Yukon Cares 2018 Annual General Meeting

Join us for our Annual General Meeting on May 16, 2018 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Whitehorse Public Library.

We are very pleased to host Fiona Azizaj as our speaker at our AGM this year. Fiona is a former refugee from Kosovo and will speak about her family’s experience escaping the Kosovo war in the ’90s and starting a new life in the Yukon in 2003.

We will also:

  • Present a detailed financial statement, in accordance with our commitment to transparency for our supporters;
  • Provide an update on the work we have done during the past year;
  • Explain our plans for the year ahead;
  • Elect the Board of Directors (New members are welcome to join the board);
  • Recruit volunteers to continue the work of the different working committees at Yukon Cares; and
  • Get together and celebrate another year!

All are welcome to attend as we discuss accomplishments and initiatives as well as what’s to come for the following months of 2018.

Mark your calendars!

Yukon Cares Reaches Current Funding Budget Through Community Events

The team at Yukon Cares has some wonderful, exciting news to share with you all. We are very happy to announce that through two separate fundraising events, we have reached our budget to sponsor another refugee family – along with another family that we already had the paperwork approved for. Here’s an update on what we’ve done over the past few weeks, and what’s to come.

Yukon Cares, with the collaboration of the incredibly talented Nicole Edwards and many of her friends, threw a fundraising concert on October 21st at the United Church. It turned out to be a wonderful, emotion-filled night for everyone involved. Thanks to the help of Yukoners’ support, the event raised a total of $4,419.35 – one of the organization’s most successful fundraisers to date! A huge thank you goes out to the remarkable volunteers and supporters for allowing Yukon Cares to host such an enriching and inspiring evening. It truly was a joyful night for all that attended. We had 150 people attend the concert, gathered in a spirit of love and service.

Before the concert started, everyone gathered downstairs for a large selection of baked goods available for a draw, while enjoying delicious coffee and desserts prepared by volunteers and friends in their own homes, as well as donated by local businesses. Laughter and happiness filled the entire room as everyone relished each other’s company prior to the inspirational musical talents revealed upstairs. The atmosphere of the entire night was, as Nicole Edwards sings, portrayed by themes to love, serve, and uplift. It is of utmost importance to note that Nicole Edwards chose to celebrate her 25th year of making music in the Yukon by holding a fundraising event for a local charity. Our team at Yukon Cares is beyond grateful that she chose their organization.

During the concert, Yukon Cares volunteer Fiona Azizaj spoke about her own experience as a former refugee that immigrated to Whitehorse with her parents in 2003 at the age of 10. Her heartfelt speech reflected on the positive effects of community support, and how the cycle of receiving and giving continues on with those who have been aided by the community. She echoed this cycle by stating how her family has continued to give support through volunteering in Whitehorse, expressing how those who have been provided with opportunities to better their lives feel encouraged to do the same by helping others that are in need of assistance.

Nicole Edwards had a brand-new choral arrangement perform with her, singing inspirational songs presented from her repertoire of original music, as well as special guest performances from singer Rebecca Law and duo Lexi Joinson and Jasmine Sudlow. The choral arrangement itself was written by Whitehorse musician Olivier de Colombel, and was part of a mentorship that Nicole did with de Colombel funded by an Advanced Artist Award from the Yukon Government. Accompanists for the choral arrangement included Roslyn Wilson, Andrea McColeman and Paul Bergman.

To learn more information about Nicole Edwards’ music, you can visit her website at www.NicoleEdwardsMusic.com. You can also listen to her extensive repertoire on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp.

We are immensely grateful for the amount of support that we received for this event – whether it was through many baking volunteers and local donations provided to us, as well as the talented musicians and vocalists that put on such a wonderful concert; the assistance we received was astonishing. The sanctuary at the United Church was completely full, and the energy that spread throughout the audience was enchanting. We would like to thank all of our sponsors who were so helpful in making this night a big success: 3 Beans Natural Foods, Antoinette’s Restaurant, Arctic Star Printing, Baked Café, Blackbird Bakery, John Layman Calligraphy, JUST2BE DESIGNER, Kobayashi + Zedda, Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, Real Canadian Superstore, Save on Foods, and The United Church.

On November 18th, our Yukon Cares team had a table at the Global Village Craft Fair held at The Old Fire Hall. We had a Christmas-themed basket as a draw prize, selling raffle tickets between 11am and 3pm. Yukoners once again showed their astounding support by raising $572.65! The basket draw winner was announced at the end of the craft fair, and we would like to mention that none of this would have been possible without the help of the local community and the generosity of local businesses: Corked, Midnight Sun Emporium and Shoppers Drug Mart.

[Volunteers Aisha Montgomery, left and Fiona Azizaj, right, alongside President Raquel de Queiroz, middle, at the Global Village Craft Fair]
[Christmas-themed basket available as a draw prize at the Global Village Craft Fair]

[Kim Tanner, the lucky winner of the Christmas Basket]
Where to next?

As mentioned, we have completed the paperwork for a Syrian refugee family of five who are awaiting federal approval, as well as an individual, both of whom are relatives of the Aarafat family – the first family resettled in Whitehorse through their organization. While most of the Aarafat family moved to Windsor last summer – where there is a growing community of Syrians – Yukon Cares members never stop fundraising and sponsorship work in the hope of helping as many refugees as logistically possible. That being said, thanks to the success through fundraising over the past few weeks, we have officially reached our budget to sponsor another family of five, with the help of the Yukon community. We are currently working on the paperwork for this new family right now, and have received approval from our Sponsorship Agreement Holder to go through with this process. Once we have selected a profile and move forward with the sponsorship of another family, we will let the public know!

Going into 2018, we are focusing on more fundraising events as the need to help sponsor and resettle refugees is never-ending. With limited funding and time on our hands, our humanitarian organization can always benefit from as much fundraising and community support as possible in hopes of aiding as many people as is reasonable for our community. The entire team at Yukon Cares greatly appreciates all the ongoing support we have received, and cannot express enough that our process would simply not be possible without the help of Yukoners far and wide.

If you’d like to support our organization, you can make a tax deductible donation here on our website.

Thank you from all of us.

Yukon Cares Fundraising Concert with Nicole Edwards

Yukon Cares fundraising concert poster

Join us on October 21 for a fundraising concert, featuring Nicole Edwards. Nicole will be singing a choir version of her song “Love, Serve & Uplift” live for the first time.

Location: Whitehorse United Church
6pm Doors open downstairs in Lewis Hall for desserts and Midnight Sun Coffee and assorted teas (complimentary with ticket purchase)
7pm Doors open upstairs to the Sanctuary for the concert
7:30pm Concert begins in the Sanctuary

Tickets are $20 in advance or $22 at the door, and includes dessert and coffee.

For more information, see the Facebook event page.


Yukon Cares Update

A lot has been happening with Yukon Cares. We recently said good bye to our friends, the Arafats. Most of the family moved to Windsor, ON, where there is a growing Syrian community. The one exception is Ismail, the family’s second oldest son, who is continuing to work at Hendrik’s Barber Shop.  Although they are leaving, they are grateful for the incredible support that Yukon has shown them. We will miss them.

Though the Arafats have moved on, we have since welcomed a new refugee. Berihu, who is a refugee from Eritrea, was sponsored by a local Yukoner and we helped with the resettlement work.

We are also preparing for the arrival of 6 refugees sometime in the fall, and hope to support more applications. You can help us by donating to Yukon Cares. 100% of the money we raise is used for refugee resettlement.

Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping change the lives of those joining our community in Yukon.

Yukon Cares 2017 Annual General Meeting

Join us for our Annual General Meeting on June 19, 2017 from 7:30- 9 p.m. at the Whitehorse Public Library.

We are very excited to host Trish Newport at our AGM this year. Trish Newport is a Yukon nurse who has worked with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) since 2009. She has also worked in Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, South Sudan, Lebanon, and Iraq, and has recently returned from her 10th field assignment with MSF, where she managed a project in Northern Iraq and Mosul.
Trish will be sharing her experiences and perspectives from the front line of humanitarian assistance.

We will also:

  • Present a detailed financial statement, in accordance with our commitment to transparency for our supporters
  • Provide an update on the work we have done during the past year
  • Explain our plans for the year ahead
  • Elect the board of Directors (New members are welcome to join the board)
  • Recruit volunteers to continue the work of the different working committees at Yukon Cares.
  • Get together and celebrate another year

Fatima begins clothing alteration business

Fatima, the mother of the Aarafat family, has started her own clothing alteration business. She help you with clothing alterations, upholstery, embroidery, custom clothing, custom embellishments, or whatever you need done. You can drop your clothing off at 70 Drift Drive in Copper Ridge between 4 and 8 p.m.

See her Facebook page fore more information.

Latin Dance Fundraiser

We will be hosting a Latin Dance fundraiser at Mt. McIntyre on Saturday, February 4. Tickets are $25 and are available at Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters and Winterlong Brewing Co.

See the event’s poster for more information.

Yukon Cares at the Global Village Craft Fair

Yukon Cares will be at the Global Village Craft Fair on Saturday, November 19 at the Old Firehall. Stop by our table to learn more about what we are doing and enjoy our delicious truffles that we are selling in support of our on-going efforts to support Syrian refugees  in Yukon.

See the poster for more information about the Global Village Craft Fair.

Global Village Craft Fair Poster

Yukon Election – Party Leaders Respond to Yukon Cares’ Questions

In light of the November 7, 2016, territorial elections, Yukon cares invited the party leaders to share their views on the following questions. Please see below each question for each party’s response.

1) There are a number of individuals and groups that have funds raised and are prepared to sponsor refugee families in the territory, but are unable to bring the families over due to delays and backlogs at the federal level. What action are you willing to take to influence the federal government to increase the flow of refugees to the territory and to the country?

NDP: Canadians, and Yukoners in particular, have responded to the global refugee crisis with generosity and compassion. Our community has worked together quickly and efficiently to provide the resources and supports necessary to welcome Syrian refugees. Unfortunately, the Federal Government has not responded with the same level of urgency as the Canadian people. Only 3,350 privately sponsored refugees have arrived in Canada as of October 2016. A Yukon NDP government will press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately put in place measures that will allow these individuals and groups who have indicated their willingness and capacity to sponsor families to do so. Canada made world wide headlines when the Prime Minister said Canada vowed to help. A Yukon NDP government will actively press the Prime Minister to work with Yukoners who want to do their part.

Liberal Party: Yukon Liberals are very proud of the work done by all those that have worked on bringing refugee families to the Yukon and Canada. We will work with groups like Yukon Cares to lobby the Federal Government to increase the flow of refugees to Yukon and Canada.

Green Party: Thank you for contacting the Yukon Green Party with your questions. Because we are a small party with only volunteers to rely on, we have not had the manpower necessary to answer all of these questionnaires coming in from multiple organizations. Please feel free to visit www.yukongreenparty.ca and have a read through our policy and platform. We are very proud of the work we have done on our policy book and are sure you will find the answers to your questions within Section 2. Section 2 discusses Caring For One Another. If you do not find a bullet point addressing your concerns, please feel free to draft one and we would be glad to insert it after approval from the membership.

Yukon Party: The Yukon Party government is aware that the federal government’s processing of Syrian refugees has slowed since it reached its target of 25,000 refugees this past February. We also understand the frustration felt by sponsorship groups when they are told that their refugees will be delayed by backlogs. We believe that it is incumbent for all governments and countries with the capacity to resettle refugees to move quickly and be more proactive about resettlement. While the amount of influence we could bring to bear on the federal government is not great, a re-elected Yukon Party government would be willing to work with our counterparts in other provinces and territories to pressure Ottawa to increase the number of refugees to Canada.

2) Do you think there are enough resources for new immigrants and refugees in the territory? Where do you think the priorities in programs should be?

NDP: In the Yukon NDP Platform 2016, we have committed to working with Yukon’s cultural communities of New Canadians and permanent residents on ways to enhance an inclusive Yukon, celebrate diversity, encourage community involvement, and support the path to citizenship and opportunity. Like all Yukoners, new immigrants and refugees in the territory deserve services and programs that treat them with respect, and provide them with opportunity and options. This means quality health care, education, childcare, and secure housing for all Yukoners. Our vision is of a better, stronger Yukon where no one is left behind.

Liberal Party: Resources for new refugee families can always be improved and as Government it is important to ensure that these resources are constantly reviewed to keep them up to date with the current situation. Based on recent refugee arrivals from Syria, we should make sure that the services we are providing are focused on the experience of these new arrivals. Priorities for new arrivals should be housing, language training, health services and job search/job opportunity assistance.

Yukon Party: Funding for these programs is provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Yukon government’s Advanced Education Branch. A re-elected Yukon Party government will continue to fund the Multicultural Centre, and will work to ensure that the federal government also continues to provide newcomers with the necessary support. We believe that immediate settlement needs such as transportation, housing and education should be of the highest priority. And we are aware that finding affordable housing in Whitehorse has been a challenge. This is why we are working to increase accessibility to affordable safe housing in Yukon. We recently partnered with the Da Daghay Development Corporation to develop and operate a new, 42-unit single to three-bedroom affordable rental housing complex in the Whistle Bend subdivision. A re-elected Yukon Party government would continue to explore opportunities to partner with First Nations and the private sector on housing initiatives similar to the Da Daghay initiative. We have also pledged to make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes to better enable construction of tiny homes in communities, and to support efforts to increase the diversity of lending options available to homeowners in Yukon. If re-elected, our government will continue to seek input from your organization, and others like it, about what program priorities should be and how they could be improved.

3) Most provinces have received support from the government of Canada’s assisted refugees (GARs) program.  Government-assisted refugees are Convention Refugees Abroad whose initial resettlement in Canada is entirely supported by the Government of Canada. Support can last up to one year from the date of arrival in Canada, or until the refugee is able to support himself or herself, whichever happens first. The refugee families under GAR are completely funded by the federal government and resettled by refugee resettlement agencies such as the multicultural Centre in Whitehorse. The Yukon has not received any GARs. Would your government approach the federal government and welcome GARs into the territory?

NDP: During the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party promised that if elected, they would resettle 25,000 government-assisted Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. Under the plan that was rolled out once they took office, the deadline was pushed back until the end of 2016. The Yukon is a wonderful place to work and live. Our community is the perfect place to welcome government assisted Syrian refugees. A Yukon NDP government will not only advocate for the resettlement of government assisted refugees in Yukon, but will hold the federal government accountable to their promise to resettle 25,000 government assisted Syrian refugees by the end of 2016. Thank you again for your letter, and for the very important work that Yukon Cares is doing in our community. I look forward to working together closely in the future. Liz Hanson.

Liberal Party: A Liberal Government would work with the Federal Government and support GAR’s being welcomed to Yukon.

Yukon Party: If this approach is supported by Yukon Cares and other interested stakeholders, a re-elected Yukon Party government would be willing to approach the federal government about accepting government-assisted refugees to the territory.