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Local youth reach out to refugees

A group of local youth inspired by the efforts of the refugee sponsorship group “First Line for Syria” came together January 24 to form the “First Line for Syria Youth Support Group.”

The meeting was led by Ciara and Billie Davis, sisters aged 21 and 19, who live in Mono Township.

With the assistance of First Line for Syria representatives Sabine Rohner-Tensee and Adelle Barr Klouman, the group began to develop plans to fundraise and help welcome new Canadian families to the area.

“First Line for Syria” was formed last year by families on the First Line of Mono Township determined to raise the $30,000 and more needed to support a Syrian family for a full year.

Core members include Wally Barr, Karin Klouman, Adelle Barr Klouman, Jeff and Sabine Rohner-Tensee, and LeeAnn McKenna.

All have a wealth of experience working in crisis situations.

The First Line for Syria Youth Support Group emerged from a mid-December meeting held at Trinity United Church in Shelburne.

“The real beauty is you are offering your time and energy,” Ms. Rohner-Tensee told the young people at the January 24 meeting. “The biggest thing you can give these new Canadian children is your friendship.”

The most recent news for First Line for Syria, outside of the new commitment by the youth, is they have now been assigned not one, but two unrelated families: a family of three and a family of four.

“We are super happy about this,” says the group, “It is very unusual, if not unheard of.”

They say they are confident the dedication of group and the continued support of the community will make the task possible.

A supportive group in Erin hosted a drive to gather donations for household goods, bedding, and clothing this month and Wally Barr called the event “a roaring success with cars lined up.”

Duplicate donations, he says, will be stored for a refugee sponsor group in the Halton area.

Housing has already been secured in Shelburne for one family and the group continues to look for a home for the second family.

The youth group is off to a good start with nine members ranging in age from 8 to 21, “all eager to be involved both globally and locally,” says Barr.

At their first meeting, the youth shared ideas on how to help and mentor the refugee children – a girl aged 17, and two boys ages six and nine – as well as organizing small fundraisers, possibly in schools or with recreational groups in which the youth are involved.

If you have any questions about First Line for Syria Youth Support Group or would like to get involved, contact First Line for Syria on Facebook.

By Marni Walsh
Post date: 2016-01-29 18:53:12
Post date GMT: 2016-01-29 23:53:12
Post modified date: 2016-01-29 18:53:12
Post modified date GMT: 2016-01-29 23:53:12
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