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Building Bridges Best Practices in Creating Effective Partnerships between Student Volunteers and their Communities to Sup...
Background In 2008-09, WUSC conducted research in the several small Ontario-based communities* with the goal of assisting ...
Student Refugee Program <ul><li>WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) provides a unique opportunity to students, staff and ...
The Role of Student Volunteers in Refugee Sponsorship Students play a vital role in the refugee sponsorship process by pro...
<ul><li>Student volunteers also play a key role in connecting refugee sponsorship programs and their participants with the...
The Role of the Community in Refugee Sponsorship Local host communities play a very important role in the successful integ...
The Role of the Community in Refugee Sponsorship Some ways in which host communities can contribute towards the success of...
Refugee Sponsorship in Small Communities Welcoming a newcomer into a small and/or rural community often presents unique op...
Refugee Sponsorship in Small Communities <ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Strongly defined sense of community spiri...
Refugee Sponsorship in Small Communities <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller pool of volunteers to support newcom...
Testimonial “ As a foreign student, it is never easy to quickly adapt to a new country and a new culture.  But because I w...
 
What is a Partnership? Any organization that becomes involved in refugee sponsorship quickly realizes that partnering with...
Off-Campus Partnerships for Refugee Sponsoring Groups <ul><li>Immigrant, Refugee, Multi-Cultural Organizations </li></ul><...
Best Practices <ul><li>Through this research project, key linkages between student groups and community emerged which were...
Best Practices: Fundraising Student volunteers in small communities have demonstrated that no challenge is too big to rais...
Best Practices: Fundraising <ul><li>College d’Alfred, Alfred </li></ul><ul><li>100 students on campus </li></ul><ul><li>Ra...
Best Practices:  Emotional and Social Support A cold winter climate, new food, different cultural norms and expectations, ...
Best Practices:  Emotional and Social Support <ul><li>Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitated cr...
Best Practices:  Training of Volunteers Providing on-going volunteer training opportunities for students involved in refug...
Best Practices:  Training of Volunteers <ul><li>Lakehead University, Thunder Bay </li></ul><ul><li>Improved their refugee ...
Best Practices:  Employment Support Employment opportunities are fewer and more competitive in smaller centres.  Bearing t...
Best Practices:  Employment Support <ul><li>Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate population...
Best Practices:  Raising Awareness By educating and engaging your campus and community in refugee issues, you will raise u...
Best Practices:  Raising Awareness <ul><li>Nipissing University, North Bay </li></ul><ul><li>Annual International Food Fes...
Conclusion The key to successful settlement in smaller centres: the involvement of the whole community in the sponsorship ...
Further Information For more information, please see our guide: “ Building Bridges: Best Practices in Creating Effective P...
Thank You! This World University Service of Canada (WUSC) would like to thank the following groups and organizations that ...
Thank You! This project was made possible through  the kind support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Ontario Trilli...
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Building Bridges: Best Practices in Creating Effective Partnerships between Student Volunteers and their Communities to Support Newcomers in Small Communities

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Building Bridges: Best Practices in Creating Effective Partnerships between Student Volunteers and their Communities to Support Newcomers in Small Communities.

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Building Bridges: Best Practices in Creating Effective Partnerships between Student Volunteers and their Communities to Support Newcomers in Small Communities

  1. 1. Building Bridges Best Practices in Creating Effective Partnerships between Student Volunteers and their Communities to Support Newcomers in Small Communities
  2. 2. Background In 2008-09, WUSC conducted research in the several small Ontario-based communities* with the goal of assisting refugee-sponsoring student groups in exploring opportunities to develop partnerships within their communities and increase community engagement amongst people of all ages, abilities and cultures. * Alfred, North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay
  3. 3. Student Refugee Program <ul><li>WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) provides a unique opportunity to students, staff and faculty on post secondary institution campuses to assist student refugees to pursue education in an environment free of violence and fear. </li></ul><ul><li>Unique in being the only program in the world centered on youth-to-youth sponsorship, the SRP through its student volunteers welcomes over 60 sponsored refugee students each year across Canada – half of which are sponsored in Ontario communities. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Role of Student Volunteers in Refugee Sponsorship Students play a vital role in the refugee sponsorship process by providing the financial, social, emotional and logistical support that is necessary for a sponsored student to successfully settle in Canada.
  5. 5. <ul><li>Student volunteers also play a key role in connecting refugee sponsorship programs and their participants with the greater community: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying and initiating relationships with organizations, businesses, schools and groups that may have an interest in engaging in the sponsorship process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inviting the wider community to attend refugee and newcomer awareness events and fundraising activities; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liaising with media to raise awareness regarding refugee sponsorship, immigration issues, and their significance within the community; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitating a process whereby the entire community can participate in refugee sponsorship and welcoming newcomers. </li></ul></ul>The Role of Student Volunteers in Refugee Sponsorship
  6. 6. The Role of the Community in Refugee Sponsorship Local host communities play a very important role in the successful integration of newcomers.
  7. 7. The Role of the Community in Refugee Sponsorship Some ways in which host communities can contribute towards the success of refugee sponsorship programs: <ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social and emotional support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Networking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work / Co-op placement opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Donating gifts-in-kind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raising awareness: promoting and attending refugee-related events </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Refugee Sponsorship in Small Communities Welcoming a newcomer into a small and/or rural community often presents unique opportunities and challenges for sponsoring organizations and all stakeholders involved in the sponsorship process.
  9. 9. Refugee Sponsorship in Small Communities <ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Strongly defined sense of community spirit; which in turn often translates to a greater inclination towards volunteerism </li></ul><ul><li>The friendly and welcoming atmosphere often found in smaller communities (relative to that of large urban centres) helps facilitate the integration process of newcomers </li></ul><ul><li>A more personalized and tailored support system to refugees and newcomers on campus due to the smaller student population and class sizes </li></ul><ul><li>Students are looking for opportunities to be engaged on local and global issues </li></ul>
  10. 10. Refugee Sponsorship in Small Communities <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller pool of volunteers to support newcomer integration </li></ul><ul><li>Less ethnic diversity amongst the local population; </li></ul><ul><li>Limited immigrant resettlement programs and services; </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer employment opportunities for newcomers </li></ul><ul><li>Securing suitable accommodations </li></ul><ul><li>Comparatively fewer international student organizations on campus </li></ul>
  11. 11. Testimonial “ As a foreign student, it is never easy to quickly adapt to a new country and a new culture. But because I was surrounded by a group of professors and students who wanted me to integrate, it was not at all difficult for me to integrate into Canadian society.   The Alfred community was very welcoming and I will never forget them.” Gervais Bagaza, SRP-sponsored student originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, arrived in Canada in 2006 to study at Collège d’Alfred. Gervais graduated in Spring 2009 with a degree in Agricultural Technology .
  12. 13. What is a Partnership? Any organization that becomes involved in refugee sponsorship quickly realizes that partnering with outside groups is essential to the success of their program. <ul><li>A Partnership : </li></ul><ul><li>is a collaboration for a shared goal; </li></ul><ul><li>is mutually beneficial; </li></ul><ul><li>brings diversity and unique perspectives to the table; </li></ul><ul><li>often increases the legitimacy of a program; </li></ul><ul><li>helps to spread awareness about a program and the issues it addresses; </li></ul><ul><li>can strengthen a program by expanding its network of support. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Off-Campus Partnerships for Refugee Sponsoring Groups <ul><li>Immigrant, Refugee, Multi-Cultural Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Faith-based Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Local Interest Clubs (ie. Rotary Club, Lions Club, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>The Greater Community </li></ul>
  14. 15. Best Practices <ul><li>Through this research project, key linkages between student groups and community emerged which were central to successfully sponsoring refugees: </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional and Social Support </li></ul><ul><li>Training of Volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Employment Support </li></ul><ul><li>Raising Awareness </li></ul>The following examples demonstrate student volunteers based in smaller communities who have succeeded in forming partnerships to facilitate the sponsoring and integration of newcomers in their communities.
  15. 16. Best Practices: Fundraising Student volunteers in small communities have demonstrated that no challenge is too big to raise funds necessary to support the sponsorship program on their campus. However, their capacity to raise funds greatly improve when linking with individual and community groups.
  16. 17. Best Practices: Fundraising <ul><li>College d’Alfred, Alfred </li></ul><ul><li>100 students on campus </li></ul><ul><li>Raises over $13,000 per year! </li></ul><ul><li>Annual tuition waiver </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced book prices </li></ul><ul><li>Developed an “alumni and community outreach strategy” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telephone and net-based fundraising campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Events and donor recognition </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Best Practices: Emotional and Social Support A cold winter climate, new food, different cultural norms and expectations, homesickness, loneliness, these are but a few of the obstacles that newcomers face when arriving in Canada. To successfully overcome them and make a smooth transition into living and studying in Canada, newcomers require emotional and social support from their community.    
  18. 19. Best Practices: Emotional and Social Support <ul><li>Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitated creation of a “Home Stay” program involving families in the community </li></ul><ul><li>Created through a partnership with a local church </li></ul><ul><li>The church generated interest in the sponsorship program, made regular announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits the sponsored students, the student volunteers, and the community as a whole becomes engaged in refugee issues </li></ul>
  19. 20. Best Practices: Training of Volunteers Providing on-going volunteer training opportunities for students involved in refugee sponsorship remains an important challenge but it key to ensure that volunteers have the necessary skills to support a newcomer during the transition to his/her new community.   
  20. 21. Best Practices: Training of Volunteers <ul><li>Lakehead University, Thunder Bay </li></ul><ul><li>Improved their refugee sponsorship skills by participating in a WUSC online distance learning web conference </li></ul><ul><li>Made it possible for students to overcome geographic limitations, access the knowledge and developed skilled required to provide strong social and emotional support to sponsored students </li></ul>
  21. 22. Best Practices: Employment Support Employment opportunities are fewer and more competitive in smaller centres. Bearing this in mind, newcomers usually require support in finding work. Sponsoring groups working with newcomers should establish a strong working relationship with their school’s career centre as well as employment agencies and career assistance centres found within the community.
  22. 23. Best Practices: Employment Support <ul><li>Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate population: 1,200 </li></ul><ul><li>Limited employment opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Partnered with Employment Connections (local employment agency) & campus career centre </li></ul><ul><li>One student found employment at the university gym </li></ul>
  23. 24. Best Practices: Raising Awareness By educating and engaging your campus and community in refugee issues, you will raise understanding and concern for the challenges facing refugees, and will in turn increase support for your sponsoring group.
  24. 25. Best Practices: Raising Awareness <ul><li>Nipissing University, North Bay </li></ul><ul><li>Annual International Food Fest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong Media coverage (CBC, etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special guests to increase event profile (Mayor, MPP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnered with Holiday Inn & Best Western hotels: provision of facilities for food preparation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>300+ attendance, many more engaged through media coverage </li></ul>
  25. 26. Conclusion The key to successful settlement in smaller centres: the involvement of the whole community in the sponsorship process.
  26. 27. Further Information For more information, please see our guide: “ Building Bridges: Best Practices in Creating Effective Partnerships between Student Volunteers and their Communities to Support Newcomers in Small Communities” Link: http://www.wusc.ca/en/campus/students/SRP/274
  27. 28. Thank You! This World University Service of Canada (WUSC) would like to thank the following groups and organizations that were involved in the research and focus group discussions surrounding this project.   Nipissing University WUSC Nipissing Local Committee North Bay and District Multicultural Centre Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Bay College Boreal WUSC Boreal Local Committee   College d’Alfred – University of Guelph WUSC Alfred Local Committee Laurentian University WUSC Laurentian Local Committee City of Greater Sudbury Algoma University WUSC Algoma Local Committee Sault Community Career Centre  Contact interculturel francophone de Sudbury (CIFS) Lakehead University WUSC Lakehead Local Committee Thunder Bay Multicultural Association Africa Matters club – Lakehead University Lakehead University Multicultural Centre Lakehead University Student Union Northwestern Ontario Women's Centre DOORS to New Life Refugee Services African-Caribbean Student Association (AFCASA) – Lakehead University
  28. 29. Thank You! This project was made possible through the kind support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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