Students at Surrey’s L.A. Matheson Secondary have embraced the giving spirit of the season by extending a warm welcome to new refugees settling in Metro Vancouver.
The Global Issues Club, a student group which promotes inclusivity and equity in the community, has prepared Welcome to Canada care packages for distribution among the Syrian refugee families arriving in the Lower Mainland.
The packages include winter accessories such as mittens and scarves, toiletries and school supplies, including books and crayons. The items have been donated by students, staff, teachers and the public. Those who contributed were also encouraged to write a letter of welcome to enclose in the care packages.
The students brought the more than 150 packages to the Welcome House and Settlement Services at the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia in Vancouver on Wednesday (Dec. 16).
“It felt wonderful putting the kits together, we hope the families feel welcome and we can’t wait to fill more boxes,” said one Grade 9 student.
Beyond helping the newcomers, the initiative provided students with a valuable learning experience, said the club’s teacher sponsor, Annie Ohana.
“The students are learning about the issues that are forcing people to flee their homes and what it means to be an active Canadian citizen,” she said. “This is a positive, grassroots initiative that provides students with a hands-on opportunity that will hopefully imbue newcomers with a sense of safety and peace.”
The students will continue to put together more packages when school resumes after the holiday break and hopes to give away a total of 300 care packages. To contribute, contact Ohana at firstname.lastname@example.org