GOFR brings Syrian refugee family to Golden after three-year wait

Golden Opportunities for Refugees (GOFR) has been working for nearly three years to sponsor a Syrian family and bring them to Golden to live.

Now, that vision is becoming a reality. GOFR received notification that the family has met all of the requirements, and GOFR has provided all of the necessary steps to bring the family to live in the community. Next, the family must apply for their visas, plan their flights, and arrive to immigrations in Calgary, and then they will be on their way to Golden, likely by November.

“They’ve waited for so long,” said GOFR member Karen Archibald. “There is a lot on their plate to pull together.”

For three years, GOFR fundraised money to support the family, applied for all of the paperwork, and passed all requirements necessary to bring a refugee family to Golden.

“The community was hugely supportive… Very generous,” said GOFR member Sheryl Walker. “All of the preparations we have made, we now have to put into gear.”

The family of four – a mother, father, and two school-aged children – will be making the move here. The family speaks English, and will take time to settle in, find employment, and become a part of the community.

“It’s our job, from the government, to make that transition as smooth as possible,” said Archibald, who added that the organization will continue to work with them after their initial move.

Arriving in a new community without knowing anyone can be difficult, but Walker says the family already has friends in the community, since GOFR has been in communication with them since the beginning.

“They’re coming here because they can’t stay there,” Walker said. “There’s lots of things happening here they could be interested in.”

The family’s privacy is important to GOFR as they make the transition to life in the Canadian mountains. Once they arrive and are settled, it is likely they will be easy to recognize in town, and Walker and Archibald expect the community will continue to be hugely welcoming and supportive.

“They can’t wait to be part of helping Golden thrive right now,” Archibald said.

GOFR is a private group that has worked to support a refugee family, bringing them to Golden, which has provided a personal touch to the family.

“They’ve got so much to offer us,” Walker said.

Wayne Clark was a prominent community figure who was involved in many different groups and organizations in Golden, including GOFR. The same week of his death, GOFR received the news that the family would be arriving. Walker and Archibald said many great memories have been shared with Clark, and the news would have made him very proud.

Many families in Syria have been displaced by war and climate in their country, and GOFR is happy they were able to help one family.

Currently, GOFR is in search of a long-term rental accommodation that would suit the family of four, requiring at least three bedrooms for the family.

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