Grass roots organization gets big money to help refugees settle into the community

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A volunteer group that was launched last year to help facilitate Syrian refugees to Sault Ste. Marie received a huge boost Monday with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Refugee 705 will get $122,100 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Youth Opportunities Fund over two years for it’s “Global Friends” initiative. The program helps support activities that promote strong, healthy and cross-cultural relationships between refugee and Canadian -born youth in Sault Ste. Marie.

The news was welcomed by Mayor Christian Provenzano “this is the right thing to do”

Meagan Douglas, co-founder of the Refugee705 said it’s important to welcome the refugees and make them part of the community. “none of these refugees wanted to leave their home, they left because they didn’t have a choice”  Douglas said the money will go a long way to help the families integrate more smoothly into the community.

The money will help pay for the initiative’s first paid employee , creating a part-time position for the two years of the funding. The funding will also assist refugee youth with transportation costs and admissions into local venues such as the Sault Museum.

The Sault Community Information and Career Centre will be acting as Refugee 705’s organizational mentor for the duration of the project.

Douglas said they have been able to help about 100 refugees that have arrived in the Sault since last year and more are coming.

“This is a new influx of people and we need people in the city, we need to diversify our demographics, it’s so important that we welcome newcomers from around the world, but it’s also important to keep them here”

Refugee705 is an award winning Sault Ste. Marie based grass roots non-profit organization which began in November 2015 as a response to the global refugee crisis. The organization raises awareness of how citizens can sponsor, donate and volunteer to help with the settlement of refugess in the Algoma district.

To lean more about this group and what you can do to help go to www.refugee705.com