Federal funding connects Syrian kids with summer supports

EDMONTON - At Glengarry School on a summer day, about 60 Syrian children aged 6 to 12 gather for a morning assembly to sing ‘O Canada’ before starting a day of arts, sports and academic programming in preparation for their first days of school in Canada this fall.

The camp is just one of nine summer programs aimed at helping Syrian children and families settle into their new lives in Edmonton, thanks to $245,000 in funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The summer programing connects refugee children with academic supports, including English instruction, as well as sports, crafts and field trips that give them a chance to get to know their new city.

REACH Edmonton was able to bring the ten partners together quickly because of its past and present work with the Out of School Time (OST) Collaborative, which was already working together to provide summer camps to various immigrant communities in Edmonton.

“The fact that we were able to put together these programs so quickly is really a reflection of the strength and resourcefulness of the OST Collaborative,” said Lindsay Daniller, Director of Community Initiatives and Strategic Development for REACH Edmonton. “Canada is working to ensure that Syrian refugees are connected to their new communities, in a meaningful way, as quickly as possible and REACH is proud to be a part of that.”

The camps are intentionally being held in neighbourhoods with high numbers of Syrian families, so that families will not have to struggle to find transit to attend the camps, making them more accessible.

The nine camps are being held across the city during July and August through a partnership that includes ASSIST Community Services Centre, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area, Brander Gardens ROCKS, Free Footie, Islamic Family and Social Services Association, Nyarkenyi Development Foundation of Alberta, South Pointe Community Centre, YMCA and YWCA.

For more information, or to schedule an interview with a REACH spokesperson, partner representative or camp participant please call Marilyn Gray at (587) 991-3142.