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. These include language and culture barriers, health issues, unemployment, and the 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.
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
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
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
“The ‘Canadian smile’ we received from our friends and neighbours made us feel so welcome, comfortable and safe.”
“Even though we couldn’t meet in person because of the pandemic, I feel like we were able to become friends.”
“When you have no family here and you meet people who are able to help you, it feels like a family. It feels great.”
“Time is valuable and I appreciate that the volunteers are taking their time to help out my family. It gives me hope and faith in people.”