This story was written by Laura, a former Reception House client. She and her family came to Canada when she just 7-years-old. 

Reception House was the very first place my family and I arrived to when we came to Canada. At such a young age, I did not comprehend the sacrifice and courage it took my mom and dad, who were dentists and doctors, to leave everything behind and relocate to a completely new country. At the time, it just seemed like a fun place to stay with other people from around the world.

Reception House was also the very first support system that we received. They connected us to other services and resources, while providing us a place to stay.

As a result of this initial support, we were able to spread our wings. Eventually, my parents were able to go back to college and university. We were able to become Canadian citizens. My sister and I were able to attend university, and step by step, our wings were strong enough to fly. We were able to become positive contributors to the Canadian society.

Now, at 24 years old, I have the privilege of working with the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, helping other refugees integrate into Canada. Reception House is much more than a shelter, as it opens the door for refugees to access a gateway of opportunities. I have learned the importance of providing refugees that initial support to spread their wings, because without it, it becomes difficult for them to integrate and be part of a society.

Reception House is the first service that helps government-assisted refugees as they arrive in Waterloo Region. It allows them to become positive agents of change and contributors of the overall well being of the Canadian society – a society that thrives on diversity.