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BVOR Sponsorship Stories: Immigration professionals walk the talk by sponsoring for the first time

Tara Templin is part of Ottawa’s ‘Sponsorship Squad’, a group of friends who are all involved professionally in the immigration sector. Find out more about how you can be part of the 2019 BVOR Fund.

Our group is called the Sponsorship Squad and we are all friends of friends of friends. It was the first time sponsoring for most of our group members, but almost all of us are professionally involved in immigrant settlement already. For many of us, sponsoring was a natural evolution of our personal and professional interests, and a way to directly experience and create a welcoming community. This was our opportunity to walk the talk, open our arms and help create a home and life with a newcomer to Canada. Sponsoring has been a great way to get to know each other and deepen our professional relationships into personal ones. 

We sponsored a lovely young couple and their toddler who fled a life-threatening situation in their home country of Colombia. This dynamic couple are settling in well, learning the language, making friends with their neighbours and discovering the cold, but super fun and dynamic community of Ottawa.  

The family is adapting incredibly fast to life in Canada. It is hard to believe that after only six months in Canada, the father has advanced to level three in his English class and just started a short-term contract constructing swimming pools. He says he is super excited to have the Canadian work experience, and the group is incredibly proud that he has so bravely joined the job market, while simultaneously learning everything about life in Canada. He now listens and speaks English all day on the job and continues his English studies in the evening with his partner. While mom is in English class, their little boy is enjoying his daycare, and is usually having so much fun, he doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day.

We have held several birthday parties at this point in our sponsorship and we typically all gather at the family’s small apartment and have a potluck meal, with cake of course! These little house parties have been an excellent way to connect with the family, bring all of our children together, share food and recipes, and basically, connect. During one of these parties, my husband and children were playing on the floor with a toy drum and guitar. The sponsored family’s toddler came right over and sat between them and played right along. It was a simple moment, but there was a feeling of comfort and happiness in being together. We are friends and our children are friends. Is there any greater joy?