Joan Rose and her husband, Bobby, can’t say enough about the David Busby Centre. “They helped us find housing and they are always very kind to us,” says Rose. “I like to help out by folding clothes that are donated, and helping to clean up outside. It saves money for the town. Bobby is also proud of being associated with the Busby Centre and he wants the community to know that the centre is a good neighbour. Every day when he arrives at the centre, Bobby grabs his broom. “I keep the sidewalks clean.” Helping others comes naturally to Joan and Bobby. Joan has fond memories of her grandfather. “He was Native and he always helped homeless people. Every time I see a homeless person, I think of him.”
AURA (Anglican-United Refugee Alliance) works with parishes in the Diocese of Toronto to aid and support refugees through refugee sponsorship, settlement services, education, and other means. Ashur (not his real name) is just one of the many people who have been helped. Here is his story:
Ashur is a 7 year old boy from a town in south west Syria.
Ashur lived a quiet life, his father worked for the government and his mother worked for an international company. On the 6th March 2011 fifteen children were arrested and tortured for painting anti-authoritarian graffiti. The civic protests that followed their detention led to an outbreak of violence that would see a domestic uprising transform into a civil war.
As the civil war erupted Ashur’s father was murdered for being seen as part of the government by one side of the conflict. Ashur’s mother was threatened with death for working with foreign companies by the other side of the conflict.
Having no choice, Ashur and the remaining members of the family fled the only home they had ever known into the hostile countryside. Ashur made the 57 km journey on foot over the border with Jordan and eventually to the Zaatari refugee camp. Although safer, Ashur and his family now face the dangers of life in a temporary refugee camp and an uncertain future. Because of being directly targeted, Ashur and his family will never be able to go home.
“At age 17 I had my first psychotic break. I went ten years being schizophrenic and having psychotic breaks and was only diagnosed at 27. At age 39, they were looking for an institution to put me away for life because I was very disturbed and very sick and there was no way of reaching me. I was involved with a program at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Aurora, and one day people came from LOFT to tell us about their new housing program. I just asked and asked and asked, and I must have driven them crazy! I said ‘I’ve found my place!’ I just knew it was the right place for me. Continue reading “Patricia – LOFT Bradford House”
Sam arrived in Canada during a blinding snowstorm just before Christmas, 2013. He was greeted by members of his parish sponsorship team who quickly arranged for Sam to trade in his lightweight hoodie and running shoes – the clothes he had on his back when he left his homeland of Eritrea as a refugee – for a warm parka, mitts and boots. His sponsorship was facilitated with the help of AURA – the Anglican United Refugee Alliance. AURA staff were enormously helpful to the parish welcoming committee in submitting their application to become refugee sponsors, planning for Sam’s arrival, and addressing concerns that came up after his arrival in Canada. Continue reading “Sam – AURA”
The Lakefield After-School Program (ASP) is a partnership between St. John the Baptist, Lakefield, and Lakefield Youth Unlimited. ASP offers a safe, fun, and caring environment for youth in grades 2-8 with a focus on the educational and character development of the youth who participate. The weekly after-school program includes food time, fun time, tutoring time, and God time.
I recently asked several youth why they enjoy their time at ASP. A 6-year-old boy said, “I like playing games and the people here are nice to me.” An 8-year-old girl told me that “ASP is a lot of fun. I wish it was every day!” Another girl, aged 9, replied, “It helps me to believe in God. It teaches us about the Bible. They also help me with my homework.”