Together Project works with our partners to engage community volunteers in newcomer integration.
Together Project and the Crossroads Clinic, at Women’s College Hospital, are seeking Together Project volunteers to assist newcomer refugees in booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Newcomer refugees urgently need help to access COVID vaccine appointments, given the complexity of navigating booking systems and the barriers many newcomers face, such as digital constraints (limited internet/technology access, less familiar with websites), language barriers, lacking OHIP, etc. Trained Vaccine Access volunteers can make a potentially life-saving difference by helping bridge these gaps. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2ROv5LS
Together Project is launching the Welcome Groups for Newcomer Parents and Young Learners program. This initiative will focus specifically on refugee newcomer families with school-age children in Toronto and Peel regions, and provide matched volunteers with training, resources, and guidance around addressing newcomer families’ unique challenges with regards to their children’s education. The program will produce a guide that will provide an in-depth overview of the different challenge areas refugee newcomer parents face engaging in their children’s education. The guidebook will offer tools, resources, and services that will enable volunteers and newcomers to work together to address these challenges. This targeted training will help Welcome Group volunteers more effectively support newcomer families with a safe return to schools as part of pandemic recovery.
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 are 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), single parent household, or 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 the agencies that have referred refugee claimants to the program: The Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital and COSTI Immigrant Services. 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. Pending pandemic social gathering restrictions, we are hopeful that late summer/fall activities in 2021 will include four nature-focused event to introduce refugee newcomers to Toronto’s parks and green spaces. The purpose of these events will be to encourage newcomer households to explore local and city-wide destination parks, to engage in environmental stewardship activities, and to connect with volunteers. If you are seeking more information or want to get involved, please email us at email@example.com.
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. 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. 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 . For more information, please email Together Project Co-Director, Anna Hill, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the Thorncliffe community. 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.