Final Update

Sorry it’s been so long since our last communication to you.
Some of you may have seen the article about the Sinjab family in the Sunday Star on July 30:
This is the family Bloorcourt Sponsors were matched with in 2015.

Back in April when we learned that the Sinjab family had been rejected, and our sponsorship would no longer be active, we regrouped.  Not surprisingly, only a few members of the original group were still available to help decide what we might do with the funds we had raised and the household goods we had collected.  This much smaller group of us met over the months following the news, to determine our possible next steps. In the end, we decided there was not enough interest, energy or support to begin another sponsorship application and face another uncertain 2-year wait for a new family.

The majority of the funds we raised are in a trust account with Ryerson University, through the Lifeline Syria program. With Ryerson’s help, we investigated whether it might be possible to take over an already in-process case which for whatever reason had been abandoned, but there were no such situations at that time.  Then we discussed possibly donating the entire amount to an existing sponsorship groups that could have benefited from a “boost” in funding. There were groups interested in taking our donations, but we weren’t satisfied that our funds would actually be making a significant difference.
When Bloorcourt Sponsors was first formed and we were in full fundraising mode, we were lucky to receive a lot of advice and support from another sponsorship group, the Ripple Group. The family that Ripple sponsored way back then has arrived some time ago, and the group has gone on to sponsor two more families.  We all agreed it would be very appropriate to donate the bulk of our fundraising to the Ripple Group. Unfortunately Ryerson (as the trustee for our money) said no, because Ripple’s new sponsorships were not Syrian cases, and Ryerson is part of Lifeline Syria.

This left us out of options, and so Ryerson has taken control of our funds and they will be dispensed to families and groups with genuine financial need as determined by Ryerson.  The furniture and housewares that we had collected and that were sitting in paid storage were ours to dispense with, and so they have been donated to the Ripple Group, and are already being put to good use in the homes of several newcomer families.

While it is disappointing that Bloorcourt Sponsors was not able to use the funds we raised to bring a family to Canada through all of our hard work in organizing and fund raising, it’s good to know several families have and will continue to benefit from your contribution.  Unfortunately, we don’t know any more about the Sinjab family than what is in the newspaper article. We wish them well, and hope at some point very soon that their dream of a home in Canada will become a reality.

Thank you again for entrusting us with your support and donations. We hope that you feel we have honoured the original intention of the funds that were donated.
Sincerely,
Bloorcourt Sponsors
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Some good news to share!

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Since our last update was rather disappointing we are glad to have a little good news to update you on. The Syrian family has a new addition to the family! A beautiful healthy girl, born in April. They are all very happy, but tired with a newborn to take care of in an already stressful situation. That is why we are glad to hear that things have started to move along again. Just before the baby was born the family had received their visas but now there is some extra work to do to get the baby her documents as well. We don’t know how fast or how slow this will happen but we are hopeful for a summer arrival.

And as a group we have been at a standstill in waiting mode. We will be planning a social get together for our members and families so we can reconnect before things get busy again!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Latest update from the Bloorcourt Sponsors

Sincere apologies to all that it’s been so long since the last update. Things have been busy and there have been many turn of events so we have much to update you on.
As you may have seen on our blog and Facebook updates, due to the very specific needs of this particular family and preparing for their imminent arrival, we went ahead and found a perfect apartment for them, and have been paying rent on it since mid-January.  Because of their unique needs we decided it would be best to have something permanent ready for when they arrive so they don’t have to have the burden of moving from place to place. It is beautiful and fully furnished, and even has the bonus of a perfect view to downtown and the CN Tower. Many thanks to everyone who has had a part in making it happen, whether you came to help clean or set it up, donated items for it or made a donation that has gone to help cover the rent or other start up costs.
Since then things have taken a few different turns. We were thrilled to hear that the family we are sponsoring was approved on the spot when they went for their interview with the visa office in Beirut in early February, complete with handshakes and a “Welcome to Canada! Can you travel in two weeks?”. However, in the intervening weeks, as travel arrangements began to be investigated, we received news here that there has been a delay in the case . We have no further details about what the issue might be or when it will be resolved. All travel arrangements were put on hold at that time. We realize this is very frustrating and upsetting for everyone, not to mention how difficult it must be for the family, but all we can do is patiently wait until we hear word about the government’s decision. We have been working closely with Lifeline Syria and in touch with Ottawa and they have both assured us that there is no kind of political or media pressure we can put on this case to get it moving faster. And from reports in the media it is apparent that we are not the only private sponsorship group experiencing these kind of unexpected delays.
In early March, the Bloorcourt Sponsors executive team met to talk about what to do about the apartment and contents, which include items purchased specifically for the family’s needs. We discussed many possible scenarios of how to proceed but because of the uncertainty of when the family might now arrive we decided it would be best to give up the apartment and put the contents into storage. We are now looking into finding donated storage space so we will have everything ready and can spring into action when we hear word about the decision. If for some reason they are denied we will be ready to sponsor another Syrian refugee family. Until then we have signed on and are fully committed to sponsor this family. So, we just sit tight, wait and hope for the best.
We are sorry to have to report such disappointing news but we are staying hopeful that this delay will be worked out but realize it could be months before we find out. We will keep you posted on any new developments. We also want to take this opportunity to thank you again for your kind hearts, generosity, support and patience! We are only able to do this because of people like you. We want you to know every penny spent so far has been thoroughly considered and spent wisely, keeping in mind our budget and what is the best for the family. Our members have been working so hard behind the scenes advocating for this family and getting the necessary resources prepared. That is what makes this delay all the more disappointing. We were completely ready to welcome them with medical professionals lined up, phone lines hooked up and pantry stocked.
So not to end this on a negative note, we have one bit of happy news. As some of you may have heard, the mother of the family is pregnant. Due to her wishes and her concerns of her safety she asked that we keep it quiet until now so that is why we are just announcing it. She is due with a baby girl in April. They were very much hoping to have the baby in Canada, but with that not being possible now, they are making preparations to welcome the new addition to their family in Lebanon. And now we can hopefully look forward to welcoming a family of 4 to Canada in the months to come.

In-Kind Donation needed: iPad

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We are in need of an iPad for the 11 year old daughter so she can use a translation app at school and with her friends. She has a bit of english but having the help of a translation app will really help her be able to communicate with the people around her. If you have one to donate or know of anyone who does please let us know! It can be used, refurbished or new. Email us at bloorcourtsponsors@gmail.com or send us a FB message

 

“Welcome to Canada! Can you travel in a couple of weeks?”

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“Welcome to Canada! Can you travel in a couple of weeks?” is what the family heard at their meeting at the Canadian Embassy yesterday. We are so thrilled to hear the happy news of their acceptance! While we wait to hear their exact arrival date we still have much to do to get organized and ready, so time to switch it into high gear!

Thank you again to all of you who have supported Bloorcourt Sponsors to get this far. This is what we have been working so hard for since September and we couldn’t have done it without the help of each one of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We will very soon get to welcome this family to their new home where they can finally rest, feel safe and begin to build a new life for their family.

Moving Day!

We finally got to bring all the great in-kind donations we’ve been storing in our closets and basement corners to their new home on Sunday. It’s so exciting to see the apartment filling up and taking shape. It’s really beginning to feel like a welcoming home. Thank you to everyone who came out to help move furniture, plan bedroom layouts and unpack dishes. With many hands and enjoyable company (and Tim-Bits to keep us fueled!) it was a breeze and we were done faster than we had planned. Next step is a quick trip to IKEA to pick up things like bedding and curtains to warm up the apartment.

As for the Syrian family who are still overseas, they have now completed the medicals and we are waiting for them to be sent to the Canadian Embassy. Once they have the medical files, they will call the family to have the Biometrics done (fingerprints, photos, etc). After that is complete, the International Organisation of Migration will be calling the family to make their travel arrangements, which of course includes an arrival date! We are looking at the end of February or beginning of March. Stay tuned!

Cleaning Day!

The Syrian family’s case is moving forward! They now have a case number and the next step is their interview, medical and security screenings. We are hoping to hear about their final approval soon and when we do things could move very quickly so we are getting prepared. We found an apartment in the neighbourhood and a few of us spent the day on Thursday scrubbing sinks and tubs, washing windows and taking measurements for furniture and curtains. Here’s a picture of group members Jennifer, Suvi and Tina getting ready to clean and also a the view from the living room window. A bit of a grey day but what a fantastic view of the city with the CN Tower!

A Very (Successful) Falcon Fundraiser

 

thankYouThank you to all that helped make the Very Falcon Fundraiser a success on Saturday night. Whether you came out to enjoy the show, donated your talents or a raffle prize, you helped us raise over $2000! That covers a month’s rent and many meals on the table of a very grateful family. Thank you to the Comedy Bar for generously offering their great location for the event. Thank you to all the individuals and local businesses for supplying us with such amazing raffle prizes including Petal and Post, Mirvish, The Sony Centre, Second City, The Queen’s Shoppe and I Can Be Face Painting as well as members of the Bloorcourt Sponsors Jennifer, Daniel, Amanda, Barb and Rich who donated items. And last but certainly not least, a huge heartfelt thank you goes out to the performers who donated their time and their talents to lift our spirits and keep us laughing all night. Thank you Mark Forward, Kathleen Phillips-Locke, Briana Templeton, Gwynne Phillips, Scott Montgomery, Kurt Smeaton, Kris Siddiqi and Jim Annan for making this event possible.

Comedy Night Fundraiser featuring FALCON POWDER! Jan 16

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Join us for an “electrifying” evening of laughs at a comedy night fundraiser to support the BLOORCOURT SPONSORS, a local community group working to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. Show will feature improv, stand up and headliners FALCON POWDER will do sketch comedy. FALCON POWDER was named “Best Of The Fest” at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival and NOW Toronto’s “Audience Choice Award” at the 2015 Toronto Sketch Festvial.

Joining them:
Kathleen Philips (Sunnyside, Mr. D)
Kris Siddiqi (Bad Dog, Second City, Newborn Moms)
Templeon Philharmonic (Womanish)
Mark Forward (Mr. D)
and more!!!

Show starts at 7PM at the Comedy Bar but be sure to get there early to get some raffle tickets for a chance to win some great prizes!

COMEDY BAR
945 Bloor St West, Toronto
Saturday, January 16
6 PM Raffle
7PM Show starts
Tickets $20 (All proceeds go to help the Syrian refugee family.)
For advance tickets call the Comedy Bar Box Office at 416-551-6540

Event’s Facebook Link

Grow your heart 3 sizes :)

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Grow your heart 3 sizes and help a family in need this holiday season! We are busily preparing to welcome a Syrian refugee family as early as January and we are still in need of items on our in-kind donation registry. Please take a look at our So-Kind registry here and see if you have something to share.