Together Project
Impact
Photo: Lisa Kannako

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Together Project makes change in three interconnected ways: building newcomer social connections, supporting newcomer integration priorities, and amplifying community involvement in newcomer integration.

Together Project connects government-assisted refugees or refugee claimant newcomers with Canadians to build stronger, more integrated communities.

Our Welcome Group Program serves newcomers that face significant challenges to successful integration in their new communities, which often include language and culture barriers, health issues, unemployment, and a lack of social connections.

Together Project provides a platform for community engagement to address these challenges, ensuring that it both complements the work of existing service providers and is tailored to the needs of individual newcomer families.

To learn more about Together Project’s Theory of Change, please click here.

To see our 2021 Impact Report, please click here.

In Numbers

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Volunteers
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Newcomer Participants
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Matches
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Connections

Getting settled in a new place is easier when you’re connected to members of your new community, and this kind of social capital can be hard to come by for refugees and newcomers.

Connected communities are happier, healthier, and more resilient. Social connections can also play an important role in newcomer health and well-being.

Together Project introduces newcomers to Welcome Groups of volunteers who can provide social support and expand the newcomers’ social networks.

“During my time with the Welcome Group, I started off thinking about the impact I hoped to make on the lives of this newcomer family. What I did not expect was how my life was about to be transformed after getting to know this incredibly intelligent, brave and compassionate family in return.” Zein, Welcome Group Volunteer

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Integration Priorities

Every newcomer family is different and faces unique challenges in integrating in their new community.

Rather than provide “one size fits all” support, Together Project uses a matching system that connects volunteers and newcomers based on shared preferences, interests, and skill sets.

The newcomer-defined integration priorities give the match a shared purpose as the newcomers and volunteers work on addressing  these priorities together.

But volunteers are not service providers – they are allies, advocates, and guides who can help newcomers overcome barriers.

“Coming to Canada as a refugee claimant or a Government-Assisted Refugee means dealing with a lot of fear and uncertainty. You think you have come to a safe country but there are so many challenges, even if you speak English and are well educated. This is where the volunteers can step in and ease the newcomer’s journey.”Hani, Steering Committee Member

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Community Involvement

Together Project helps build more welcoming communities.

We believe that volunteers represent an untapped resource in refugee integration.

We work with settlement service providers to ensure that volunteers complement but do not duplicate agency support, and have a meaningful role in supporting newcomer integration.

We see this as an opportunity for community members to take an active role in the “two-way street” of integration, and an important way to promote positive discourse and experience around newcomer integration.

“The Welcome Group Program gives volunteers the chance to participate in their community, to give back, and to learn more about different cultures and newcomer communities.”Phil, Welcome Group Volunteer

Reports

2021 Impact Report January 2022

GAR Social Capital Study: November 2021

Pathways to Prosperity: June 2021

Filling the Gap: September 2017

Why Match Government-Assisted Refugees? December 2016

How do Social Networks Help Integration? November 2016

Stories

Did you know that our Welcome Group Program is in Ottawa?

For Community Health and Well-being Week, we featured our partnership with CCI in this article with Anneke van Nooten, Client Support Services Program Coordinator. Check it out here!

For this article, we connected with Welcome Group Lead Natasha and Afghan newcomer Zamarin to share both sides of the #WelcomeGroupProgram experience. Check it out here!

“Three of us in the group, myself included, come from families of immigrants. We’re extra sympathetic to the immigrant experience, and that’s a huge reason why we chose to do this volunteer work.” Hear more from volunteer Marilou here!

When this newcomer mother & her family moved to their new home in Toronto, they received support from 6 Welcome Group volunteers in their neighbourhood. To see what a newcomer experience is like in our Welcome Group Program, click here!

Meet Mohammed: Long-time Welcome Group Volunteer and Our New Steering Committee Member!

Meet Hanen: Syrian-Canadian Changemaker and Our New Steering Committee Member!

Meet Western University Researcher Maria Besselink!

A Study of Together Project’s Welcome Group Program: Examining Canadian Volunteers’ Virtual Contact Experiences with Refugees

A Volunteer on Welcome Groups and Mental Health: “It’s had a huge positive impact”

“This positive energy is like a battery for me”: An Aspiring Physician on Being a Welcome Group Volunteer

A Long-time Welcome Group Volunteer: “Putting empathy in motion”

Volunteering as a Cultural Ambassador: “A small piece of time with a big impact”

3 Welcome Groups and Counting: “Matching the Rhythm of Newcomer Refugees”

Listen to more stories from newcomers in our Welcome Group Program on the Together Project podcast. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

“I can confidently say I have five Canadian friends and family… they are supportive in every area of my life.”

“After almost three years in Canada, I feel fortunate to call Toronto and Canada my home.”

“At some point in anybody’s life someone somewhere has volunteered to assist them in a time of need.”

“Even though we couldn’t meet in person because of the pandemic, I feel like we were able to become friends.”

“The ‘Canadian smile’ we received from our friends and neighbours made us feel so welcome, comfortable and safe.”