United Way of the Lower Mainland

United Way of the Lower Mainland

April 16, 2016 18:42 ET

United Way of the Lower Mainland Welcomes Syrian Refugees to Our Community

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 16, 2016) -

Note to editors: There is a photo associated with this press release.

90% of Syrian refugees have found permanent homes in the Lower Mainland. Today, United Way of the Lower Mainland welcomed them home at four United for Refugees welcome lunches.

These grassroots events were held in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey and Vancouver at community schools. Community agencies set up information tables, volunteers staffed the lunch and activities, and new Canadians enjoyed a welcoming experience to our community. Altogether 800 people attended the lunches.

"United Way of the Lower Mainland's vision is a healthy, caring, inclusive community for everybody," said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. "We are so proud of how our community has rallied together, has opened its arms and doors and continues to welcome our new neighbours to their new home."

United Way of the Lower Mainland has a long history of helping refugee families settle and integrate in the Lower Mainland. In 2016, UWLM will be investing $2.8 million into programs and services to help refugees and immigrants from around the world. This includes programs designed specifically for Syrian families such as:

  • a drop-in program for Syrian refugee families through the Early Years Refugee program
  • mental health support programming including eight 5-week group sessions for Syrian adults and children delivered through DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society
  • art and play therapy groups for Syrian families with children under the age of 12 in Burnaby through MOSAIC

Recently, United Way launched an urgent fundraising appeal United for Refugees, to help Syrian children and families settle here in our community. To date, $175,000 has been raised. To participate and make a donation, go to www.uwlm.ca/refugees.

Fast Facts

  • United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) will invest $2.8 million in 2016 to fund community agencies delivering frontline services to refugees and new immigrants including:
    • Immigrant Services Society of BC
    • MOSAIC
    • DIVERSEcity
    • Options Community Services Society
    • SHARE
  • Programs we support for children include:
    • Early Years Refugee Program supports refugee families with young children in Burnaby, Langley, Richmond, Surrey, Tri-Cities and Vancouver
    • Community school after school programs
      • Burnaby Family Life's African children's homework club
      • Friends of Simon tutoring program
      • ISS Reaching for Success program in the Tri-Cities
      • SHARE's Schools and Families Together program in Coquitlam
      • Umoja's after school program for immigrant and refugee children in Surrey
  • From November 4, 2015 to March 18, 2016, 1661 Syrian government assisted refugees have settled in B.C.
    • Almost 1 in 4 is under the age of 6.
    • 60% are under the age of 18.*
  • Over 90% are now in permanent housing in 19 different communities across BC with the highest concentration in these Lower Mainland cities:
    • Surrey - 55%
    • Coquitlam - 15%
    • Burnaby and Vancouver - 7% each
    • Delta - 6%*
  • 12 million Syrians have fled their homes because of conflict. Half of them are children.*

(*Source: Immigrant Services Society of BC website http://www.issbc.org/.)

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