Wow, does time ever fly! We are into our 10th month of our sponsorship of “A”, the 20 year-old refugee from Iraq. Things are going very well for him. He’s been going to school since last September at the Central Toronto Academy, a regular TDSB high school in Little Italy. He’s doing very well, and his English has improved dramatically. A has a part-time job at a high-end dinner/jazz club in the city, which he enjoys very much. He fills his spare time with homework, going to the West End YMCA, helping with the monthly dinners that St. Thomas’ Huron Street puts on for the under-housed and under-employed, and spending time with friends, as well as the occasional lunch or dinner with some of the sponsorship committee members. In short, it has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved.
We have decided that we are going to extend our support for “A” beyond the required and usual one year that privately-sponsored refugees are given. Even though he is doing very well in school, he does need more time to bring his English up to the Grade 12 level required for graduation. This isn’t a process that can be rushed; he needs to work through the ESL levels one by one, and then he needs to complete the required high school English classes. It was important to us that “A” successfully complete his high school education … it just didn’t seem right to cut him off before he reached this milestone. After he gets his diploma, he will have the same options any high-school grad in Ontario has … he will be able to apply to college or university, if he wants to, taking advantage to funding programs offered by the province. Or if he wants to go directly into the workforce, he can do so with his diploma under his belt.
In the meantime, the sponsorship committee has also been moving forward with preparations to welcome another refugee family. When we agreed to sponsor “A” last summer, we told AURA that we would want to apply for another family once we had “A” well settled into his life here in Toronto. We have submitted our application to take on another refugee case; this time, we are hoping that we will be matched with a larger family. We aren’t sure how long it will be before we are matched to a family … the government’s resettlement targets have changed this year, and the number of families being brought in under the Blended Visa-Office Referral (BVOR) program is significantly smaller that it was last year. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that we’ll have some good news to share with you before the summer is finished.
Thanks for your continued support!