Together Project

Together Project Criteria


Together Project connects newcomers and volunteers to build stronger, more integrated communities. “Welcome Groups” consisting of 3-5 volunteers are matched with refugee newcomer households for a period of six months, during which they will provide dedicated social support addressing client-identified integration priorities.

The areas of focus for each match will be determined by priorities shared by newcomer participants (e.g. socializing, language learning, employment readiness, access to healthcare, childcare or education, housing rights and services, etc.). Newcomer participants will not receive any kind of financial support from Together Project nor from volunteers. The goal of the program is to increase newcomer social connections and to support newcomer integration priorities.

Volunteers and newcomers can interact in-person or virtually. Typically, newcomers meet once a week with volunteers over the six month match duration. Volunteer interpreters participate in matches as needed, and Together Project staff provide supervision and support.

Staff at partner organizations can share the Welcome Group Program opportunity with clients to determine whether they are interested in receiving volunteer social support, and if they meet the criteria outlined on the following page.

Upon receiving a client referral, Together Project staff will connect with the newcomer head of household via phone to onboard them into the program and create a profile that will be shared with volunteers once the family is matched. This process can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. Depending on volunteer availability, households may need to wait 6-8 weeks to be matched.


Newcomer Participant Criteria

Status: Newcomers are eligible if they:

  • Arrived as Government-Assisted Refugees (within 3 years of referral)
  • Are Protected Persons (arrived within 4 years of referral)
  • Are Refugee Claimants (claim made at least 1 week prior to referral)

Geographic location: Greater Toronto Area (including Mississauga), Ottawa, Surrey, BC

Housing status: Personal residence, refugee house, or shelter

Accessibility: Clients must have access to a mobile phone and internet

Availability: Clients need to be willing and interested in connecting regularly with volunteers, either to socialize or to address priorities (e.g. weekly language practice)

Priorities: Clients should have at least 2 clear integration priorities that volunteers can support, which can include:

  • Language practice
  • Job search/preparation and career mentorship
  • Child and Youth support (accessing childcare, tutoring, extracurriculars, etc.)
  • Service navigation (healthcare, food banks, public transit, etc.)
  • Post-secondary education pathways
  • Life skills support (basic banking, digital literacy, etc.)
  • Meeting new people and building social connections

High-needs clients: Staff should identify a client as “high-needs” if the household is facing any of the following, as this has significant implications for volunteers’ roles and necessary level of experience:

  • Significant health challenges or disabilities
  • High level of stress
  • Receiving mental health counselling
  • Incidents of domestic violence
  • Past or ongoing involvement of Children’s Aid Society
  • Past or ongoing involvement of police

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