Kathy Sherrell, Director of Settlement Services
With the pandemic continuing to influence our programming and approaches, highlights included:
Starting in August 2021, the Afghan Special Initiative substantially increased Government Assisted Refugee (GAR) arrivals resulting in significant growth in staffing and outboarding in hotels. From August 2021 to March 2022, over 1,400 Afghans arrived in BC. We are immensely grateful to the staff who travelled to Toronto to provide critical services in hotels during the first eight weeks, as well as staff from the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), the Moving Ahead Program (MAP), Settlement Programs, LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) Childcare, and Job Quest, who all provided virtual services to the early arrivals.
Reflecting on pressure points and promising practices, we have created resources to better support program delivery, including materials for seniors, refugees, and those with low digital literacy skills.
We have invested in the mental health and well-being of our staff, engaging a registered clinical counsellor to provide quarterly group sessions for all settlement staff, as well as monthly debriefing sessions for managers and programs focused on vulnerable refugee clients.
Volunteers play an important role in the delivery of settlement services. Even with ongoing COVID restrictions, 331 volunteers contributed 1,040 hours as English language practice group facilitators, settlement mentors, income tax clinic filers, program support workers and practicum students.
We are deeply appreciative of the continued support of our funders, clients, volunteers and staff.