM Collective and the Starter Kit, served as an Ontario Regional Advisor for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, worked as an Ontario caucus advisor at the Liberal Research Bureau in the House of Commons, and more— all while studying Politics and Governance at Toronto Metropolitan University.

“I study full-time and I work full-time and I run a collective almost full-time, and I work for other initiatives on top of that,” she said. “It’s about the power and energy I bring as a young woman– the opportunities to face challenges, and the opportunities for success.”

At just 23 years old, Hanen Nanaa has already accomplished so much. And today, Together Project is honoured to announce that she will be part of our steering committee.

Click the link to read more!

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A Study of Together Project’s Welcome Group Program by Maria Besselink

In 2019, Finnish-Canadian Social Psychology Masters student Maria Besselink began the early stages of her evaluation of the Together Project Welcome Group program. With the support of her Western University thesis advisor, Dr. Victoria Esses, Maria set out to examine how Canadian volunteers’ perceptions and attitudes towards refugees would change over a six-month match with a refugee newcomer household.

However, just as she was about to begin her study, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, and she ended up breaking new ground in social psychology with her study of our Welcome Group Program.

Click the link to read more!

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