Welcome Home: July-December 2013

Information SystemsJuly-December 2013, Welcome Home

Introduction/Summary

Our Mission

To provide short-term housing along with emotional and spiritual support for refugee new arrivals.

Our Goal

To develop partnerships with local churches who will join us in welcoming refugees in the Name of Jesus.

Financial Facts

Program budget for 2013: $147,000
Income for 2013: $175,000
Expenses for  2013: $162,600

 

Accomplishments & Highlights

Churches teaming up with Welcome Home to serve refugees in Waterloo Region:

  • Bethany EMC
  • Calvary United
  • Elevation
  • Glencairn MB
  • The Journey
  • Kitchener MB Church
  • The Meeting House-Waterloo
  • Stanley Park Community Church

Six months of engagement:

  • Baking builds friendship39 Volunteers- 18 new in 2013: leading worship, teaching English, doing crafts, building friendship, bringing food, going skating, baking together, sharing life.
  • 2 Adopted Rooms = Small groups from Glencairn and Calvary United supporting the refugees who live in their room.
  • 12 Donors sharing 62 pieces of re-usable furniture+16 moving team volunteers = 13 grateful refugees outfitted in their new apartments.
  • Camping weekend and canoe trip thanks to Elevation Church.
  • Internship Project launched with assistance from The Meeting House-Waterloo and the MSCU Charitable Fund!
  • Awake KW outreach in September with Glencairn Church.
  • Ride 4 Refuge 2013: 101 Riders on 10 Teams (4 Church Teams) in 6 Cities Raised $27, 473
  • 16 “Their language” Bibles given to refugees, in partnership with Calvary United and Canadian Bible Society.
  • 3 Welcome Home Tours as we work towards our strategic goal of Broader Awareness.

 

Transformations

WH DanielWhen Daniel Escalantes defended refugees as a lawyer in Colombia, he never dreamed he’d ever become a refugee himself. A successful attorney in Bogota, he enjoyed a good life close to his parents and his sisters.

But everything changed when a terrorist organization demanded classified information from the government office where he worked. He refused to cooperate, and they threatened to kill him. His government could not or would not protect him.

After repeated threats on his life, he fled Colombia in 2008. He ended up in Canada, and moved in to Welcome Home.

“It was a kind of family for me,” says Daniel. “We were all in the same boat – all refugees, learning English at school, and we had similar struggles.”

He knew very little English, so it was hard for him to communicate. “Sharon was very patient with me, explaining words and expressions,” he says. He came out to the weekly Bible study, and spent time hanging out in the living room with other residents.

Living at Welcome Home gave him a community as he adjusted to life in Canada. Rent was inexpensive, and there was always help when he had questions like how to open a bank account or which verb tense to use in his English homework.

After his year at Welcome Home, Daniel moved out and continued going to English school. His goal was to become a lawyer here in Canada.

Five years later, Daniel’s goal of becoming a lawyer is slipping away. “It is not impossible, but it is next to impossible,” he says. Becoming a lawyer in Canada means years of study and would be very expensive. He is beginning to consider a second career.

To fund his schooling, he works full time in a factory, from 10 pm to 6 am, for minimum wage. He stands all night, and it is boring, repetitive work. When he is done his shift, he doesn’t go home to sleep; instead, he goes to classes for the morning. The hours are long and tiring.

When he takes time to reflect on his journey as a refugee, he chokes up and it becomes difficult to talk.

Today, he volunteers with refugees in Canada, helping them with paperwork or going camping with them. He knows how important such help is, because at the most difficult time in his life, when Daniel lost his everything – his country, his family, his friends, his language, and his career – Welcome Home was there for him.

 

Challenges, Needs & Lessons

Internship Project

WH MattIt was exciting to receive résumés for our Internship Project this spring from so many eager young adults!   September 1st we hired our first intern, Matt Thompson.  In addition to serving as house supervisor, Matt  is involved in administration, community development, advocacy, fundraising and ongoing training that will prepare him for a lifetime of service around the globe. Looking back over these past few months, it’s clear that the hiring process is better, the quality of candidates is high and the capacity to immediately step into a constructive role with refugees is impressive. 

In the midst of much success, we have had three challenges.

  1. For a variety of reasons, we have still not filled the female intern role, but we have gained a number of excellent new female volunteers from among the potential candidates.
  2. We discovered that the Ontario Employment Act requires that post-grad interns be paid. That impacts our budget significantly, but also makes the internship more just and more do-able for grads carrying student debt.
  3. Finding donors to invest in the internship project is progressing, but not yet at a level that is sustainable.  We will continue to look for grants, 20/20 Crew members, and benefactors for this project.

We’re convinced this new project is a real win for the interns and for the refugees they serve, and you are invited  to sponsor and make this project possible.

The Future

Development:

MSCU Logo (Colour Inline)A two year grant from the MSCU Charitable Fund will help us to launch the Build a Canadian Résumé Project.  The opportunity is ours because of the skill sets our interns bring to our team.  This project will address a significant need of refugees at Welcome Home: to begin building a Canadian résumé with local work experience and references.

  1. Phase one: research and recruitment of local businesses
  2. Phase two: a pilot project (fall 2014)
  3. Phase three: assessment, expanding and building further sustainability into the project (January-December 2015).

Fundraising and Advocacy:

It’s our 10th Anniversary this June, and YOU are invited to help us celebrate.WH-banquet header-72dpi small

 

Continuing:

to provide shelter and community for refugees in the face of increased challenges, advocating for refugees in an increasingly suspicious climate and adapting to changing federal regulations, training a new generation of skilled servant leaders, determined to use every opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and justice.

Thank You

Donors, hosts, Furniture team, cooks, cleaners, team captains and bike riders, craft leaders, worship leaders and prayer partners! 

Together we are making a life-changing impact for each refugee.