Surrey mayor organizes forum focusing on helping Syrian refugees

Linda Hepner has organized a community forum to provide details about how the public can assist Syrian refugees

Mayor Linda Hepner has organized a forum to discuss ways to help new refugees.

FLEETWOOD — Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner has organized a community forum to provide details about how the public can assist Syrian refugees.

Set for next Wednesday evening (Jan. 20), the forum is a chance to learn about what local agencies and government are doing to assist with refugee settlement, and how to help.

Hepner said the idea was hers.

“I thought it was very important that we take a convening role because I know everybody is doing their piece of it,” she said of the parties involved. “When we’re hearing of volunteers looking for ways to help, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get everybody together.”

Hepner said the city isn’t officially notified when the refugees land, but staff receive some information from service agencies.

“The whole process is not new to us but the numbers are new to us,” she noted. “Right now we’re not seeing on the ground the kind of influx that we expected. It may be those numbers don’t come to fruition. I don’t know where they’re landing and what the ultimate number will be.”

Hepner has invited police, service agencies and the school board, and hopes representatives from the federal and provincial government will also be present.

“We have people calling in asking how they can help. The goal is to provide that forum for people seeking that kind of information,” Hepner said. “A secondary goal for me is to ensure that the generosity and the goodwill that everyone is providing helps speed the success for the refugee families.”

She added, “I want to ensure that we’re delivering a message of integration into their new home.”

Hepner’s invited a refugee from Afghanistan to speak. Now 20, he arrived in Surrey at the age of 12. He now works with Surrey Crime Prevention Society and aspires to be a police officer.

“That’s the kind of integration and success story I want to be able to deliver,” the mayor stated.

Hepner says she is organizing tours for new refugees to show them recreation centres and other important city resources to help them adjust to their new life here.

“It is my intention to do a welcoming and integration speech,” Hepner said, “because I want them to understand that as welcoming as this community is for refugees, we also have an expectation of efforts on integration toward Canadian customs and embracing their new home. What I don’t want to see is an establishment of a mono-culture.”

Non-perishable food will be accepted at the forum, but clothing will not. Volunteer applications will also be accepted. The Jan. 20 event will be held at Fleetwood Park Secondary (7940 156th St.), from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Just Posted

Setting the stage for emerging performers

Variety fundraiser and ongoing open-mics showcase local talent

Four Surrey students head to New Brunswick for Canada-wide science fair

Three projects move to nationals following regional fair at KPU

Surrey resident says proposed apartment building is a ‘monstrosity’ in Whalley neighbourhood

Philip Galbraith says he voted for Safe Surrey Coalition to ‘slow down development’

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Easter ‘eggstravaganza’ event planned for South Surrey

Event is to run from 12-3 p.m. at Dufferin Park (17355 2 Ave.).

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

VIDEO: Giants draw first blood in Western Conference championships

In Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between Vancouver and Spokane, the G-Men emerged triumphant

Multiple people injured after deck collapses during celebration

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Rats available for adoption in Vancouver

In a social media post the City of Vancouver says you can adopt a rat for $5.

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Crews battle Burnaby blaze; 2 people sent to hospital

Emergency Support Services helping residents displaced by fire

Most Read