Local group looking into Syrian refugee sponsorship

A Golden group is discussing the possibility of sponsoring a refugee family from Syria.

The need for accommodations for incoming Syrian refugees is a national issue that isn’t going away any time soon. That is why a meeting was set up here in Golden last week to discuss the possibility of refugee sponsorship here in the community.

“We had a good turnout and identified a commitment to move forward on this initiative,” said Michele Rowe, one of the meeting’s facilitators. “We will explore 2 options: having Golden identified as a “Welcoming Community” for refugees already in Canada and/or sponsoring a family through the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program.”

When asked why this issue was important to them, the consensus among attendees was that this was a humanitarian crisis of incredible proportions and we must help in any way we can.

There is an ongoing need for sponsoring people from other countries, but it was acknowledged that sponsoring a Syrian family at this time would be more easily facilitated.

“Although potential challenges exist, we believe that Golden is a welcoming community with lots to offer and that our town would benefit from increased diversity,” added Rowe.

A group nearby, Revelstoke for Refugees, will be welcoming a family soon, proving that smaller communities can be involved.

There will be another meeting on Thursday March 31 at 7 p.m. at EK Employment, located at 205 421 9th Ave. N. Everyone is welcome to attend, and anyone with skills in the following areas would be a tremendous help: administration and paperwork, public relations and media management, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment for family after settlement to support their integration into Golden life.

If you would like further information, Rowe can be reached at st.andrews_uc@persona.ca.