Date(s) - 26/03/2017
St. Croix Vineyard Cafe
Sunday March 26th at 7 pm
No big issues but some info to exchange and keep everyone updated. Mohamad’s aunt and her husband and son are likely to arrive in early April and there will be some planning associated with that. We anticipate a shorter meeting so please arrive for 7!
SUNDAY FEB 26 SCV&F REFUGEE MEETING CANCELLED
We do not have any issues that need attention at this time so we decided not to call 25 people together. No solid news to report on family relatives and we are still waiting for Fuat Gumushels availability to convene a meeting to discuss details. No changes in finance. The movement of refugees from the US into Canada may be an issue in a few months. We will set up a meeting in March for sure. If anything needs attention do let one of the leadership team know about it
As always, the daily dedication to our Syrian friends is awesome !
Next group meeting is January 29, 2017. 7 pm at the Vineyard Center
Welcome baby Wdah, born Monday, December 5, 2016
DEC 4th POTLUCK !
In keeping with the season and knowing we will not likely meet in December we have shifted the November 20th meeting to a December 4th POT LUCK at 6 pm at the Olmstead’s at 37 Prince William St.
There are no big issues looming so we will have a brief meeting on the 4th to keep everyone up to speed.
Please bring your spouses or significant others as the case may be ! Look forward to seeing you all !
6pm, Sunday December 4th, Pot Luck at the Olmstead’s – mark it on the calendar now !
SCV’s ESL program is changed from Monday to THURSDAY mornings, 10-12, at the Vineyard Center.
Child minders needed, please contact Karen at 466-2893 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to sign up for helping with the kids, only 4 of them who are not in school!
Next meeting is scheduled for October 16, Vineyard Cafe at 7pm
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Meeting to catch up and go over new things. Vineyard Cafe, 7 – 9 pm, this Sunday
Friday, August 26
TOMORROW !! SATURDAY B B Q AT LOON BAY
We are inviting everyone to Loon Bay tomorrow the 27th from 1 pm to dark for a Loon Bay Day
At least two of the Syrian families are coming, maybe all of them.
If you are coming and have room for a family or part of it let Karen know at 466-6169
We decided to avoid irritating cancellations by being more casual and last minute.
Hope to see you tomorrow !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don & Karen
****It looks like the weather for the next bit is iffy at best. We have decided to cancel this Saturday’s event. If we get a stretch of expected 2-3 good days, we will reschedule.
Apologies for any inconvenience.
SYRIA AT LOON BAY – Saturday August 13
The last event was very successful so we have arranged sparkling sunshine for Saturday the 13th of August to have another party at Loon Bay.
Please connect with your families to make travel arrangements so they can be transported. Any date in summer does not work for everyone so we will be content with as many as can make it.
Every family and every SCV & FRIENDS group member is invited. If you have company feel free to bring them along !
As before we are “open” from 1 pm to 10 pm; bring what you want for the BBQ.
If anyone needs directions contact Don at email@example.com or 466-2893
See y’all on the 13th !
Don & Karen
SCV & SYRIAN LOON BAY BBQ DATE CHANGE
Due to the rain through the weekend we are cancelling it for this Saturday and rescheduling for SUNDAY the 17th, 1-10 pm.
We have another group at Loon Bay next Saturday, hence the move to Sunday the 17th. I happen to see all four husbands today and advised them of the change.
So let us plan for next Sunday the 17th and hope the rain does not hit us again.
Also remember our Monday night meeting 7-9 pm
Thanks – Don
*** July 1, 2016
POST RAMADAN LOON BAY BBQ PARTY SATURDAY JULY 9th
We would like to host all the Syrians and the full SCV & Friends group for a post-Ramadan party. The first opportunity is Saturday the 9th as the children are in summer school starting Monday the 4th.
Is anyone aware of any plans for the families on Saturday the 9th or Sunday the 10th ? ( think of Sunday as the rain date) We have not asked any of the families if they have plans that weekend. Can you check with your family to see if that date works ?
There is no summer date that works for everyone but hopefully that weekend is OK.
Please let us know if there are problems with the 9th, rain date 10th.
Don & Karen
***Saturday, June 25, 2016
SCV & FRIENDS LOON BAY PARTY !
Remember everyone and their families and visitors are invitedthis Saturday to Loon Bay for a party and BBQ. We have canoes, paddleboat, tubes etc. Starts at 1 pm until 10 pm or so and you are welcome to come for the whole time, supper, some of the time etc. Bring your food and drinks, BBQ is there to cook on. Hope to see you !!
DIRECTIONS TO LOON BAY
In you ain’t been there yet or have a bad memory…. Leave St Stephen on Rte 3 heading for Fredericton, about 5 miles/ 8 Km out at the top of the hill follow signs for OAK HILL on Rte 745, effectively straight ahead. Follow that through Oak Hill and on until you come to the end of pavement where you take the LEFT FORK into Loon Bay. You will have three miles of dirt road, you will pass the Loon Bay Lodge driveway and see the river, follow the little road to your left as you approach the river – your only option unless your car floats. That will bring you to our place !! Don & Karen
***SCV & Friends Refugee Group Meeting this Sunday, June 19 – 7:00 at the Vineyard Center***
June 25, 2016
Supporting Refugee Settlement Workshop by CCMA on June 25, 9:30 – 4:00) at Garcelon Civic Center. For info click here.
May 21, 2016
CCMA SURVEY Volunteers have received a survey from CCMA asking them about their degree and type of volunteering going forward into the summer.
Our meeting on the 29th will discuss our future relationship with CCMA. You may wish to skip the survey now and make decisions regarding CCMA after the 29th, that is your decision .
MAY 29th MEETING
Please remember our next full meeting of SCV & FRIENDS on Sunday May 29th 7-9 pm at the Vineyard Church.
We have some major issues to discuss such as whether we have involvement with future BVOR or GAR families and our relationship with CCMA.
April 28, @016
FULL GROUP MEETING THIS THURSDAY APRIL 28th at 7 pm
We feel we need a full meeting to bring everyone up to date, share our initial experiences since the family arrived and set a course for the next several weeks. Due to many conflicts over the weekend and early the following week we are going with this Thursday the 28th at 7 pm at the Vineyard Church.
Hope to see you there !!
FAMILY TEAMS AND VISITING SCHEDULES
To refine our family team organization, we suggest that starting this week you reduce visiting schedules to every other day or every third day depending on your team’s assessment of your family’s needs.
We are trying not to wear our families out with too much dropping in in, while staying connected as friends. When you see your schedule for your team, hopefully you will drop in a day when no one is scheduled. If it works for each week’s team leader to find a new leader for the next week, then keep on doing so. We will be meeting Thursday night this week as the full group and we can refine this as needed. The Main St family might need more visiting for another week or two because of the late arrival of that family.
If this leaves you with any extra time please consider babysitting during English ESL classes.
April 8, 2016
We had 3 families arrive yesterday and they are settled into their new homes. Another family came to check things out and they went back to Fredericton to decide. Lots of updates on Facebook. Watch the CBC news from last night, our story starts at the 5:20 mark
Here is the CBC newstory: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/syrian-refugees-st-stephen-1.3525990
April 1, 2016
SCV & FRIENDS REFUGEE CTTE –
THIS SUNDAY APRIL 3rd 7-8 PM
It is evident that the major shift from one or two BVOR families to working through the Multi-Cultural Association on four Government Sponsored Refugee families has raised a number of questions about our role, our relationship with the refugee families, use of money raised and related issues.
We therefore thought it wise to meet without the CCMAand work through the questions and issues so all are informed, comfortable and confident. We welcome everyone who has been involved and those who were new this past Sunday night.
We will keep this to an hour as people are busy and will be far busier once the families arrive hopefully Thursday the 7th.
Please make an effort to come Sunday and bring your concerns and questions so we can move forward with clarity and strength.
To accommodate everyone interested, there will be a “Cultural Awareness Orientation Meeting” on:
Monday, April 4th at 7 pm at the Vineyard Centre
Sorry for the long email. Will try to summarize in bullet points!
WHERE HELP IS NEEDED:
• Welcome Team – 3-4 people per family – first Canadian friends – be at house when
they arrive, stop in to see how they are doing, take for walks, get oriented in
neighbourhood, common interest (swimming, knitting, etc.)
• Driving Team – to appointments, grocery shopping
• Child Minding Helpers – while when running ESL classes, in order to get both
parents involved – at location of classes (ie)library
• Tutors – work under Carlos (language instructor), has paced curriculum that could
be volunteers would follow
• support them, help them step by step
• they are very overwhelmed but will learn to cope with gentle support
• want to empower them to be responsible citizens
• all are literate
• pushing IRCC for a budget for this
• have 4 people identified that may be able to help, but they work full time
• Community Foundation – possible funding – Town of St Stephen
• Apps – Talking Translator for Android
• will be go to person for answering questions and help
• he is living with his family here in St Stephen – firstname.lastname@example.org
ORIENTATION SESSION FOR VOLUNTEERS
• with Laurie & Kwame
• TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 6:30 pm at Vineyard
If you didn’t sign up at the meeting, please send Laurie Parris an email with your name so she can send you the document you need to go get your Vulnerable Sector Check at the RCMP. This is needed in order to help with the families.
SCV & FRIENDS REFUGEE CTTE POT LUCK
To inject some fun into the process we decided to make the Sunday March 20th meeting a pot luck as well !
So … 6:00
at the Vineyard – POT LUCK – bring great food!
MEETING – bring great minds !
Food makes everything better so we hope everyone can make it Sunday!
Hope to see everyone there
. We need to make decisions on how we are going forward with the government sponsored newcomers … we are getting very close to seeing someone benefit from all of our hard work!
March 9, 2016
EMERGENCY MEETING OF SCV & FRIENDS REFUGEE COMMITTEE
Recent efforts to secure an initial family through the Blended Visa Office Referral program, known as BVOR, has not been successful for our group (nor for others across Canada). It is uncertain when referrals may come or if more referrals may come in the near future.
On Tuesday we received a call from Laurie Parris of the Charlotte County Multicultural Association ( CCMA) asking if our group was interested in helping CCMA settle as many families as possible in St Stephen commencing late March, just a few weeks away. Another 100-200 refugees are being placed in Fredericton and the settlement agencies there are overwhelmed and reaching out to other interested groups for help. At our last general meeting we had a brief discussion about the possibility of helping the CCMA after our first family arrives, with remaining financial and other resources ( furniture, volunteer time) if they were successful in their effort to bring fifteen families to St Stephen – likely after June 2016. We resolved to take a wait-and-see approach.
Now there is shift in the movement of refugees into New Brunswick and something of a crisis in placement. Available housing is an issue as well as the people to assist in this process. This would be a major change from our initial plan to comprehensively assist 1-2 families in 2016. However, it does present opportunities to assist many more refugees, an invitation to do more good.
The Weibes, Olmstead and Fitchs met briefly Tuesday morning and concluded that we need to seek guidance from the full group as soon as possible and decide whether we should commit to walk forward and to explore the possibility of a larger commitment.
At this time we do not have complete information on what financial assistance, health programs etc these refugees would have as government assisted refugees (GAR’s) as compared to the BVOR program we intended to work within. Initial information suggests it would be pretty close but we need to get more detail. We recognize that there is danger in our 50+ team losing a sense of personal connection and thus commitment as the months go by. This concern can be addressed in part by limiting our work to say five families, thus being able to still know these people personally.
Because timing is important we settled on an emergency meeting Thursday evening at6pm at the Vineyard Church. March break is an issue and several other nights through to Sunday are impossible for various reasons. We would try to keep the meeting to an hour and suggest you bring your sandwich if that works best for you. Laurie Parris from the CCMA will be there.
THURSDAY March 10, 6 – 7 pm
St Croix Vineyard Church
PLEASE TRY TO ATTEND AND ADVISE US IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND
March 3, 2016
NEXT REFUGEE MEETING DEFERRED
We do not have any major items requiring a meeting until we get word on the arrival of our first family. So we felt it best to defer this meeting until issues arise that require our group attention. Additionally, it is March break and some people felt attendance would be low.
THE MEETING SCHEDULED FOR THIS SUNDAY Mach 6th IS THUS DEFERRED TO A LATER DATE
DANCE & AUCTION RESULTS !
Wow ! Congratulations and thanks to the many people who worked so long on this major effort ! Results are a net gain of $4,230.50, a big boost that puts our fund close to $45,000 ! Well done ! Community attendance was about 115, an excellent dance turnout we are told, and everything went very well.
MEETING WITH KAREN LUDWIG, MP
A meeting with Karen was achieved on Tuesday noon on short notice but she was fully updated on our situation and the concerns about the lack of families being posted for uptake by BVOR groups like ours. She is aware that many NB groups are waiting for families under the BVOR Program while thousands of refugees are being housed in hotels at great expense. We expect to hear back from her efforts in about a week and will update everyone.
PHONE CALL TO PAUL CARLINE
Spoke with Paul who is our contact at the Atlantic Baptist Convention, the Sponsorship Agreement Holder group we work through, and Paul has no word on when postings of families may resume.
When asked about all the families in hotels in Saint John under the Government Sponsorship Program ( GSP) , as distinct from the BVOR ( Blended Visa Office Referral) Program we come under, Paul advised he would explore the possibility of getting families from the GSP as was done just recently in Sussex. What is unclear is the funding formula for these families. Taking a family parked in a hotel under the GSP may mean we do not get the $5,000 to $10,000 per family subsidy available under the BVOR Program.
Once we hear from Paul whether this is possible AND we sort out the subsidy issues, there may be need for a group meeting to make a decision about this other option. First we need to fully understand the plan and the finances and we also need to hear back from Karen Ludwig. Estimating a week or more before we have sufficient information on which to make a decision.
AS SOON AS WE HAVE RELIABLE INFORMATION OR OPTIONS WE WILL CALL A MEETING
Don & Tom March 2, 2016
Here are two announcements from Don & Tom, our beloved “co-chairs” ….
UPDATE ON FAMILY REQUEST TIMING
We will keep you posted on these developments.
The Bank of Nova Scotia is holding a fundraiser for us. They are having a Valentine’s Day Cupcake Sale on Friday, February 12th from 10 – 2:30 in the bank. We need:
Meeting of Housing Committee, Sunday, January 17 after church in the cafe.
The next general meeting for our group is on Sunday, January 17th at 7 pm. The meeting will be held in the Cafe at St. Croix Vineyard.
Update, January 12, 2016:
Pray as well for the family as the work is done, that they will settle into their new home with grace and ease,
Press Release, December 2015—- The “St Croix Vineyard Church & Friends” refugee sponsorship group has held two meetings, raised $10,000 in donations and has organized over thirty volunteers into committees. Group co-chair Tom Wiebe expresses the excitement of the group: “We were surprised at the amount of enthusiasm within our church and the wider community. While our eventual goal is $30,000 for a single family we have been fortunate in seeing donations arrive already in our first ten days. It is very encouraging,” he said.
The initial plan is to sponsor one family of four to six persons and consider additional families depending on fundraising results and community support. As the group is partnering with the Atlantic Baptist Convention which is a federal “Sponsorship Agreement Holder,” it triggers federal funding and easier access to various forms of assistance.
Co-chair Don Olmstead spoke of the amount of work involved. “We have committees for education, medical, housing, furniture and household needs, liaison with governments and support organizations, mental health, employment, cultural awareness training, family finances etc. Fortunately we have over thirty capable volunteers already so we are confident we can handle the challenge”, he said.
The first two priorities are fundraising and furnishing an apartment or rental house. The group will be soliciting personal, corporate and group donations. Donations are deductible for tax purposes and 100% of funds raised are used for the refugee project. Persons interested in donating may contact the St Croix Vineyard Church (466-5725) or either co-chair Don Olmstead ( 466-2893) or Tom Wiebe (466-2717). Groups interested in doing a fundraising event are very welcome.
Olmstead noted that “It is not often that we can invest in a genuine humanitarian cause and see the results right here in our town. The opportunity to truly save a family from the horrors of their destroyed country and constant threats to their very lives is one to which we should respond with energy.”
In a similar comment Wiebe stated “Individuals, groups and governments from coast to coast are being creative in responding to this unique situation. Please join us in being a part of Canada’s peaceful and generous history.”
Collecting sufficient furniture, appliances, lamps and housewares for a family of 4-6 is a major undertaking and that group is led by Tony and Madeline Huntjens. Refugee groups have generally adopted the standard that if you would not use the item yourself then it is not a suitable donation. Groups with experience have learned to exclude donations of items such as used mattresses. If you have extra items in suitable condition you can contact the Huntjens at 466-1977.
This group is one of at least two that been established in Charlotte Country to bring refugee families to the area. Donations of all sizes are welcome as each enables our community rescue and give a future to an entire family.