We help newcomers and volunteers explore local communities together.
Through the support from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Together Project volunteers and newcomers enjoyed three opportunities to connect in nature this fall.
Thank you to Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and High Park Nature Centre and for their support.
For a video of our events, click here!
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Together Project newcomers and volunteers attended a nature walk and a planting workshop with High Park Nature Centre!
We loved the fall colours and the opportunity to make some new friends.
Thank you to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and to High Park Nature Centre for this memorable autumn day!
For a video, click here.
On September 16th, we spent a sunny afternoon touring Etobicoke’s Colonel Samuel Smith Park with Linda of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority! We had so much fun learning about native wildlife and plants and exploring the marsh and beaches. Thanks to the TRCA and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for this opportunity!
On August 19th, we had a guided walk through the Indigenous Agriculture Garden at the Evergreen Brick Works!
Outdoor educator April gave us an in-depth nature walk experience that involved her perspectives as a lead of the gardening program and as a member of Wendat nation.
Thank you to TD FEF for making this Newcomer Urban Nature Access Pass event possible.
On October 1st, we spent a gorgeous fall Saturday enjoying the “Learn to Fish” program with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
Thank you to the TRCA for showing us the beauty of Heart Lake Conservation Park. It was a great opportunity to meet in person, make new friends, and be in nature!
On July 22nd, we spent a Friday night with our friends at High Park Nature Centre.
Newcomers and volunteers enjoyed a catered dinner, children’s activities including art, container gardening, games, and a guided evening walk to see bats and other creatures of High Park’s Black Oak Savannah.
To see more about this in our 2022 Summer Events video, click here!
On June 26th, we enjoyed a nature walk with our friends from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
As newcomer participants of all ages explored the park, they had a chance to see the birds, plants and animals that call Toronto home.
Through this walk at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, we had a great opportunity to connect in-person for the first time in so long.
To see more about this in our 2022 Summer Events video, click here!
In spring 2021, Together Project hosted three focus groups with 20 newcomers about our communications and how to best centre newcomer voices.
Participants were recruited from within our Welcome Group matches, as well as from outside the program. We appreciate all the feedback they provided and would like to share some of the main takeaways and suggestions. Please read our main takeaways and suggestions from the focus group series here.
Together Project was pleased to launch the Welcome Groups for Newcomer Parents and Young Learners program.
This initiative focused specifically on refugee newcomer families with school-age children in Toronto and Peel regions, and provides matched volunteers with training, resources, and guidance around addressing newcomer families’ unique challenges with regards to their children’s education.
The program released a guidebook that provides an in-depth overview of the different challenge areas refugee newcomer parents face engaging in their children’s education. The guidebook offers tools, resources, and services that enable volunteers and newcomers to work together to address these challenges.
This targeted training helps Welcome Group volunteers more effectively support newcomer families with a safe return to schools as part of pandemic recovery. View and download the guide here.
Together Project, in partnership with Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital, would like to thank Together Project volunteers for assisting newcomers across the GTA with vaccine access.
From May 10th-July 31st 2021, volunteers were able to help 70 newcomers access COVID-19 vaccines through this initiative.
This project helped newcomers navigate the complexity of booking systems and overcome barriers many newcomers face in accessing vaccines, such as digital constraints, language barriers, lacking OHIP, etc.
In addition, the project has been able to support the COVID-19 Vaccine Access Hub to ensure that the information gathered can be used to assist others.
Together Project looks forward to working with a new spring cohort of TD Welcome Group volunteers who will be matched with refugee newcomer families for six months of social and integration support.
With the support from the TD Ready Commitment, Together Project has matched 14 TD Welcome Groups consisting of 96 TD volunteers since 2019. Based on our most recent survey conducted with government-assisted refugee participants:
-100% of households reported satisfaction with the match experience
-100% of households reported feeling less socially isolated
-100% of households reported feeling that their match has helped them make progress towards their most important integration priorities
-89% of household reported the formation of stronger social connections
-78% of households reported feeling more welcome in their communities.
Learn more about a recent match between a newcomer family from Mississauga and a TD Welcome Group at TD Stories.
Together Project would like to thank the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and Toronto Foundation for providing generous support for our Remote Social Support for Newcomers program.
This support allowed Together Project to build remote social connections between a total of 151 newcomer refugees and over 200 volunteers.
The program served 49 newcomer households (31 Government Assisted Refugee Households and 18 refugee claimant households) with a mix of newcomer single-parent families, families with low language levels, youth (18-28), and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, program outcomes were promising: 100% of newcomer households reported feeling less socially isolated and 89% of newcomer households reported having formed stronger social connections after participating in a Welcome Group match.
Together Project is pleased to have delivered our Welcome Groups for Refugee Claimants one-year pilot program, with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
From Oct. 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020, we worked with groups of five or more volunteers in the Greater Toronto Area who were matched with a refugee claimant youth (ages 18-28), a single parent household, or a family for six months of social support.
To foster social connections, Together Project worked with refugee claimants to establish newcomer-defined priorities for the match that help create a common purpose and shared goals as an underpinning for social connection.
The success of the matches was measured based on a newcomer-defined perception of an increase in social connection and a decrease in social isolation.
Volunteers received training and support throughout the match. Please refer to our volunteer training manual and refugee claimant resource listing here.
A special thanks to Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital and COSTI Immigrant Service for referring refugee claimants to the program.
For a description of the program impact, please click here.
Based on the success of this pilot program, Together Project continues to match four or more volunteers with newcomer refugee claimants and Protected Persons as well as with Government-Assisted Refugees.
We would like to thank TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for providing invaluable support for our Urban Nature Access Pass Program for Refugee Newcomers.
In summer and fall 2021, Together Project hosted four nature-focused events to introduce refugee newcomers to Toronto’s parks and green spaces. The purpose of these events was to encourage newcomer households to explore local and city-wide destination parks, to engage in environmental stewardship activities, and to connect with volunteers.
Thank you to Birds Canada, Black Creek Community Farm, and High Park Nature Centre for hosting these events for us and for teaching our community about nature.
The YMCA Newcomer Youth Leadership Development (NYLD) program, in partnership with the Together Project, has launched a program for refugee youth aged 12-19 in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park.
This strength-based program offers youth the opportunity to meet new friends, practice their English, build their leadership skills and get involved in their new community.
In partnership with The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, Together Project was pleased to host The Ritz-Carlton Succeed Through Service Newcomer Hospitality Program 2019 for refugee newcomers.
Classes met at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Toronto on Monday evenings for six consecutive weeks beginning on July 15th and ending on August 26th.
Through the generous support of the Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints team, this program provided an introduction to the hospitality industry for 25 refugee newcomers and helped increase their readiness for employment in the hospitality sector.