A Reflection by Lisa Jackson, a Volunteer Support Group member
“The best part of this whole process is that our family has become friends with this Syrian family. True friends who care about one another, beyond the aspect of volunteering.” – Lisa Jackson
This experience of helping a new Canadian family settle into our community has been life changing for our family.
Our Syrian family has been so gracious and appreciative of all the time and help we’ve given them.
Our group assisted with getting donations of clothing, household items, linens, toys – everything a family would need to start over. We found an apartment for them and helped them move in and feel at home. The staff at the New Canadians Centre (NCC) were helpful and guided us along the way.
We have enjoyed social outings like trips to the Zoo, Peterborough Petes hockey games, tobogganing, shopping, walks to the park and even some pot luck dinners!
Our family continues to help them with transportation to appointments and outings. We sometimes drop in for a visit and enjoy a chat over tea or coffee and cookies. We even text each other just to say “hello”.
The best part of this whole process is that our family has become friends with their family. True friends who care about one another, beyond the aspect of volunteering. Our older children have bonded with their school-aged children in ways that feel like they are cousins. They have become an extension of our family.
This opportunity has made our family more aware of the needs of others outside our “comfort zone” called home. It has made us appreciate our lives and how fortunate we are as Canadians. It really has been rewarding in ways we never imagined.
There’s something very special about making a difference in the lives of others, while learning about a new culture. It’s also helped educate us on the atrocities happening in the Middle East. Our Syrian family even shares their stories from back home.
These families are the same as us. They just want their family to be happy, safe and have a place to call home.