Reception House Waterloo Region provides support to Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) throughout the first year of their settlement process in the Region of Waterloo. The support is provided through three programs which provide assistance with adjusting and transitioning to life in a new country and with settling into their new community.
The services provided by Reception House Waterloo Region are delivered through these programs:
The RAP program assists our clients with their immediate settlement needs for the first month that they are in Canada. The support provided through this program includes applying for government documents such as a SIN card, finding permanent accommodation and accessing the education system.
The CSS Program provides an intensive one-on-one case management approach which helps to connect GARs to resources and services in our community that they need to settle into their new community. CSS also provides specialized programs to address specific needs of clients such as a Refugee Health Program run in cooperation with the Centre for Family Medicine and Mosaic Counseling, and the Youth Homework Club.
Art with Pamela
Art with Pamela is an arts based workshop series, facilitated by Pamela Rojas, that enables refugee children, youth and adults to explore artistic skills including ceramics, sculpture, painting and other expressive modalities in a safe environment. Launched in April 2017, the program has had astounding impact.
Focus on New Beginnings
Facilitated by Focus for Ethnic Women, Focus on New Beginnings is a social integration program for refugee women and their families. This weekly program held on Sunday afternoons enables newcomers through Reception House to build cross cultural understanding and confidence. It also provides a safe place to learn about each other and form friendships, often their first in Canada!
The Life Skills Program assists clients arriving from rural communities and refugee camps to learn to use modern amenities and live independently. The orientation provided by the Life Skills Program includes topics such as how to use kitchen appliances, use of the Canadian plumbing and sanitation system and budgeting.
The Refugee Health Clinic provides all Reception House clients with the opportunity to see a physician within one-week of their arrival in Canada. Most refugees have had limited health care and have lived for many years in refugee camps, so this has become a well received and very valuable service.
Government assisted refugees are highly motivated workers with lots of transferable skills, however most struggle to find employment due to insufficient language proficiency in English. The“Working Together Employment Project” is a unique initiative to enable Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) to successfully obtain and retain employment.
Reception House youth programs include the New Canadian Youth Connections program as well as youth focused case management. About one quarter of the refugees served by Reception House are high school aged youth. While adolescence can be a turbulent time for anyone, refugee youth face a number of challenges that their Canadian peers do not. After arriving in Canada, refugee youth often struggle to learn a new language, navigate a new educational system, make new friends, and balance the sometimes conflicting cultural expectations of parents, new Canadian peers, and a new educational system.