OCTOBER 2016: BIG UPDATE!
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks as we helped to settle the family. The kids are in school, the adults are in English classes, and we’re working on outfitting them for their first Canadian winter. The older children had their first apple picking adventure with school, and the younger girls have their princess costumes ready for Halloween!
Ready for more great news? Today we received word that the Syrian sisters Choir initially sponsored have finally, finally had their case approved— and they’ll be here in a couple of weeks! It hasn’t been an easy or straightforward process for them to come to Canada, and we’re so happy to have an arrival date.
As you can imagine, their relatives in the GTA are ecstatic. Because the sisters will be living with them, they won’t have the same housing and furnishing needs that we had with our other family. That said, because we have such a large and generous group, we may reach out to Choir in the coming weeks when we have a better sense of what they might need.
For now, let’s breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy this update. This happened as a result of a lot of advocacy and paperwork and waiting, but it was ultimately made possible by our big-hearted community!
SEPTEMBER 2016: MOVING DAY!
This weekend, our team and a few other volunteers moved the family into their new apartment. It was a long, exhausting, beautiful day. The family is so, so happy to be here and very grateful for the support of C!C!C!. We've shown them a bunch of YouTube videos, and they've expressed interest in coming out to choir events once they're more settled. Their days are currently filled with appointments - getting the kids registered for school, setting up a bank account, applying for health cards...and the list goes on!
They are a little hesitant about media coverage and the sharing of photos, so most of our documentation is of us, but we thought you might like to see your donations at work. What a sight it was, to have an empty space turned into a home in mere hours! Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this not only possible, but joyously easy. Some of you hauled stuff to choir, some of you hauled it to someone's house, some of you let us into your own homes for collection. Choir, you're amazing.
AUGUST 2016: IT'S HAPPENING!
After months of fundraising, paperwork, uncertainty, and more paperwork, we are delighted to share that our sponsored family of six will be arriving in Toronto in mid-September. As you can imagine, it's full action stations with the C!C!C! team right now as we try to secure housing, furniture and community support ahead of their arrival. And now it's time for us to turn to our broader Choir family to ask for help as we put together a home for our new neighbours.
Here's what we're collecting:
Stuff! We've created a registry of new and gently used products we're looking to gather to set up the family's apartment. Because we are trying to gather so many items, it would be deeply appreciated if items could be dropped off. To facilitate this, we will be setting up a number of drop-off locations across the city, including one very close to Clinton's. If you have large items (i.e. a bed or couch) but no van, we can help - please just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giftcards! Have some unused giftcards in a drawer? We'll take 'em! Old Navy, No Frills, Shopper's, Winners...your unused stocking stuffers will be used to purchase food, clothing or household goods for our new arrivals. We'll be collecting giftcards at the door on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the next few weeks.
Cash! It is still possible to make a tax-deductible donation through Lifeline Syria until August 31. Choose Choir! Choir! Choir! under the University of Toronto sponsorship list. If you'd like to make a donation after August 31, we can accept cheques made out to "Choir! Choir! Choir! fund" but we will not be able to issue tax receipts.
We so appreciate the money, time and good vibes that our Choir family has already put towards making this sponsorship happen, and we're so excited for the next step! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the team at email@example.com.
A few of you have already been in touch asking about ways to help, and we're so grateful for your interest! Forgive us if we take a little while to get back to you, as the core team is in a bit deep with immediate needs right now, but we will reach out when things calm down a little!
JULY 2016: BIG NEWS!
We’ve been anxious to have good news to share, but have been in hurry-up-and-wait mode for the last few months. It’s been challenging, but the Choir! Choir! Choir! Team continues to work together to bring our sponsored families to Canada and help them begin their new life here.
Families? Yep! Read on for more...
As we mentioned in our last post, we’ve been matched with two sisters who will be reunited with family already settled in the GTA. We are delighted to help make this reunion possible! The sisters are currently waiting for their interview with the Canadian embassy, and in the meantime C!C!C! member Aurina Chatterji has done some mock interviewing to help prepare them over Skype.
Given the incredible generosity of the Choir! Choir! Choir! community, we are able to proceed with sponsorship of a second family—and we’ve already been matched!
In addition to the Syrian sisters, Choir! Choir! Choir! will be sponsoring an Iraqi family of six, a mother and father and four children. While Lifeline Syria was initially set up to deal exclusively with Syrian refugees, Canadian government quotas mean there is a very long wait to process new Syrian applications. In the meantime, as you’re probably well aware, conflict in the region crosses many borders. Our team has completed all of the required paperwork and developed a budget and settlement plan for them.
This family will require more resources and support, and we anticipate many opportunities for our Choir family to be involved! Stay tuned for updates once we have a better sense of when they’ll be here.
While the road’s been slow, the team is feeling very positive about what lies ahead. As always, thank you to all of you who have made this possible — we would not be in a position to take on additional sponsorship without you spreading the word, fundraising, and coming out to sing!
Still have questions? We've created an extensive FAQ here.
Lastly, check out C!C!C! and Reuben Bullock singing Imagine at Lee's Palace on December 8th, 2015!
FEBRUARY 2016: THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT!
Last December, we got together to raise money to help Syrian refugees settle in Toronto and you generously responded. Now, we'd like to update you on our progress!
After several months, we are pleased to announce that we’ve been officially matched with a family! Throughout this process, we have come to learn that there are many groups seeking sponsorship who do not fit a conventional family structure. Many of the people fleeing the Syrian conflict find their families fragmented after years of displacement and violence. Taking into consideration a variety of factors, including our resources and the refugees’ needs, we have been matched with two adult sisters. The women will be reunited with their third sister and her family, who currently reside in Toronto. We’re thrilled to sponsor two individuals who have struggled to find an appropriate match and we look forward to welcoming them to Canada within the next two months.
We’re also excited to announce that we have exceeded our initial fundraising goal and have raised more than $60,000 in donations from our community!
Our fundraising efforts continue as we begin the process of settling the sisters in Toronto. Cash donations (online or by cheque) are still very welcome! There will be many other ways you can get involved, as well. As volunteer opportunities become available, we’ll be sure to let our community know how they can help. Stay tuned for more updates!
DECEMBER 2015: C!C!C! ANNOUNCES SING FOR SYRIA CAMPAIGN
Choir!Choir!Choir! continues to prove that amazing things happen when people come together.
Now we're working to welcome a Syrian refugee family to our community.
Our fundraising is well underway (Choir! kicked it off with a $10,000 donation), but we need your help to reach our goal of more than $30,000 to bring a family safely to Toronto.
To contribute, click here!
Any questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For individuals wishing to donate to this Choir! Choir! Choir! fundraiser via cheque, all cheques can be made payable to Ryerson University with a note in the memo box indicating: Ryerson Lifeline Syria Challenge: Team Choir! Choir! Choir!
Cheques can be sent by mail to:
Assistant Vice President, Development
350 Victoria Street
Toronto ON M5B 2K3
(For all cheques over $20, a tax receipt will be issued. Please ensure to include contact information for cheques over $20 so the tax receipt can be sent out.)
Still have questions? We've created an extensive FAQ here.