Welcoming Refugees with Love & Monkeys
OSM kicks the new year off with an exciting initiative in partnership with Culture Link, a settlement service provider in Toronto. Culture Link will help to welcome and integrate newcomers to North America fleeing conflict in the middle east, providing a wealth of resources for families looking to start a new life, including interpreter services, employment counselling, community integration initiatives and distribution of personal and household goods and technology to help with resettlement. As part of the welcome packages distributed to families working with Culture Link in Toronto, each child will receive a sock monkey handmade by craftivists in the local GTA area, NYC or IL. A donation from OSM, fundraised through the school & community workshops that created these critters will help to provide each family with a laptop computer as well.
Special thanks to Toronto Lead Operative Diana Brugos who facilitated the workshops, fundraising and outreach to make this all possible. Diana’s commitment to community, craftivism and her cultural compassion make her a true global citizen. We love you, Diana!
Students at Tommy Douglas Secondary School, workshop participants at Annette Street Library, and individual monkey donors Kate Reeder from Brooklyn, NY and Michele Lane from Alton, IL have helped to create the delegation slated for gifting to our new friends. Culture Link is collecting donations of new and gently used items for distribution to newcomers. Click here for more info on how to help.
Meanwhile, on the Left Coast, Operative Kat Thorsen lead a workshop for refugee youth to teach the art of monkey making and incorporate art therapy into the integration process, and has been working with local youth to create a monkey delegation for distribution to Vancouver newcomers. According to Kat, ‘Monkey is a universal language’!